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Faculty Advisor(s)

Mary Insana Fisher, PT, PhD


Background/Purpose: Women with breast cancer (WBC) report decreased function following cancer treatment, yet objective measures of function typically return within the first year after surgery. Kinesiophobia, or fear of physical activity (PA), has been documented following other musculoskeletal pathologies. This study explored the relationships between fear of PA and self-reported arm function, QOL, perceived stress, and objective measures of range of motion (ROM), strength, and muscular endurance in WBC.

Methods: Women (n=30) diagnosed with stage 0-3 breast cancer 6-60 months prior to enrollment participated; WBC were excluded with metastatic disease, shoulder pathology, or history of shoulder/neck surgery. Self-reported function was measured with the Penn Shoulder Score; FACT-B QOL, Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM), bilateral flexion, external and internal rotation ROM and strength, and muscular endurance measures were also collected. Relationships between fear of PA and all variables were explored using Pearson’s correlations. Significance was set ≤0.05 a priori.

Results:Mean age and BMI were 57 (SD 13.65) and 28.86 (SD 5.17). Mean scores (SD) were: PENN 84.15 points (4.8), FACT-B 110.89 (16.13), FPAX-B 39.22 (11.73), COPM satisfaction 6.34 (1.71) and COPM performance (7.42 (1.19). Fear of PA was significantly correlated to PENN pain and satisfaction subscales (p

Conclusion: Fear of PA was associated with self-reported function, QOL, and perceived stress in this population of WBC, while objective measures were not. These findings suggest that personal factors play a significant role in functional recovery.

Clinical Relevance: Rehabilitation professionals must address personal factors to ensure complete and successful functional recovery among WBC.

Publication Date



Physical Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy


Accepted for poster presentation at the 2nd International Conference on Physical Therapy in Oncology, Copenhagen, Denmark (scheduled for October 2020).

Arm Function in Women Treated for Breast Cancer