Breast Cancer Recovery : How Can A Cancer Trained Physio Help Me

Most of us know someone who has suffered from breast cancer as it is one of the most common forms of cancers in Australia.

With advanced medicine there are really great treatments with fantastic outcomes now.

People are more likely to diagnose and treat breast cancer early with screening processes which helps with quicker recovery times.

To help someone diagnosed with breast cancer treatment involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and or hormone therapy which have their own side effects

Side Effects From Chemotherapy And Radiation

  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Muscle pains and aches
  • Mouth, gum, and throat sores
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Skin Changes
  • Weight Changes
  • Hair Loss
  • Deconditioning from surgery
  • Loss on movement and pain around surgical site

How Can A Cancer Trained Physiotherapist Help Me?

It’s important that you get the support you deserve from close friends, family and your medical and allied health team.

Your cancer physiotherapist can help overcome specific conditions related to your breast cancer treatments and help manage side effects.

Some specific conditions include

  • AWS (cording)
  • Post op issues such as  joint and muscles inflammation, range of motion limitations and pain
  • Scar thickening
  • CIPN (chemo induced peripheral neuropathy)
  • Muscle deconditioning
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Compensatory injuries and postural pain
  • Rotator cuff dysfunction
  • Shoulder girdle pain
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction and weakness
  • Abdominal wall weakness
  • Fatigue conditions
  • Upper and Low back pain

What Will Physiotherapy Consultations Involve

Your sessions with the physio will involve a personalised approach with your goals in mind.

Whether this is getting back to work, returning to sport or just being able to dress yourself without pain around your cancer site.

Your physio will be able to help you overcome this with 1:1 sessions.

They will be able to help with

  • Regaining strength, flexibility, range of motion and confidence in their body
  • Improve fatigue, core strength and posture
  • Help ease pain and muscular tension
  • Teach you what exercises they can do to enhance your own recovery after surgery and prevent long term problems
  • Help increase energy levels during and after cancer treatments
  • Provide an individualized, safe training program to improve their general health and fitness and help them achieve personal health goals.

What To Expect On Your First Visit With Your Cancer Trained Physio?

In your first session, you can expect to be greeted by your friendly physio.

They will ask you some more questions about

  • The type of cancer you have
  • Current/ past treatments i.e. chemo or radiation
  • Side effects and medication
  • If you have had surgery
  • Your sleep pattern and fatigue
  • Your activity levels
  • If you are working and how this affects your work day
  • Any aches or pains caused by either surgery, your cancer or medications
  • Your goals that you want to work towards

After this your physio may do one or a combination of

  • Hands on treatment to get your pain levels down (i.e. massage and mobilisations)
  • Scar release and stretching movements to help post surgery
  • Advice on sleeping, managing fatigue, activity modifications
  • Education on managing side effects from cancer treatments
  • Specific exercises to help your condition including stretches for pain relief
  • Reformer or home pilates


It is never too early or late to start working with a cancer trained physio who will be able to help you return to doing the things you love.

If you would like to book in with our cancer physio Zeenia, book online here or call us on  (08) 8356 1379.

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