In the last decade, impressive results have been obtained in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancers. Today, over 80% of patients show a survival rate of over 5 years, and most of them recover completely. Nonetheless, these patients can suffer severe cardiovascular complications that have a negative impact on their quality of life and life expectancy, particularly if they have undergone treatment with specific drugs. Eliminating the risk factors (particularly alcohol and smoking), following a healthy diet, and practicing regular physical exercise can substantially reduce these complications.
In the UPMC Institute for Health Chianciano Terme rehabilitation program, offered under an agreement with the Italian NHS for residents of the “Area Vasta Sud Est” [provinces of Arezzo, Grosseto and Siena] a multidisciplinary team combines physical activity and education plans on healthy diet and stress management, providing patients with the necessary tools to recover and maintain a physical and psychological well-being, preserving their quality of life in the community.
In the short run, the cancer rehabilitation program helps to:
- Optimize first-surgery outcomes and pursue clinical stability
- Limit physiological and psychological consequences of cancer
- Generally improve the functional capacity, with a positive impact on the autonomy, independence and quality of life
In the long run, the cancer rehabilitation program helps to:
- Protect the heart and prevent the onset of cardiovascular complications associated with the therapies
- Reduce the risk of mortality or future cardiovascular events
- Reduce possibilities of breast cancer relapses
What does the cancer rehabilitation program include?
- Initial clinical, cardiology and physiotherapy assessment
- Personalized physical activity plan
- Nutrition education and healthy cooking classes
- Integrative therapies
Who is the cancer rehabilitation program targeted to?
Cancer patients in therapy with:
- Trastuzumab, Pertuzumab, Taxanes
- Aromatase inhibitors
- Local regional radiation therapy
- Any chemo or radiation therapy in patients with the following cardiovascular risk factors:
- at least two of the following: smoking, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes or obesity
- over 60-year-old when starting the therapy
- reduced cardiac performance under basal conditions, previous ischemic myocardial infarction, moderate/medium valvulopathy
Patients with complications and comorbidities hindering the OPC rehabilitation (e.g., ejection fraction ≤ 40%) will not be included in the program.