Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, with 1 in 9 women being diagnosed at some point in their life. Many will undergo surgery as part of their treatment, which may involve removal of part or all of the breast tissue. Subsequent breast reconstruction surgery is then frequently undertaken. This surgery, although essential, may lead to problems such as shoulder and neck stiffness, muscle weakness, nerve-related problems and swelling [lymphedema].
The Pink Ribbon Post-operative Rehabilitation Program at Enliven Health, is a Physiotherapist-led exercise pathway, specially designed for the client who has had surgical treatment for breast cancer. It aims to help recovery and return to normal function after surgery. Exercise may help with stiffness, it increases muscle strength and endurance, and may also help with cancer-related symptoms such as fatigue, swelling and low mood, making the journey through treatment more effective and tolerable.
Alexandra Chapman is a qualified Pink Ribbon Post-Operative Rehabilitation Instructor, who has undertaken specialist training in the treatment of breast cancer survivors.
Once you have been given the “all-clear” by your Consultant to begin exercise, the program will involve an initial assessment, where your Physiotherapist will measure your range of movement, muscle strength and degree of swelling as appropriate. During this session your specific needs will be identified, according to your current treatment status and surgical procedure undertaken.
During your assessment, an appropriate treatment pathway and your specific goals will be discussed with you. It may be more appropriate for you to have 1:1 rehabilitation sessions to begin with, before entering a class, or you may wish to start the class program straight away.
The class structure will include 6 weekly 1hour exercise sessions. You will start as a complete beginner and each class will gradually be progressed until you have completed the 6 week course. You will then have another assessment session to determine your level of progress.
Once you have completed the early stage 6 week rehabilitation program you will then have the option of continuing onto an intermediate and then onto an advanced 6 week rehabilitation program. You will also be provided with a home exercise program to complete at home, which is specific to your requirements.
NEW EARLY STAGE PROGRAM TO START IN JANUARY 2018 - For further information or to make an enquiry please contact us directly.
"Although I was diligent in performing the exercises given to me by my Breast Care Nurse after surgery for breast cancer, both in 2014 and 2015, these exercises only took me so far in recovering my range of movement. I was aware of the Pink Ribbon programme, but sadly there was no one in this area offering the service at that time, so finding a physio-led service had come to Bedfordshire/Buckinghamshire is fantastic news. Alex from Enliven Health did a thorough assessment of my limitations due to surgery and developed a programme that has enabled me to improve my range of movement and regain some of the lost functionality. This programme is delivered through her Pink Ribbon specific classes at her lovely studio in Aspley Guise, and with exercises to perform at home with accompanying video instructions. Alex understands that issues from cancer treatment such as fatigue and joint pain play a large part in how effectively I can participate in the programme and paces the classes accordingly, while ensuring a gentle progression week by week. I very much look forward to my weekly session with Alex and the benefit of sharing the experience with other breast cancer survivors. This is a much-needed service in our area and I hope clinicians at our local breast units will refer patients to Alex as soon as their important cancer treatment is complete; allowing cancer patients to take their own positive steps towards recovery is of immense benefit to general well-being and improves long-term outcomes."Pink Ribbon Client, 2017