Breast Cancer Experts Outline Comprehensive Approach to CareApr 6, 2012
An international panel of breast cancer experts is recommending an approach to care that takes into account the wide range of physical problems faced by breast cancer patients and survivors. Women who have had breast cancer treatment often experience pain, fatigue, problems with their arms and upper body, neuropathy (nerve damage), heart problems and bone problems. The panel makes its case in a series of articles published in a supplement to the journal Cancer.
The supplement says the current model of care for breast cancer focuses on treating the disease and then watching for signs of recurrence. It says not enough attention is paid to patients’ and survivors’ physical and functional well-being. The panel proposes a new model of care that would emphasize rehabilitation and exercise with the goal of returning to a normal, active life.
Under this new model, health care providers would watch women for early signs of physical problems related to breast cancer treatment. When problems are identified, they would provide help that may include education about exercise or weight management, and if necessary, referral to appropriate programs.
The work of the panel was supported by organizations including the American Cancer Society, through a grant for breast cancer research and education from the Longaberger Horizon of Hope Campaign.
Supplement: A Prospective Surveillance Model for Rehabilitation for Women With Breast Cancer. Published in the April 15, 2012 issue of Cancer (Vol. 118, Issue S8).