Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

You likely know someone or have been impacted yourself by breast cancer. Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are going to focus on ways you can help empower women with preventative and rehabilitative measures!

Reducing Risks

Now is a great time to remind patients about Breast Cancer Awareness. Even if they are seeing you for another ailment, you may want to celebrate the month in your office by providing educational materials and offering tips for self-checks! You can also allow your staff to wear pink all month to help show your support.

While breast cancer can’t be prevented, the risks can be reduced through: 

  • Exercise
  • A Healthy Diet
  • Limiting Alcohol
  • Breast Feeding
  • Limiting Exposures (Radiation and Environmental Pollution)

In addition to a yearly clinical exam, promoting self-checks are an important part of early detection. One can easily self-check each month by following these steps given by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. 

Surgery Recovery

Coming home after surgery for breast cancer can be a difficult transition. Be sure to let them know some ways they can make the recovery time easier as they work through daily tasks. 

Arm Posture: To help with swelling, keep the arm raised above the heart for a few minutes at least three times a day. 

Adaptive Equipment: Consideration of equipment to help with daily tasks for the first few weeks after surgery will be helpful. They can get items like a dressing hook and a grabber to reach things far away without straining the surgery area.

Rest: The most important thing a patient should focus on when returning home is getting rest to allow the body to recover. They can still do light tasks at home but they should be mainly concerned with resting. 


This is likely when you will see your patients the most. Here are some of the most common movements suggested for post-operative restoration to improve range of motion, shoulder, chest and elbow strength. This will depend on each patient’s surgery and goals. 

Shoulder Blade Stretch: Sit in a chair with proper posture. Put non-surgical arm on the table with the palm down. With the other arm, lay the arm on the table, keeping the elbow straight. Slide this arm forward on the table. Relax and then repeat 7 times.

Elbow Winging: Lay flat on the ground and place the hands behind the neck as if doing a sit up. Move the elbows towards the ceiling and return again to the floor. Repeat 7 times.

Side Bends: While sitting in a chair, have the patient clasp their hands together in front of them. Slowly lift arms over the head, similar to the look of a ballerina. While arms are raised, bend the trunk of the body to the right, while keeping the arms over the head. Repeat with the left side and complete the stretch seven times on both sides. 

Encouraging patients to play an active role in their health is what rehab professionals do best. Learn other ways you can help your patients with NARA!