Category Archives: Women’s Health

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PT News July 2019

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This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout July 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

when your arm is a pain in the neck

1. When Your Arm is a Pain in the Neck
Written by The Jackson Clinics with multiple locations throughout Northern Virginia and Maryland.

Many times, the initial discomfort results from nerves in the neck being pinched because the shoulder blade is not positioned correctly. Raising your arm above your head takes the stretch off the nerve and provides relief, but carrying something like a bag of groceries increases the stretch on the nerve, thus escalating the pain.  Read more



2. Hydration During Exercise and Competition

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice throughout the PA’s Montgomery, Berks, and Chester Counties. 

The fact that the body is made up of 60% water, and the brain 85%, makes water an essential nutrient for bodily function. Without adequate hydration, sports performance will be negatively affected, and serious illness, or death, can occur. Read more


rotator cuff exercises

3. 4 Exercises for Rotator Cuff Strength

Written by Spectrum Physical Therapy with 3physical therapy locations in CT. 

This week, we will go over the rotator cuff anatomy, and provide you with 4 of our go-to exercises for strengthening the rotator cuff! Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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women's health physical therapy

4 Common Pelvic Issues Seen by Physical Therapists

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Women’s bodies and their wellness are unique. Many factors cause problems specific to women’s bodies. Physical therapists specializing in women’s health can help female patients eliminate or manage pelvic pain or problems while restoring their quality of life. Using a comprehensive approach to evaluation and treatment, women’s health physical therapy programs can provide relief for these 4 common pelvic issues:

  • Pelvic floor pain or dysfunction
  • Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
  • Postpartum recovery and or pain
  • Urinary incontinence


1. Pelvic Floor Pain or Dysfunction

Pelvic pain can occur for many reasons. One typical cause is what is called a hypertonus dysfunction or an unusual tightening of the pelvic floor muscles. This is common after a long delivery and scar tissue formation from a healing episiotomy. It can also occur from sexual abuse or when the muscles tighten to prevent the “falling out” sensation that occurs with the prolapse of the internal organs. The primary symptom is pain, but it can occur in the back, perivaginal area, lower abdomen, or thighs.

women's health physical therapy

How physical therapy can help pelvic pain patients:

Physical therapy can help to eliminate or manage pelvic pain while restoring the quality of life. This is possible through a comprehensive approach to the evaluation and treatment of the pelvic floor.


2. Pelvic Organ Prolapse

According to the International Urogynecology Association (IUGA) and the International Continence Society (ICS), pelvic organ prolapse is defined as the decent of one or more of the anterior vaginal wall, the posterior vaginal wall, the uterus (cervix) or the apex of the vagina (vaginal vault or cuff after hysterectomy). POP can be caused by a variety of circumstances including vaginal childbirth, increased age and/or BMI, increased abdominal pressure, and connective tissue disorder.  The symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) include:

  • Many women are asymptomatic
  • The sensation of pressure or heaviness in the vagina
  • Feeling of bulging or something coming out of the vagina
  • Urinary symptoms: incontinence, position change or manual reduction of prolapse needed to initiate or complete voiding, weak or prolonged stream, incomplete emptying, obstructed voiding symptoms
  • Bowel symptoms: incontinence, feeling of incomplete emptying, straining, digital evacuation, splinting of vagina or perineum to aid emptying
  • Sexual symptoms: decreased lubrication, sensation, arousal, or dyspareunia

How physical therapy can help pelvic organ prolapse patients:

  • Pelvic floor muscle training (recommended as the first line of treatment in stage 1-2 of pelvic organ prolapse)
  • Strength and endurance training of underactive pelvic floor
  • Stretching and relaxation of an overactive pelvic floor
  • Lifestyle modification to reduce the effect of increased abdominal pressure on the pelvic organ support system

In addition to physical therapy, other treatments for POP may include pharmacological treatment, the use of mechanical devices, and surgical intervention.


3. Post Partum Recovery and/or Pain

Birthing a baby is a joyful and yet very traumatic experience. Regardless of the method of delivery, whether VBAC or Cesarean Section, each birth comes with its own potential postpartum problems. From urinary incontinence to pelvic pain, there are just some things after childbirth that are not glamorous and can be embarrassing
to discuss.

While some issues will resolve over time, there may be treatments that can help. Pelvic health physical therapy can address diastasis recti (a tear in the
abdominal wall), urinary incontinence, low back/ pelvic girdle/hip pain, pain with intercourse, or scar pain to name a few postpartum unpleasantries that may benefit from physical therapy.

