Disclosure: Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Helping Patients After Mastectomy

October is breast cancer awareness month, learn how to help patients recover from breast cancer treatment in this course by University of Exeter.

Dr. Beth Fordham is a health psychologist (left) and Professor Julie Bruce was the Chief Investigator for the PROSPER trial (right).

Here, I would like to share my recommendation for taking the professional training course, Helping patients recover from breast cancer treatment: a programme to prevent shoulder problems on Future Learn from the University of Exeter. This class is taught by a range of researchers and clinicians.

Who is this class for?

Screenshot from “Patient feedback on the PROSPER programme” – Week 1.

This class is a training class and is most suitable for medical professionals who work with rehabilitation of breast cancer patients after the non-reconstructive surgery for breast cancer, who are at risk of developing shoulder problems.

PROSPER program (a program to prevent shoulder problems) was executed successfully as a large clinical trial and after its success, this training class has been developed as a MOOC to train healthcare professionals working in the area of rehabilitation for breast cancer patients after the surgery.

This is such a novel idea, to help train many healthcare professionals by making such training available online for anyone.

If you are a patient yourself, please discuss with your medical team if such a program is suitable for you and can be provided at your healthcare facility.

What will you learn from this course?

From “Forward Shoulder ROM Exercises” – Week 3.
  • Understand the impact of breast cancer treatment on shoulder function and who is at risk for developing shoulder problems following non-reconstructive breast cancer surgery;
  • Confidently apply the skills covered in this course;
  • Deliver the PROSPER programme to your patients following their breast cancer treatment;
  • Consider how you can develop and implement a new service in your workplace to deliver the PROSPER program

Above goals are for health care workers. If you are not a healthcare worker, and are a patient yourself, you can educate yourself as well as tell your medical team about this training. This will empower you as well as raise awareness about availability of such a training among your health care team. Please do not try any exercise, unless you are sure that is right for you.

Why did I take this class?

I went through breast cancer surgery (mastectomy) recently in the USA. I also had to go through the surgery involving axillary nodes dissection that could lead to serious shoulder injury and lifetime disability for many women. I was fortunate to have survived and recovered well. Still, I am aware that such a breast cancer treatment directly involves the neuromusculoskeletal tissues of the shoulder girdle, that is why breast cancer survivors are likely to develop shoulder girdle muscle weakness and fatigue, decreased shoulder motion, altered shoulder girdle alignment, and lymphedema. So, having an early intervention right after the surgery, as demonstrated by the PROSPER program can be very useful for many patients like myself.

I took this class as a survivor, who underwent the surgery to understand various side effects and also learn exercises to overcome these side effects. Still, it is important that such exercises are done under expert supervision. In the USA, there is no such PROSPER program that I am aware of, so this was a great learning resource for me, as a patient and a lifelong learner!

This is an excellent class that is a very useful resource for physical therapists, who want to work with patients recovering after breast cancer surgery. I would highly recommend this class to any physical therapist interested in working in this field. There are not many trained therapists in this area in the USA. It is also a good class for patients undergoing the surgery (especially mastectomy without reconstruction and axillary node dissection), so they are aware of the complications and can discuss with their medical team about their options.

My certificate for completion

My certificate of completion is proof that this class has engaged me till the end and I have learned valuable practical knowledge from this class!

Here is my certificate – first page

Here is the list of key learning outcomes of this class – described in my certificate’s second page.

  • Describe the impact of breast cancer treatments on shoulder and arm function
  • Identify women at high-risk of shoulder problems following breast cancer treatment
  • Demonstrate how to deliver the PROSPER programme to women following breast cancer treatment
  • Explore common breast cancer treatment related problems and how to manage them
  • Engage with behavior change strategies to help patients to exercise regularly and be more physically active

October is breast cancer awareness month and I would like to share this short review, with the intention of inspiring many therapists, health care professionals and patients, to educate themselves about the PROSPER trial. You can check out more about this class on FutureLearn and decide if this is a good addition to your professional portfolio. I would highly recommend any patient undergoing major breast surgery to discuss this with their medical provider.

Hope this will be helpful to prevent further shoulder injury for many breast cancer patients and also provide a good professional training for physical therapists.

What’s next

If you are a patient or want general information about breast cancer for a variety of reasons, there are many resources online. Few months ago I shared an in-depth review of a very good introductory MOOC – Introduction to breast cancer from the Yale Medical School. You can check out the above review and also the class, on Coursera, to get the general overview of Breast cancer. This is breast cancer awareness month and we all need to spread awareness about this disease.

Sonal Patel Profile Image

Sonal Patel

My learner story on edX — hope this is sufficient to get to know me! http://blog.edx.org/spreading-love-learning-meet-sonal And you can find all my reviews here: https://www.classcentral.com/@sonal/reviews

Comments 0

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. All comments go through moderation, so your comment won't display immediately.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Browse our catalog

Discover thousands of free online courses from top universities around the world like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard.

Browse all subjects