Breast Cancer Rehabilitation
How Does Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Help?
Did you know that a physiotherapist can help with your recovery during or after cancer treatment to ease pain and improve your movement? Breast cancer survivors who have undergone various treatments may continue to suffer from different physical side effects during their journey to recovery.
A specialist physiotherapist will perform a comprehensive assessment and design a treatment plan based the individual needs of the patient. One of the major objectives of cancer rehabilitation is optimising physical function. This rehabilitation programme will help you recover quicker by using soft tissue release techniques combined with a specifically designed exercise programme that will help you adapt to your situation.
Breast Cancer Related Complications
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, please discuss with your specialist whether you may be affected by these complications:
- Post-surgical scarring and tightness due to lumpectomy with axillary dissection, mastectomy, or breast reconstruction
- Soft tissue contracture from radiation therapy
- Decreased movement or function of upper arm, shoulder, upper back and neck region
- Neuropathic pain from chemotherapy
Designing a Rehabilitation Plan to Suit Your Needs
We design holistic rehabilitation programmes that address patients’ concerns, from the physical ability to pain management. Once the wound is stable, shoulder and arm rehabilitation exercises are introduced under one-on-one supervised sessions to gradually restore range and muscle strength, scar tissue restrictions and cording in the arms is assessed and soft tissue release techniques are taught and administered. Scar tissue massage can benefit wound healing from axillary dissection (common in invasive breast cancer when the procedure accompanies a mastectomy), which may otherwise lead to shoulder tightness and discomfort. Patients will be reassessed regularly to ensure the progress of the treatment and detect any early signs of lymphedema (accumulation of lymph in soft tissue).
- Medical history review and planning of cancer treatment pathway
- Shoulder and spinal range of motion
- Muscle strength of shoulder and arm
- Scar and skin condition
- Sensation of shoulder and arm
- Any signs of lymphedema
Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Services & Advice
- Range of motion exercise for shoulder and related areas
- Graded strengthening exercise
- Core strengthening (for TRAM flap reconstruction)
- Joint, soft tissue and scar mobilisation
- Desensitisation technique for neuropathic pain
- Lymphatic management includes positional drainage, manual lymphatic drainage and educational advice
- Endurance exercise prescription plan and lifestyle advice
- Goal setting according to lifestyle needs
A Customised Plan to Suit Your Needs
Breast cancer patients or post-cancer patients may start the programme anytime after their surgeon or medical specialist considers it safe to proceed. The treatment plan will be adjusted according to their individual condition, current treatment regimen, and advice from their specialist. As a norm, this treatment programme may be conducted for a duration of 4 to 6 weeks with the frequency of one or two visits per week, or up to a few months depending on individual progress.