Potential postpartum problems that can be helped with physical therapy:

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Pelvic floor pain
  • Scar pain
  • Diastasis recti
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Difficulty returning to exercise

If you find yourself 6 weeks postpartum and still suffering, please discuss with your OB-GYN and decide if a referral to physical therapy may help.


4. Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence can be embarrassing but it doesn’t have to be part of your life. Do you have to change pads every couple of hours? Do you worry
about going out because you need to know where the closest bathroom is? Do you always carry a change of clothes with you? Do you not travel or exercise because of fear of leakage? Don’t live in fear of urinary leakage.

Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence Include:

  • Involuntary loss of urine
  • Increased daytime/ nighttime frequency
  • Urgency
  • Post voiding retention
  • Straining to avoid dribble
  • Leakage with efforts like coughing or other activities.

How physical therapy can help urinary incontinence patients:

  • Behavioral interventions (urge suppression techniques, dietary modifications, appropriate fluid intake, weight loss, habit training)
  • Pelvic muscle re-training (for overactive) as well as underactive pelvic floor
  • Bladder training (bladder diary or scheduled voiding)
  • Neuromuscular re-education (NMES) and biofeedback devices


What to expect during a women’s health physical therapy session:

Each person will be individually evaluated and treated in a quiet, private, safe space. The initial evaluation may include an internal exam if the patient is comfortable in order to properly assess the patient’s musculature and symptoms.

  • Musculoskeletal assessment: An evaluation to identify causes of poor postural alignment, strength, flexibility and movement patterns which cause orthopedic pain Soft Tissue Mobilization – to release adhesional restrictions.
  • Observation and palpation of the pelvic floor to the patient’s comfort level
  • Stretching and strengthening techniques
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Soft tissue and joint mobilization
  • Modalities: Interferential electrical stimulation, ultrasound, heat or cold therapy.
  • Biofeedback: Provides measurable assessment of the pelvic floor muscles ability to contract and relax in function.
  • Behavior modification
  • Educational instruction: Home exercise programs and information concerning diet, sleep, work and rest positions and self-management of symptoms.

If you find yourself in need of women’s health physical therapy, talk to your doctor or physical therapist and see if physical therapy would be a good fit for your symptoms. To find a physical therapist near you visit our Find A PT page.

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Contributions to this blog post were provided by Spring-Klein Physical Therapy (Spring, TX), Therapy Partners of North Texas (North Richland Hills), and STAR Physical Therapy (65 locations throughout TN)

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PT News June 2019

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout June 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. 8 Great Pelvic Floor Stretches to Do During Pregnancy
Written by Ability Rehabilitation with multiple locations throughout Orlando and Tampa Bay.

retching and strengthening your pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy can help relieve your aches and pains — and alleviate stress and tension too. Pelvic floor stretches will also help you have an easier delivery and decrease your risk of urinary incontinence later on.  Read more


get active square

2. Get Active to Stay Active

Written by Rebound Physical Therapy, a privately owned, outpatient physical therapy practice throughout Central Oregon.

Summer is a time to have fun and spend time outdoors. It is an opportunity to enjoy the sunshine. It’s a time when you can go out for a walk and roll down the windows and take in everything that nature has to offer, allergies and all. Read more


3. For Shoulder Relief Try These Home Remedies

Written by Sport and Spine Physical Therapy with 4 physical therapy locations in Southern, WI.

Shoulder pain can be one of the most disabling problems to deal with. Whether you realize it or not, you use your shoulder pretty frequently throughout most days, as it permits practically any movement that involves your arms. Read more

diastasis recti abdominal separation

What You Can Do About Diastis Recti (Abdominal Separation)

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diastasis recti abdominal separation

There’s a lot to absorb when you become pregnant. You have a whole new person growing inside of you, and with that the excitement of what they’ll look like — and what kind of mother you’ll be — to this brand new human. And of course, there are a lot of physical changes that women undergo. From morning sickness to foods that seem unpalatable (or highly desirable), our bodies seem to have a mind of their own when pregnant. Along with gaining a healthy amount of weight and planning on what birth will look like for you, there’s also residual effects. One of them that can come with motherhood but can also affect other people is called diastasis recti (abdominal separation).

This condition occurs with the dramatic change in belly structure that happens when women become pregnant. The abdominal walls separate, leading the belly to stick out more. Who else does this affect and how can you deal with it? This graphic explains it.

What is Diastasis? And What You Can Do About it
“What is Diastasis? And What You Can Do About it” on Health Perch

Ask for Help.

If you are unsure of whether or not you have diastasis recti talk to your OB-GYN or physical therapist and ask them to evaluate your core. If you do have abdominal separation, a physical therapy program can give you all of the tools you need to bring the muscles back together.

