Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Strength After Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 9:13 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2022 at 10:49 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FISHERSVILLE, Va. (WHSV) -The Strength After Breast Cancer has been going since 2010. It is an eight-week program. Once a patient gets a referral to the program they start with a fitness evaluation.

Sharon Spaulding is an exercise specialist for the center.

“If they have been really debilitated by their treatment it might be just to accomplish daily living activities. For someone who is a little further out, it may be to regain the strength they once had,” Spalding explained.

“What’s common with breast cancer is radiation to the axilla which will cause impairment in their ability to lift their arm. As well as the decrease the risk of lymphedema which is swelling in your extremity,” Stephanie Mims, director of therapy services at the center, explained.

“Especially with breast cancer survivors, their treatments can affect their bone density so I like to structure their programs so they are increasing bone density through weight baring exercise whether it is on the treadmill or doing strength training,” Spalding said.

Plans vary with patients but for Spalding, working with breast cancer patients is personal having beat the disease three times.

“My first experience with coming over here was a Tai Chi for cancer and I started coming over here then I said oh maybe I’ll be a member. I started and during my treatments, I didn’t sleep very well so they opened very early I would come over here when I couldn’t sleep with my bald head and do my exercise. It was a good place to be,” Spalding said.

“Motivating them to realize that there is another part of their life than just cancer treatment. That is a huge part and something they have to do to continue living but once all of that is over, it is very important to get back to living and having your health and wellness where it needs to be, helps you have a fuller life,” Mims said.

October first made 7 years that Sharon has been cancer free.

“The treatments of course are positive to keep cancer from coming back but being in shape just makes you feel better about yourself and your daily activities,” Spalding said.

For more information on the Strength After Breast Cancer program at Augusta Health, click here.