Profile of Eryka Callaghan

Profile of Eryka Callaghan


Since graduating Eryka Callaghan has thoroughly immersed herself in working in women’s health. She has taken several courses on rehabilitation of breast cancer treatments and surgeries and has become a Vodder Certified Lymphedema Therapist. She currently works at Breast Rehab, which is a team of health professionals dedicated to empowering their patients to reclaim their quality of life after breast surgeries and oncology treatments. Their team includes physiotherapists, kinesiologists, massage therapists, lymphedema therapists, psychotherapists, dietitians and pelvic health experts who all work together to help people who help people who have breast cancer, various types of breast surgeries, gender affirmation surgery, lymphedema and other similar conditions.

Eryka finds that Breast Rehab is unique for both the type of care they offer, and the team of talented professionals who work there, which is why she wanted to join the team.

“With my previous experience working in cancer care and my passion for women’s health, I jumped at the opportunity to work at Breast Rehab,” Eryka said. “It is an honour to help people through some of the scariest times of their lives.”

Due to the focus of the clinic, Eryka has experienced a variety of differences in the types of patients she sees. One of the significant differences is that the majority of patients are living with cancer. Another is the high percentage of patients with lymphedema, as well as how those experiences impact those patients.

“An altered lymphatic system can really complicate treatments, so being a Certified Lymphedema Therapist is essential,” Eryka said. “We also are dealing with a higher level of patients experiencing major distress or trauma than other clinic experiences I have had.”

All health professionals at Breast Rehab often work closely together to help ensure positive patient outcomes.  Massage therapy can play a key role in patients’ recovery after breast surgery by reducing pain and edema, increasing relaxation, improving range of motion, and helping with scar healing. Breast Rehab has a variety of effective strategies to help their health professionals work together to effectively treat their mutual patients.

“One of the best strategies implemented at Breast Rehab is the regular training sessions and updates. Every month or so we have a training session, webinar or open ‘forum’ where we talk over new strategies, refresh our skills or learn about new treatments available,” Eryka said. “We also have a weekly huddle where we can all talk about anything new we have experienced or ask any questions that have come up.”

There are a variety of other factors that Eryka believes makes Breast Rehab a unique and positive place to work. In addition to being one of the few clinics in Canada focusing on breast cancer recovery, Eryka finds that the skilled, dedicated team focusing on a holistic approach to help them patients helps make Breast Rehab different than anywhere else she’s worked.

“All of our team are kind, dedicated people who genuinely want to help improve our patients’ quality of life,” Eryka said.  “We embrace a holistic approach that not only aids in recovery, but focuses on proactive preventative care as well.”

Through her experiences at Breast Rehab, Eryka learned several important factors to consider when treating people who have had breast surgery, that might be different than treating other patients. One important consideration is that most people who have experienced breast surgery also experience some level of trauma. It can be trauma related to cancer, body dysmorphia or genetic predisposition to illness. It’s important to continuously check in and reaffirm consent, as well as be mindful of how you interact with patients in general.

“These traumas can cause a whole host of symptoms, emotional and physical,” Eryka said. “So being kind, patient and paying attention to body language and comfort are key to making your patient feel relaxed enough to get the best out of therapy.”

A lot of what Eryka has learned in working at the Breast Clinic, she believes can apply to RMTs working in other multidisciplinary teams. She had gotten the opportunity to see how so many other health professionals work and how RMTs can work hand in hand with them to improve patient outcomes. She has found that clear communication with her colleagues has ultimately benefited her patients.

“My biggest piece of advice is to ask questions. Everyone has their own experience and comes from their own different training.” Eryka said. “I am always surprised at how many times a different perspective from a colleague has resulted in an improved treatment for my patient.”

Eryka has previous experience in cancer care and a passion for women’s health. She was honored to be able to join the team at Breast Care and help people through some of the scariest times of their lives. She hopes that her experiences will inspire other RMTs who are interested in similar environments or want to work more closely with multidisciplinary teams to be able to offer their patients the best possible care.

Tags: profile, member profile, breast massage, benefits of massage therapy