Physical therapy programs for diastasis recti patients may include:

  • Core stabilization and postural strengthening
  • An abdominal brace to provide support and reduce pain
  • An exercise program designed to stretch overly tightened muscles
  • Education and training on how to lift and carry your baby as your abdomen recovers

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PT News PTandMe

PT News October 2018

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout October, 2018. Featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

Kicking injury aside Rebound Physical Therapy Review

1. Kicking Injury Aside and Back on the Field
Written by Rebound Physical Therapy with 10 physical therapy locations throughout Bend, OR and the surrounding communities.

Physical therapists help patients with all kinds of disabilities or injury. Read about Kaylee’s journey through rehab as she goes from being a soccer athlete to having to relearn how to walk, and eventually get back into her sport.  Read more


Transitioning Indoor Activities

2. Transitioning to Indoor Activities
Written by the Therapy Team at The Jackson Clinics with 18  physical therapy locations throughout Northern VA and soon branching into Maryland.

While summer offers opportunities to walk, jog, bicycle, garden, play sports and get into shape, cold weather brings the temptation to eat more, move less and hibernate indoors. Shorter days, frosty air and holiday parties can threaten the fitness gains you made during the summer.  Read more

women's health

3. The Importance of Physical Therapy on Women’s Health: All You Need to Know
Written by the Therapy Team at Cornerstone Physical Therapy with 5 physical therapy locations in Ohio.

Ever since the #1 New York Times bestseller entitled “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” by John Gray was published, more and more people have asked the question “What makes men and women so different?” Read more

physical therapy and ovarian cancer

Physical Therapy and Ovarian Cancer

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physical therapy and ovarian cancer

Every 23 minutes, a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which is the number one cause of gynecologic cancer deaths. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and in honor of that, here is some information on what exactly ovarian cancer is and how adding physical therapy into a treatment plan can be beneficial.

What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian Cancer is a disease where different types of malignant tumors develop in the ovaries and eventually can spread to the pelvis and abdomen in later stages. Early on, it is easier to treat and the treatments are more successful. Unfortunately, the disease is most often caught in the later stages when its harder to treat because this is when the symptoms first start to present themselves. Other lesser health problems share many early symptoms of ovarian cancer such as fatigue, changes in menstruation, and bloating, which leads to ovarian cancer often being misdiagnosed as more common health issues.

Physical Therapy and Ovarian Cancer

Because physical therapy may not be the first route of healthcare cancer patients think of, most people are unaware of how helpful it can be to add it into a cancer patients exercise regimen. There is recent research on how adding physical therapy into a patient’s treatment plan can improve daily function, quality of life and health. Not only can it be helpful during treatment, but also during recovery. Because of the ever-increasing survival rate of cancer, more recovery strategies, like physical therapy, are being studied.

The course of treatment for cancer is grueling and leaves many patients exhausted and sometimes incapable of doing mundane tasks. Individualized exercise programs can be designed by physical therapists to be both safe and practical for each patient. There are certain things that should be taken into consideration by your physical therapist while discussing a new exercise program:

  • Current Exercise Regimen
  • Physical Limitations
  • Capabilities During/Post Treatment

It is recommended to do both moderate and vigorous exercises before, during, and after the treatment of ovarian cancer to improve the outcome as well as prevent recurrence. Some examples of this are:

  • Moderate Bike Riding
  • Brisk Walking
  • Badminton
  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Basketball

There are certain things that should be taken into consideration by your physical therapist while discussing a new exercise program:

  • Current Exercise Regimen
  • Physical Limitations
  • Capabilities During/Post Treatment

The main focus of creating an exercise program for a cancer patient is to simply increase heart rate and muscle flexion through minimal physical exertion in order to boost tolerance for treatments. Things you can expect to be included in a physical therapy program for ovarian cancer patients may include:

  • Flexibility Exercises
  • Strength Training
  • Range-of-Motion Training
  • Light Resistance Exercises
  • Cardiovascular Activity

If you are interested in adding physical therapy to your treatment plan, talk to your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist who specializes in working with oncology patients.

What Happens to your Body After Pregnancy

What Happens To Your Body After Pregnancy

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What Happens to your Body After Pregnancy

Congratulations! You have just brought home a new bundle of joy. Now it is time for feeding every two hours, diapers, little sleep, and a flurry of casseroles and visitors. It is so easy for mom to forget to take care of herself.

