Try washing your hair, brushing your teeth or getting dressed without the use of one shoulder, it's darn near impossible to do anything without your shoulders. We use our shoulders all day long, 365 days per year. And over the years, the shoulders may not be feeling as comfortable or limber as they once did back in your younger days. Or maybe you are in your younger years but have been hard on your shoulders. Whether you are young or old, stiff painful shoulders make life's daily activities much more difficult to get done.
The most common reason to have a painful shoulder is tendonitis. The shoulder is a complex joint with a network of tendons called the rotator cuff . As all of the muscles in the shoulder work to pull, push, lift and reach, the tendons - which attach the shoulder muscles to the bones - can get very inflamed and painful. Sometimes the rotator cuff actually gets pinched between two bones, the acromion and the humerus. This condition is called shoulder impin...
Radiation therapy is a highly targeted, highly effective way to destroy cancer cells that may linger after surgery. This reduces the risk of recurrence.
Radiation is usually given after mastectomy in men with:
large cancers (5 centimeters or bigger)
a positive margin of resection (when the cancer comes very close to or is at the edge of the breast tissue removed)
a significant area of lymphatic or blood vessel involvement
significant lymph node involvement (four or more positive nodes)
After mastectomy, radiation therapy is usually given 5 days a week for about 5-7 weeks.
Radiation can also be used for men with advanced (metastatic) disease to relieve symptoms or help avoid complications from specific areas of spread. For example, radiation can help relieve painful bone metastases, decrease the risk of breaking a bone that's been weakened by cancer, decrease bleeding from skin involvement, and reduce neurological symptoms if the cancer puts pressure on nerves or the spinal cord.
Q. I definitely want to avoid lymphedema. Is there anything I can do to ward it off, or is lymphedema totally random? A. The very best thing you can do to help prevent lymphedema is to make sure you get full range of motion back in your arm, whether after surgery or radiation. Favoring the arm on your affected side, hunching your shoulder protectively, being too stiff to stretch your arm up over your head and around towards your back–these are all things that will make it easier for lymphedema to gain a foothold. I have a friend who’s a physical therapist specializing in lymphedema treatment. In fact, we became close as she gave me daily massages to relieve my own swollen arm. (Just as getting a tummy tuck is the silver lining of a tram flap reconstruction, a daily massage is the big plus of having lymphedema!) This friend says that women who’ve had surgery, particularly a mastectomy with lymph node removal (even if just a single node) need physical thera...
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