Breast Cancer Rehab Using Telehealth, Online Course for Physiotherapists

Breast Cancer Rehab Using Telehealth, Online Course for Physiotherapists

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CPD Value: 7 CPDs

3.5 contact hours

19 lectures to complete

3 Quizzes with a 100% pass rate to retrieve your certificate


Breast cancer rehab using telehealth – an online course for physiotherapists

Welcome to The O’ Reilly Centre, Physiotherapy for Lymphedema, Cancer Rehab and Return to Sports. We have been providing continuing education and training to physiotherapists in breast cancer rehab since 2006. 

Course description

This online, self-directed course is designed for licenced physiotherapists, who wish to care for their breast cancer patients using telehealth and video consultations. E-learning is an excellent way for busy physiotherapists to develop their clinical skills at a time that is convenient for them. Using telehealth, breast cancer patients can access personalized breast cancer rehab from the safety and comfort of their own homes.

Key concepts covered include:

  • An overview of cancer of the breast
  • An overview of breast cancer treatment
  • Online assessment – subjective and objective measures for clinical decision making, for evaluation of treatment outcomes and for surveillance throughout survivorship
  • Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema (BCRL) – measuring and detecting, fitting compression sleeves and teaching patients their self-MLD sequence
  • Exercise – the timing, progression and intensity of postoperative exercises
  • Radiation fibrosis – teaching patients a self-MLD treatment
  • Cancer related fatigue (CRF) – what to teach patients to self-manage for better QOL
  • Young women’s issues –guiding younger patients to useful resources early
  • Physical Activity training- supporting patients to achieve the recommended amounts of physical activity with an evidenced based 12 week breast cancer walking program
  •  An overview of cancer and cancer of the breast
  • An overview of breast cancer treatments and the general and specific side effects relevant to
    physical rehabilitation

Growing demand for breast cancer rehab services

According to The World Health Organization: “Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women, impacting 2.1 million women each year, and causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women. In 2018, it is estimated that 627,000 women died from breast cancer – that is approximately 15% of all cancer deaths among women. While breast cancer rates are higher among women in more developed regions, rates are increasing in nearly every region globally.”

Funding for this project

Funding for this course production was provided by a grant from the Local Enterprise Office, in Donegal Ireland in Spring 2020.

Course structure

The course consists of four parts: Part 1 is an overview of breast cancer; part 2 is an overview of treatment; and part 3 is an overview of breast cancer rehab. In part 4, we list supporting evidence for each section of the course. Students must pass the quiz questions after each part before proceeding to the next part and to completion.

Course objectives

Part 1 – An overview of breast cancer

Breast Cancer Overview – Physiotherapists will learn the fundamentals about breast cancer, data and statistics, a review of breast anatomy, what cancer is, the different types of breast cancer, the risks we cannot and can change, and the tests patients have. In this way, physiotherapists can discuss these topics with their patients and their patients’ cancer care teams.

Part 2 – An overview of breast cancer treatment

Breast Cancer Treatment – Physiotherapists will learn the fundamentals of treatment, including the surgeries, 3 reconstruction procedures, common postoperative issues, cancer-related fatigue (CRF) and radiation therapy, so they are familiar with the common treatment sequelae relevant to physiotherapists and breast cancer rehab.

Part 3 – An overview of breast cancer rehabilitation

  • Online Assessment, Surveillance and Outcome Measures – Physiotherapists will learn (a) how to assess a breast cancer patient online and identify their physiotherapy priorities; (b) how to design their assessment information so the physiotherapists can monitor, detect and address the common treatment-related sequelae early; and (c) objectively measure and evaluate treatment outcomes.
  • Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema (BCRL) – Physiotherapists will learn how to measure and detect early-stage breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL); how to order and fit a compression garment for early stage BCRL and how to teach patients their self-MLD sequence.
  • Soft Tissue Restrictions (STRs) – Physiotherapists will learn how to assess STRs and the timing, intensity and progression of exercises to manage cording, adherent scars and radiation fibrosis to improve comfort, range of motion and quality of life (QOL) and reduce BCRL risk. This includes a self-MLD treatment for radiation fibrosis and exercises post lumpectomy and mastectomy, for cording and for core strengthening.
  • Cancer Related Fatigue (CRF) – Physiotherapists will learn how to assess and teach patients to self-manage and achieve an improved quality of life.
  • Young Women and Breast Cancer. Physiotherapists will learn about issues specific to young women with breast cancer and how to guide them to helpful resources.
  • Physical Activity (PA) – Physiotherapists will learn how to support patients to reach the recommended levels of PA with an evidenced-based, 12-week brisk walking program designed for breast cancer patients.

Part 4 – Supporting evidence for each lesson in the course

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