Research shows that there are a number of processes that occur in the body after giving birth that make it important to focus on maternal nutrition, exercise, mental health, and physical recovery (Walker & Grobe, 1999; Wilcox et al., 2018). For example, gestational weight gain is normal but can present a challenge when the weight is hard to lose after delivery. That extra weight can be stressful to the mom and can actually lead to additional mental and physical health issues in the future (Cuco, et al, 2006). Pelvic pain is another stressful side effect of giving birth. Understanding your postpartum pelvic pain is extremely important to your recovery as a new mom. This type of pain is very normal to experience as your pelvic bones expand and loosen while preparing your body to give birth. In turn, this expansion will make your ligaments much looser, especially after birth. More than a third of women end up with pelvic floor disorders which can lead to other serious issues that should be checked out by your doctor.

Following a physician-approved exercise plan and making necessary lifestyle changes can have a beneficial effect on both the mom and the baby as energy increases, moods stabilize, and physical activity becomes less taxing. In addition, a diet that targets low sugar and beneficial fats can reduce inflammation and improve both the recovery from childbirth and the nutritional value of breast milk (Raffelock, 2003).

While a woman is pregnant, there are specific changes in hormones that allow for the development of the baby’s skeleton and structures. As many moms-to-be can tell you, there are often visible changes in her hair, nails, and teeth that suggest a shift of her chemistry to help the baby form correctly (Gonzalez-Jaranay, et al., 2017). In fact, there are pretty specific changes in the bone density and the balance between bone degradation and bone repair (Gulson, Taylor, Eismen, 2016). While many of these processes reverse naturally after childbirth, some women (5-37% of all new moms) continue to experience poor posture, low back pain, and general muscle weakness (Bivia-Roig, 2018; Ferreria & Alburquerque-Sendin, 2013). Physical therapists can assess the problem and then create goals that focus specifically on the activities of a new mother.

Some states requires a physician’s prescription for starting physical therapy but many states now have some form of direct access where no prescription is needed. You can search for a local physical therapist by going to PT& and entering your zip code. Maternal health supports baby health. Take the time today to care for new moms


Bivia-Roig G, Lison JF, Sanchez-Zuriaga D. Changes in trunk posture and muscle responses in standing during pregnancy and postpartum. 2018;13(3): 10.1371/journal.pone.0194853

Cuco G, Fernandez-Ballart J, Sala J, Viladrick C, Iranzo R. Dietary patterns and associated lifestyles in preconception, pregnancy and postpartum. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006;60(3):364-71.

Gonzalez-Jaranay M, Tellez L, Rao-Lopez A, Gomez Moreno G, Moreu G. Periodontal status during pregnancy and postpartum. PLoS One 2017;12(5): doi:

Gulson B, Taylor A, Eisman J. Bone remodeling during pregnancy and post-partum assessed by metal lead levels and isotopic concentrations. Jrnl Bone. 2016;5(5):

Rafflelock D. Pregnancy and postpartum nutrition. Total Health2003;25(3):3.

Walker LO, Grobe S. The construct of thriving in pregnancy and postpartum. Nurs Science Quart. 1999;12(2): 151-157.

Wanderley C, Ferreria S, Alburquerque-Sendin F. Effectiveness of physical therapy for pregnancy-related low back and/or pelvic pain after delivery: A systematic review. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice. 2013;29(6):419-431.

Wilcox S, Jihong Liu C, Turner-McGrievy A, Burgis J, Wingard E, Dahl A, Whitaker M, Schneider L, Boutte A. A randomized controlled trial to prevent excessive gestational weight gain and promote postpartum weight loss in overweight and obese women: Health in pregnancy and postpartum (HIPP). Contemporary Clinical Trials 2018;66:51-63.

PT News PTandMe

PT News May 2018

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PT News PTandMe

This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!


2. Hands-on physical therapy effective for common shoulder conditions
Written by the Therapy Team at Rehab Associates of Central Virginia 

Shoulder problems are one of the more common issues that affect the musculoskeletal system, as its prevalence in the general population has been reported as high as 4.8%.  Read more

3. What to expect on your first visit with a pelvic Physical Therapist
Written by the Therapy Team at Ability Rehabilitation – Central Florida

You may be wondering how this will help with your concerns and symptoms. You may be wondering “how does this work”. What will happen during the first visit and follow up treatments? Read more


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Lymphedema?

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Lymphedema can occur in any body part. Some common early symptoms include:

  • Tightness, swelling or thickening anywhere in the extremity. Initially the swelling may fluctuate but over timeit worsens.
  • A burning sensation or tingling sensation radiating down the extremity.
  • Complaints of heaviness or aching of the extremity.
  • Inability to wear rings, jewelry, watches or clothing secondary to edema.

