The Effect of Physiotherapy on the Function of the Upper Extremity and Psycho-Emotional State in Women after a Breast Cancer Surgery

Šidlauskaitė Vaida, Eglė Pankaitė


Background. Women breast cancer accounts for 25% of the new cases of cancer diagnosed worldwide and takes the leading place. After breast surgery pain occurs in the wound of the breast, in the armpit area and the hand that reduces the mobility of the shoulder joint, weakens the arm muscle strength, impairs flow of the lymph, which can affect the quality of life and disturb the psycho-emotional state. Physical therapy is applied dealing with these problems. The aim of the research was to estimate the effect of physical therapy on the arm function and psycho-emotional state in women after breast cancer surgery. Research methods. The research included 20 women after a breast-conserving surgery, 50 ± 5 years of age. The methods of testing were the goniometry – for the range of motion of the upper extremity, dynamometry – for hand muscle strength, a tape measurement – for arm volume, Pain numerical rating scale (NRS) – for the intensity of pain, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD) – for the psycho-emotional state. The tests were done on the frst and the last day of rehabilitation. Research results. After physical therapy for women after breast cancer surgery, the range of motion of the upper extremity signifcantly increased: flexion from 140 ± 26o to 167 ± 21o, extension from 41 ± 8o to 53 ± 7o, abduction from 131 ± 20o to 161 ± 26o; muscle strength signifcantly increased from 28 ± 4 kg to 30 ± 6 kg; edema signifcantly decreased from 114.1 ± 8.2 cm to 111.7 ± 11.6 cm; pain signifcantly decreased from 6 ± 2 to 3 ± 1 points. After physical therapy, psychoemotional state did not improve signifcantly. Conclusion. After physical therapy for women after breast cancer surgery, the range of motion of the upper extremity and muscle strength signifcantly increased, edema and pain signifcantly decreased, while psycho-emotional state did not improve signifcantly.

Keywords: breast cancer, function of the upper extremity, edema, pain, psychoemotional state.


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