Last year, an estimated 230,480 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed among women. Though recovery varies greatly for each patient, and not every one of these patients with breast cancer will require rehabilitation services post-treatment, swelling and range-of-motion problems following treatment can prevent them from returning to normal daily activities.
Treatment for breast cancer, which includes surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, causes many patients to experience pain and stiffness in the chest, shoulder and back muscles, as well as initial swelling and numbness near a surgical incision site. Other common side effects of breast cancer treatment include nerve irritation, as radiation and surgery can cause nerves to become swollen, which can result in numbness, pain or tingling sensations. Fatigue is also common and can easily overwhelm a patient.