STAGE 1 – Reversible Lymphedema

  • Lymphedema disappears with bed rest and/or elevation especially over night.
  • Edema is soft and pitting, no resistance is felt. Indentations are easily made.
  • No or little fibrosis. No alteration of tissues.

STAGE 2 – Irreversible Edema

  • Protein enriched edema which does not decrease with elevation/nights rest.
  • Connective and scar tissue formation (i.e. fibrosis). Fibrosclerotic changes.
  • Non pitting edema, strong pressure is able to produce pitting.
  • Edema becomes hard. Indentions are difficult to make.


Precautions and Guidelines

  • Maintain a well balanced diet, with low sodium intake. Keep a healthy weight, avoid obesity. Good nutritional guidelines are provided by the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.
  • Keep the affected arm or leg, clean, and well moisturized. Lotion should be at a relatively low pH balance. The goal is to prevent skin breakdown.
  • Use antibacterial and hypo-allergenic soap when washing.
  • Avoid injections, vaccinations, flu shots, blood draws and IV lines in the affected extremity. Remember, if this is an emergency, it is more important to treat the patient than to worry about putting an IV in the affected arm.
  • If at all possible, avoid having blood pressure taken in the affected arm.
  • Many people enjoy having a manicure. There is always a risk with this but you can decrease your risk by keeping your cuticles moist with lotion and push them back instead of cutting them. You could also consider buying your own manicure set and have the salon use only your tools.
  • When cleaning the house, wear a good quality rubber glove when handling harsh chemicals such as ammonia, bleach, furniture polish, abrasive cleansers etc.
  • Avoid using a razor or depilatory creams for the armpit or leg hair. The safest tool would be an electric razor.
  • When cooking, wear long protective mitts (to the elbow) when taking food out of the oven and when boiling a pot of hot water.
  • It is important to avoid pet scratches, insect bites, spider bites etc. Using an insect repellent may be necessary but remember some brands are very harsh. Look for a natural insect repellent if possible.
  • Avoid sunburn at all cost! Especially if you have received radiation therapy.
  • Be aware of items that can cause a burn such as a curling iron, an iron, space heaters etc.
  • Avoid saunas, hot tubs, and hot showers. Avoid extreme temperatures, very cold or very hot.
  • Avoid lifting or moving heavy objects.
  • Avoid tight fitting clothing or jewelry.
  • Exercise, and be knowledgeable of how exercise effects the lymphedema.
  • Check your skin daily, and call your physician immediately if you notice any adverse changes in your lymphedematous body part or if you have fever and redness.


Additional Precautions for Leg Lymphedema

  • Proper shoe wear is essential in avoiding blisters and ingrown toenails, avoid high-heeled shoes.
  • Do not walk bare foot, especially outside.
  • Get all fungal infections treated immediately.
  • Do not receive injections to remove varicose veins in the affected leg.

This information is for educational purposes only. This information should not be used without consultation with your healthcare professional. If you have questions regarding the material or its application, seek professional assistance from your provider. This information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace healthcare professional consultation.


breast cancer physical therapy

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2017

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There were 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2012 worldwide. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are providing this helpful information, facts and statistics about breast cancer.

What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast divide and grow without their normal control. Tumors in the breast tend to grow slowly. By the time a lump is large enough to feel, it may have been growing for as long as 10 years. (Some tumors are aggressive and grow much faster.) Between 50-75 percent of breast cancers begin in the milk ducts, about 10-15 percent begin in the lobules and a few begin in other breast tissues [4].

Learn more about breast anatomy.

Non-invasive breast cancer – ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) occurs when abnormal cells grow inside the milk ducts, but have not spread to nearby tissue or beyond. The term “in situ” means “in place.” With DCIS, the abnormal cells are still inside the ducts. DCIS is a non-invasive breast cancer. You may also hear the terms “pre-invasive” or “pre-cancerous” to describe DCIS. Although DCIS is non-invasive, without treatment, it can develop into invasive breast cancer.

Learn more about DCIS and the risk of invasive breast cancer.

Learn about treatment for DCIS.

Did you know?
In 2017, it’s estimated that among U.S. women there will be*:

  • 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer
  • 40,610 breast cancer deaths
  • 50,000 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ, a non-invasive breast cancer

There are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today. Thanks in part to Susan G. Komen’s investment in research in early detection and treatment, breast cancer mortality (death) in women in the U.S. declined by 38 percent from 1989-2014 [1].

*American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2017.

Content provided by Susan G. Komen. For more information visit the Susan G. Komen website by clicking here.