PUTNAM COUNTY, N.Y. – Dr. Angela Keleher of Health Quest Cancer Care firmly believes in the benefits of massage therapy. She even thinks breast cancer patients can see relief through massage.
“Previous studies have shown that massage after surgery can help reduce anxiety, lessen fatigue and improve feelings of wellness. We want to determine if massage before breast surgery offers similar benefits.” said Dr. Keleher, who was recently awarded a $15,500 research grant to study the potential benefits of massage before breast surgery. Keleher was recently named a Breast Cancer Champion by Yoplait and the American Cancer Society, which awarded the grant.
Dr. Keleher, the director of Breast Surgery for Health Quest, said she will examine the data to determine if massage can be a beneficial part of preoperative procedure.
“We believe that if people have a good attitude about surgery, they are going to have better outcomes,” Dr. Keleher said. “If something as simple as massage can not only help people through this scary process but also aid in their recovery, that’s a win-win.”
Only 14 “champions” from the United States were selected from the United States for their efforts to fight breast cancer. Dr. Keleher was awarded the largest sum. The Dyson Center for Cancer Care at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, which is part of the Health Quest system and where Dr. Keleher is employed, has been offering therapeutic massage to its patients since 2006.
Dr. Keleher also encouraged women to be aware of a new law in New York that requires notifications if a mammogram shows dense breast tissue. Women who get those notifications should speak with her physician.
“Women with dense breast tissue have a lifetime risk of breast cancer three to four times higher than women who do not have dense breasts,” Keleher said. “Because dense breast tissue is more difficult for us to see through clearly, we want to be sure we are not missing signs of breast cancer.”
Depending on individual risk factors, a physician may recommend a screening ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in addition to a yearly mammogram.
“Every woman deserves a realistic understanding of her risk for breast cancer,” Dr. Keleher says. “We use accredited technology to calculate a woman’s risk based on a number of factors. This concrete data not only helps us determine the most appropriate tests going forward but can also ease patients’ minds.”
To learn more and meet via video the providers of Health Quest Cancer Care who practice at Putnam Hospital Center, Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Northern Dutchess Hospital and Health Quest Medical Practice, visit www.health-quest.org/cancer and www.youtube.com/myhealthquest .