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  • Occupational Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
Hours: 3 Contact Hours
  • Elizabeth D. DeIuliis, OTD, OTR/L
  • Shannon Hellested, MOT, OTR/L, CLT
Peer Reviewer(s): Robin Newman, OTD, OTR/L, CLT, CDRS
Item#: I6375
Contents: 1 Course Book ( pages)
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Breast Cancer: The Role of Occupational Therapists

Price $29.95
Item # I6375
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date - November 29, 2016

Expiration Date: November 29, 2019

There are various effective therapeutic approaches that can be utilized with breast cancer survivors. Due to the physical and psychological effects of these treatments, there is a need for a therapeutic approach that focuses on the effect that this experience has on one’s psychosocial function and overall occupational performance. Cancer diagnosis and treatment can impose multiple degrees of physical and psychological strain on an individual. Physical deficits, such as lack of upper-body function related to postoperative pain, lymphedema, and decreased sensation and range of motion are common sequale after treatment for breast cancer. The repercussions associated with chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery can result in the inability to engage in meaningful occupations, return to work, or perform prior social roles and responsibilities adequately. Further, such repercussions can have a profound impact on one’s economic status and level of social functioning, which affects their overall occupational performance.

This intermediate course provides a critical review of current evidence to ensure occupational therapy practitioners are adequately prepared to provide the best care possible within the breast cancer population. Upon fulfilling the course objectives, practitioners will be prepared to develop an evidence-based approach to the evaluation and treatment of individuals with breast cancer throughout the pre-operative, post-operative and community phases of recovery.

AOTA Content Focus - Domain of OT: Client Factors;  Occupational Therapy Process: Evaluation & Intervention



0.3 AOTA CEUs are awarded upon successful completion of this course.


Course Objectives

  • Describe the prevalence, incidence, and impact of different types of breast cancer on health and wellness.
  • Identify common nonsurgical and surgical treatments for breast cancer and postsurgical presentations.
  • Explain lymphedema and its impact on recovery following breast cancer treatment.
  • Discuss the unique role of the occupational therapy practitioner in working with  individuals with breast cancer.
  • Describe the occupational therapy evaluation process for clients with breast cancer.
  • Apply occupational therapy interventions to a case study to promote occupational performance.


Elizabeth Dwyer DeIuliis, OTD, OTR/L, is the assistant department chair, director of clinical and community education, and academic fieldwork coordinator at Duquesne University’s Department of Occupational Therapy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has more than 12 years of clinical experience and maintains an occupational therapy practitioner role at Centers for Rehab Services at UPMC Shadyside Hospital. Her clinical experience is primarily in acute care, hospital-based rehabilitation, and during her occupational therapy doctorate program from Chatham University, she created an evidence-based occupational therapy program for individuals who had breast cancer-related surgery. Dr. DeIuliis has presented at national and regional conferences and co-authored an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) fact sheet and a clinically based article for OT Practice on occupational therapy and breast cancer. She is an active member of AOTA and the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA) and is a subject matter expert for the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).
Shannon Hellested, MOT, OTR/L, CLT, is a home health occupational therapist. She became a certified lymphedema therapist in 2008 through Klose Training and Consulting. Her clinical experience is primarily in outpatient lymphedema, wound care, and home health. She has been a consultant for the makers of a sequential pneumatic lymphedema compression pump, and she has served as a consultant research therapist for the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Occupational Therapy.


Robin Newman, OTD, OTR/L, CLT, CDRS, is a clinical assistant professor of occupational therapy at Boston University in the College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College. She has specialty certification in lymphedema therapy and driver rehabilitation. She has extensive experience working with cancer survivors and adults living with neurological disorders. Her research focuses on cancer survivorship, with an emphasis on the late effects of cancer treatments and their impact on occupational performance.

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.