According to the Canadian Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) and it is the second leading cause of death from cancer in Canadian women. The Canadian Cancer Society has made the following predictions for 2020:
- It is estimated that in 2020:
- 27,400 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This represents 25% of all new cancer cases in women in 2020.
- 5,100 women will die from breast cancer. This represents 13% of all cancer deaths in women in 2020.
- On average, 75 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day.
- On average, 14 Canadian women will die from breast cancer every day.240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 55 will die from breast cancer.
- (Canadian Cancer Society website)
Pelvic Physiotherapists are invaluable care providers and educators for those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, those undergoing treatment, as well as breast cancer survivors. We are able to support patients through surgical preparation, post surgical healing, breast cancer treatment outcomes and survivor health and wellness.
Breast cancer treatments can lead to lower levels of estrogen in the body and can induce symptoms similar to menopause.
Estrogen important for vaginal health: “PLUMP, PLIABLE, AND LUBRICATED”
Lower estrogen levels can lead to:
- Thinning of vaginal tissue
- Vaginal dryness
- Burning, itching
- Increased urge to urinary
- Urinary incontinence
- Recurring UTI’s
- Pelvic pressure and/or discomfort
- Pain with sexual activity
- Menopausal symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, joint pain
- **Although symptoms are similar to menopause, they require different treatment as estrogen related medications cannot be used in women who have hormone positive breast cancer.
VAGINAL DRYNESS, BURNING AND ITCHING
- Non-hormonal and replenish moisture to improve elasticity and tissue quality
- Relieve symptoms of dryness, itching and burning
- Increase water content of the cells in the vaginal canal and lower the pH in the vagina to maintain moisture and acidity
- Can be applied inside the vagina and/or around the external genitalia
- Examples: Mae by Damiva, Repagyn, Replens
- Vitamin E oil, almond oil, coconut oil
- No petroleum-based products
- Allow tissues to become more slippery during sexual activity
- Create a protective layer on fragile tissue to reduce friction (lubes unlike moisturizers are not absorbed
- Provide temporary relief during intercourse
- Examples: Slippery Stuff, Sliquid, Good Clean Love
- Recommendation: water based
- Avoid soap as it can be drying. The vagina is a self-cleaning oven
- Cotton underwear so skin can breathe, no undies at night
- Menstrual pads: unscented, cotton or organic
- No menstrual pads for incontinence, urine is acidic and will damage the skin
- Wipe front to back
Urinary/bowel dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, recurring UTIs, pelvic pressure
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help:
- Trigger point and myofascial release
- Relaxation techniques to reduce tightness in the pelvic floor muscles
- Dilator program
- Education on vulvar care
- Lubrication education
- Sexual positioning
- Breathing and relaxation
- Bowel and bladder retraining
Fear of Returning to sexual activity
- Engaging in sexual activity can actually help. It will stimulate the tissues, facilitate natural lubrication, and increase blood flow to the area
- Intercourse should not be painful
- May find libido is affected: stress, fatigue, pain, and changes to hormone levels
Our Pelvic Physiotherapists are EDUCATORS and skilled therapists who want nothing more than to travel your journey with you…offering support and guidance. Both in-clinic and virtual appointments are available! Learn more about our team by visiting abodyinmotion.ca!
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