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Posted by on Mar 31, 2019 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated if an exercise regimen improved shoulder function in breast cancer survivors who received surgery to remove underarm lymph nodes. 

They found that both inflatable ball exercise and control standard exercise were beneficial for these patients. 

Some background

Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer affecting women. The survival rate of BC is greater than 90%. This means that there is a large population of BC survivors. Many BC survivors will continue to deal with the side effects of BC treatment. Some women experience shoulder pain or dysfunction. This is a side effect of BC surgery, Some patients will have reduced strength and range of movement in the shoulder. This can have a negative effect on quality of life.

Physical therapy is offered to patients with BC after surgery. In many cases, patients do not get benefit from this. Patients are not likely to do exercises due to the pain and discomfort after surgery. It can also be difficult for patients to attend exercise sessions. Self-exercise may be a more realistic approach. A soft inflatable ball may be useful for exercise in BC survivors.  

Methods & findings

This study included 72 BC survivors. 38 participants were assigned to an ‘inflatable ball' exercise program. 34 patients were assigned to the control group. These patients used a standard exercise therapy. The study lasted 12 weeks. Shoulder function was assessed in all patients. Quality of life was also measured using a number of scales. 

The range of shoulder movement was significantly improved in participants to the 'inflatable ball' exercise. Handgrip strength was not significantly different between the groups. There was no difference in the quality of life scores between the groups. Both types of exercise improved the quality of life. Pain and disability were improved in both groups.

The bottom line

The authors concluded that both inflatable ball exercise and control standard exercise were beneficial.

The fine print

There are unknown factors that might affect the results of this study. Exercise therapy was difficult to standardize. It remains unclear if specific exercise programs are more beneficial.  

What’s next?

If you have any concerns regarding breast cancer after-treatment, please consult with your physician. 

Published By :

Supportive care in cancer: official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer

Date :

Mar 12, 2019

Original Title :

Effectiveness of therapeutic inflatable ball self-exercises for improving shoulder function and quality of life in breast cancer survivors after sentinel lymph node dissection.

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