Breast Cancer Rehabilitation

Woman with Pink Ribbon

A diagnosis of breast cancer can turn your world upside down.

Breast cancer rehabilitation is designed to assist men and women through their treatment and recovery. The goals are:

  • maximize physical recovery through regaining strength and mobility

  • reduce treatment related fatigue

  • reduce pain and muscular tension

  • provide a personalized progressive exercise program to allow you to regain control and return back to life

When to begin treatment?

Every person is different, and each journey is unique.

  1. Pre-operatively: a pre-operative assessment can determine where you are at today, and what goals we can aim for once surgery is completed. The assessment allows for baseline measures to be taken that can useful in the future to monitor for conditions such as lymphedema.

  2. Post-operatively: whether you have undergone a mastectomy, lumpectomy, reconstruction or implant, there will be an assessment of your mobility and exercise prescription to regain mobility and strength

  3. Adjuvant to active cancer treatment (while undergoing chemotherapy or radiation) or subsequent to all therapy being completed. Focusing on reducing muscle mass, improving energy, and implementing graded exercise.

Strength After Breast Cancer (SABC)


An evidence-based rehabilitative exercise program for breast cancer survivors. This supervised program follows research from the Physical Activity and Lymphedema (PAL) trial that demonstrated the safety of weight based resistance exercise in breast cancer patients with lymphedema and those at-risk of developing lymphedema.

What is the Strength After Breast Cancer program?

1. Physiotherapy Initial Assessment and lymphedema screen and education

2. 4 supervised 1-on-1 sessions over 4 week period

3. Participant time dedication:  2 days a week (1 in clinic , 1 at home ~ 45 minutes)

3. Exercise booklet and logging

Am I eligible?

This intervention has been approved for:

  • Breast cancer survivors: during treatment or finished treatment

  • Any age

  • Persons who do not have metastatic disease

Have you been diagnosed with lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a side-effect of breast cancer treatment in some patients. It involves swelling in the arm on the side of the breast cancer treatment. This swelling can occur soon after surgery or many years later, but it has been found that generally most women will develop lymphedema within 4 years of their breast cancer treatment.

The gold standard treatment for lymphedema is Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT for short). For more information on this treatment click here.


For more information on local practitioners and services for cancer survivors visit Kamloops Cancer Connections.

For more information on lymphedema visit the BC Cancer Website.