Doctors make every effort to ensure that women with breast cancer can return to their usual activities as soon as possible. The recovery period varies for each woman, depending on the stage of the disease, the type of treatment and other factors.
After the operation, the woman’s arm and shoulder exercise helps this region regain strength and movement; reduces pain and muscle stiffness in the back and neck. Special exercises usually start a few days after the tubes that are placed under the skin and drained during the surgery and drain the accumulated blood and lymph fluid are removed. Exercises start slowly and for short periods, and can be done even in bed. It is mostly performed under the supervision of an experienced physiotherapist. As time passes, the quality and duration of the exercises can be increased. Regular exercise turns into a woman’s daily routine in the following period.
Women who have had a mastectomy or breast reconstruction should do the specific exercises their doctor will explain.
Doing exercises frequently and placing the arm on the pillow prevents or reduces lymphedema (swelling in the hand, arm and forearm) that may occur after surgery. Information about prevention and treatment of lymphedema is explained in the “Side Effects” section.