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Journal scan

Exercise and dance offer multiple benefits after breast operations

Radiotherapy is administered to most women after breast-conserving surgery for cancer and to some women after mastectomy.

Gentle movements improved outlook and wellbeing

Picture credit: iStock

Patients tend to be relatively sedentary during their radiotherapy and may be reluctant to exercise because they fear feeling more tired or causing pain or injury.

This study looked at the benefits of providing dance movement therapy, including gentle upper arm movements to address possible oedema, group dance and movement games to improve mood and vitality, improvised movement to encourage personal expression and movement interaction among group members to facilitate communication.

Main findings from 104 participants in the study included improvement in symptoms such as pain, stiffness, sleep disturbance and fatigue as well as a better understanding and appreciation of the body.

Several participants also reported that the intervention helped them to plan their new lives through reflection and to regain positivity, hope and the motivation to live and be happy.

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