Did you know that a physiotherapist can help with your recovery during or after cancer treatment to ease pain and maintain muscle function? Breast cancer survivors who have undergone various treatments may continue to suffer from different impairments during their journey to recovery.

Optimising physical function is one of the major objectives of cancer rehabilitation. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, please discuss with your specialist whether you may be affected by these possible complications:

  • Post-surgical scarring and tightness due to lumpectomy with axillary dissection, mastectomy, or breast reconstruction
  • Soft tissue contracture from radiation therapy
  • Decrease functional ability of upper arm, shoulder, upper back and neck region
  • Neuropathic pain from chemotherapy
  • Lymphedema

A specialist physiotherapist will perform a comprehensive assessment and custom design a treatment plan based on the effects of different cancer treatments. This rehabilitation programme will maximise your functional capacity and help with exercise tools to adapt towards the new life ahead.

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We will plan a holistic rehabilitation programme that addresses your concern from 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. Incorporating scar tissue massage can benefit wound healing from axillary dissection (common in invasive breast cancer when the procedures accompanies a mastectomy), which otherwise may lead to shoulder tightness and discomfort. Patients will be reassessed regularly to ensure the progress of the treatment and any early signs of lymphedema (accumulation of lymph in soft tissue).



  • Detailed history 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



  • 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


Breast cancer patients or post-cancer patients may start the programme anytime after the surgeon or medical specialist considers it safe to proceed. Depending on the individual condition and current treatment regime, the treatment plan is adjusted accordingly with advice from your 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.

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