The Doctor Is In: Breast Cancer Exercise and Integrative Medicine

Content sponsored and provided by Henry Ford Health

Join Deena Centofanti and doctors from Henry Ford Wednesday as they discuss breast cancer, exercise and integrative medicine.

Our Experts:

Eleanor M. Walker, M.D.
Director, Breast Radiation Oncology, Henry Ford Hospital
Medical Director, Integrative Medicine Services, Henry Ford Health System

Lyn Scharret
Certified Yoga and Pilates Instructor, Fitness Works

About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.

In 2016, an estimated 46,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 61,000 new cases of carcinoma in situ will be diagnosed in women. About 40,450 women will die from breast cancer this year.

Most women who develop breast cancer will not have a family history of breast cancer.

Breast cancer can be caused by inherited gene mutations, including a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, which makes up about 5% to 10% of all breast cancers.

Other risk factors for breast cancer: a family history of the disease, menstruating at an early age, older age at first birth or never having given birth, and taking hormones such as estrogen and progesterone for symptoms of menopause.

Getting Breast Cancer Patients Moving with ExCITE

Henry Ford offers a unique program called ExCITE (Exercise and Cancer Integrative Therapies and Education) that creates individualized exercise programs for patients who are receiving breast cancer treatment.

ExCITE is a partnership between Henry Ford's Josephine Ford Cancer Institute and the Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute.

The program works with patients who are receiving cancer treatment to create individualized exercise programs.

Some patients come into one of Henry Ford's fitness centers to workout, while others have plans that allow them to exercise at home during various stages of their care.

Benefits of Exercise During & After Cancer Treatment

Dr. Walker and her colleagues have conducted several studies about exercise during and after breast cancer treatment.
The studies found breast cancer patients who regularly exercise report having a better quality of life and being less fatigued.
Exercising post-treatment also helps survivors lose weight, stop bone loss and it modifies cardiovascular risk factors.

Integrative Medicine for Breast Cancer

Integrative medicine addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person's health.

Breast cancer patients can benefit from integrative medicine options such as massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, yoga, meditation, and music and art therapy

Integrative medicine can help patients with potential treatment side-effects, including hot flashes and peripheral neuropathy due to chemotherapy.
Yoga and Breast Cancer

Yoga uses several exercises including breathing, meditation, and body posture exercises.

Research in breast cancer patients has shown that yoga may help: improve physical function, reduce fatigue, reduce stress, improve sleep and improve quality of life

For breast cancer patients, who might experience lymphedema (swelling caused by fluid build-up in the arms and legs) following surgery or radiation, yoga can help restore range of motion in the arms and improve strength and mobility.

It’s recommended that breast cancer patients ease into a yoga routine, and use a chair for poses to reduce body strain.