Regular activity is an important part of staying healthy after treatment for breast cancer.Health professionals may suggest that a woman joins an exercise class after treatment for breast cancer, especially if the woman has fatigue.
Exercise is one of the ways of supporting the body to recover after cancer treatment and it’s also a good way of keeping spirits up in the post-treatment period. Studies have shown exercise boosts the immune system and increases energy levels.
Some women are given upper body and arm stretches by a hospital physiotherapist. Doing these regularly in the first few months will help to reduce the arm or shoulder stiffness. Gentle exercise can help both in the prevention and management of lymphoedema.
It’s important to get advice from a health professional before starting a new exercise program and to start slowly and build strength and stamina gradually.
More recent studies have demonstrated promising results suggesting that actively participating in moderate exercise at least 5 times a week can reduce the risk of recurrence from breast cancer.
Tips for maintaining regular exercise
More information about exercise following breast cancer
The Encore program provided through the YWCA is an exercise program specifically for women who have had breast surgery.
Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has a Breast Cancer and Exercise booklet available to help women diagnosed with breast cancer to exercise regularly and can be ordered free-of-charge from BCNA by calling 1800 500 258 or downloaded from www.bcna.org.au.