Gwyneth is a full-time Pilates teacher, health coach, and cancer exercise specialist. She worked for 13 years as an associate specialist in the breast surgery unit at the Belfast City Hospital. She worked as a breast surgeon performing operations for the treatment of breast cancer and was closely involved in the care of women having a breast reconstruction and was often in theatre assisting with these procedures.
In 1955, Eva Gentry, a dancer, and disciple of Joseph Pilates had a radical mastectomy for the treatment of breast cancer. Pilates assisted her recovery following surgery and she regained a full range of movement and strength in her upper body, astounding her doctors. Eva went on to be the co-founder of The Institute for Pilates Method and remained active until her death aged 84 years in 1994. Thankfully breast surgery has evolved over time to become much less radical. Breast reconstruction techniques using body flaps or implants to reconstruct the breast are now widely used and new techniques using lipomodelling and acellular dermal matrices giving improved cosmetic results have become commonplace throughout the UK in recent years.
In 2015, it was estimated that there were 691,000 women living in the UK following a diagnosis of breast cancer. 86% of all women diagnosed with breast cancer survive for more than 5 years. Some of these women may turn up at your Pilates class, and even after many years may still be experiencing problems as a result of their breast cancer treatment.
Gwyneth’s hands-on experience of breast surgery allows her to give a detailed explanation of these procedures, enabling a greater understanding of how surgery impacts on movement for breast cancer survivors.
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