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Breast Cancer Survivorship & the Fitness Trainer

Do you know any breast cancer survivors? What if you were told that exercise could help them get their lives back?  Would you want to learn more?

There are 3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today. Survivorship is considered to be from the time that one is first diagnosed to many years later. Fitness professionals are uniquely positioned to help survivors regain control over their mind and body through a well thought out, systematic and progressive exercise program.


There are many women who live with metastatic disease. This is breast cancer that has spread to other organs and is the most serious diagnosis. Breast cancer survivors undergo different treatments depending on the stage of their breast cancer.

The stages are organized from 1-4 with stage 1 being the least serious and stage 4 being cancer that has spread to other organs. The treatments can include surgery, radiation, and systemic treatments. Systemic treatment affects the entire body and includes chemotherapy and biological and hormonal treatments. In addition, surgery to replace the breast is another option performed either at the time of surgery or later on.

In addition, the treatments can vary from one individual to another as there are many different treatment protocols which one can choose from in coordination with the medical team. Access to treatment facilities can be another factor in treatment options.

Unfortunately, breast cancer treatment can wreck havoc physically, cognitively, emotionally and spiritually.  Some of the challenges that survivors face are chemotherapy Induced peripheral neuropathy, fatigue (most common), osteoporosis, chemotherapy related cognitive dysfunction, pain, weight gain, cardio toxicity and decreased balance.

A medical fitness trainer can provide survivors with a safe well- balanced exercise program that supports healing from treatments, side effects, treatment precautions, and contraindications.

Naomi Aaronson MA OTR/L CHT, CPI, Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer, has been an occupational therapist for 20 years and a certified hand therapist for 10 years. Naomi was introduced to Pilates after two car accidents, and credits Pilates for restoring both her strength and spirit. She is a well known author and presenter who believes in the power of mind and body to foster healing.

MFN Industry Expert