Access to Physical Rehabilitation for a Range of Adverse Physical Effects Following Different Types of Breast Cancer Surgery
Purpose: To investigate the access to physical rehabilitation for a range of adverse physical effects following different types of breast cancer surgery. Methods: Online survey of 632 Australian women (mean age = 59.8 years, SD = 9.6) grouped according to their breast cancer surgery, (i) breast-conserving surgery (BCS; n = 228), (ii) mastectomy (MAST; n = 208), (iii) breast reconstruction (BRS; n = 196), who retrospectively reported whether they received any physical rehabilitation for 6 adverse physical effects. Fisher's exact tests were used to compare the frequency of respondents who received physical rehabilitation for each adverse physical effect among the 3 groups. The percentage of the entire cohort of respondents (n = 632) who had lymph nodes removed, postoperative complications, or preexisting musculoskeletal issues who received physical rehabilitation was also tabulated. Results: No significant difference was found among the 3 groups in the percentage of respondents who received physical rehabilitation for most adverse physical effects (scar: P =.27; shoulder: P =.11; torso: P =.76; physical discomfort disturbing sleep: P =.74), except lymphedema (P =.001) and breast support issues (P =.01), which were significantly less for the BRS and BCS groups. Less than 50% of respondents following all types of breast cancer surgery received physical rehabilitation for issues associated with scars, the torso, and physical discomfort disturbing sleep, whereas more than 70% received physical rehabilitation for shoulder issues and lymphedema. Conclusion: Access to physical rehabilitation was similar following the different types of breast cancer surgery; however, gaps were identified for adverse physical effects associated with scars, torso, and physical discomfort disturbing sleep, where access was less than that for shoulder issues and lymphedema.
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