Effectiveness of myofascial techniques for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer-related dysfunctions of the upper limb
The first aim of our proposed project was to investigate the preventive effect of myofascial techniques, additional to a traditional physical therapy program, on dysfunctions of the upper limb, applied on breast cancer patients with axillary lymph node dissection. The second aim was to investigate the treatment effect of myofascial techniques applied on breast cancer patients with chronic pain of the upper limb region. The third aim was to investigate the evolution of the kinematics of the upper limb after surgery for breast cancer and to compare the groups with and without myofascial treatment. The forth aim was to investigate the patient-related, breast cancer- related and treatment- related factors predictive for the change in upper limb dysfunctions, including pain, shoulder mobility, shoulder function and arm lymphoedema. To investigate the preventive effect of myofascial techniques, 147 breast cancer patients with a unilateral axillary dissection were randomised into an intervention group receiving standard physical therapy and myofascial techniques and a control group receiving standard physical therapy and a placebo treatment. They received during 4 months standard physical therapy (30 sessions) and during 2 months myofascial techniques (8 sessions, started at 2 months post-axillary dissection). Patients are measured before and after the axillary lymph node dissection and at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months post-surgery. To investigate the treatment effect of myofascial techniques, 50 breast cancer patients with persistent upper limb pain were included. They are also randomized into an intervention group receiving standard physical therapy and myofascial techniques and a control group receiving standard physical therapy and placebo treatment. They receive during 3 months standard physical therapy (20 sessions) and during 3 months myofascial techniques (12 sessions). Patients are measured before the start of the treatment program and after 1 and 3 months and also after 6 and 12 months. In both studies, the primary outcome parameter is prevalence of pain of the upper limb region. The secondary outcome parameters are upper limb dysfunctions, including (prevalence of) pain, impaired shoulder mobility, impaired shoulder function, arm lymphoedema and change of quality of life and upper limb kinematics.
> CarEdOn primary researchers: Prof. Nele Devoogdt, Prof. An De Groef
> Research partners: Prof. Marie-Rose Christiaens, Multidisciplinary Breast Center, University Hospital Leuven (Belgium); Prof. Marijke Van Kampen, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven (Belgium)
> Funding: Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology, applied Biomedical Research
> Keywords: breast cancer, exercise therapy, myofascial therapy, edema, pain, upper limb function,
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