Physiotherapy post breast cancer

Specialty of Physical therapy

What is the postoperative physiotherapy of breast cancer?

After any surgery, it is important to do exercises to help the body return to full functionality. In many cases, the doctor may recommend that the patient see a physiotherapist.

Breast cancer surgery is no different. Whether the patient has had a breast biopsy, a lumpectomy, a mastectomy, lymph node removal, breast reconstruction, or a combination of these, the surgery can affect the body in a number of ways.

Postoperative physiotherapy treats these problems, helping to restore mobility through a number of exercises.

Why is it done?

Surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments performed on women with breast cancer can cause alterations in their mobility and quality of life, for example:

  • Pain, stiffness, and/or weakness in the arm and shoulder, limiting movement
  • Difficulty breathing deeply
  • Difficulty carrying out everyday tasks like getting dressed or brushing your hair

Physiotherapy exercises are fundamental in recovering mobility of the arm and shoulder and reducing or eliminating pain.

What does physiotherapy after breast cancer consist of?

Physical therapy after breast cancer consists of simple exercises, focused in general on recovering the mobility of the arm and shoulder. The type of exercises may vary depending on the patient and the surgery performed. They may include:

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Holding the arm out in front and opening and closing the hand
  • Stretch and pressure exercises of the shoulder blade
  • Chest walls stretches
  • Shoulder stretches

Some exercises can only be performed when the stitches have been removed. Patients should always follow the advice of their doctor or physiotherapist about what exercises they should do and how often.