The role of therapeutic exercises in rehabilitation in breast cancer

Physical exercises positively affect all metabolic processes and improve the function of blood and lymphatic systems. They also increase the tone of the nervous system, stimulate the function of endocrine glands, improve metabolic processes etc. 

Therapeutic exercises play an especially important role in rehabilitation of patients during and following the breast cancer treatment. Exercise therapy is first used already at the preoperative stage of treatment to improve the adaptation to physical activity, reducing the rate of postoperative complications.

In the early postoperative period (1-3 days after surgery) it is possible to avoid pulmonary congestion, thrombosis, and limb embolism, as well as to improve blood and lymph flow and fluid drainage from the surgical wound via the draining tubes with help of special exercises. At this stage, the prophylaxis of shoulder joint stiffness and upper limb lymphostasis are performed. 

In the delayed postoperative period (4-7 days after surgery) it is important to do physical exercises to maintain muscular tone of the upper shoulder girdle (arms, upper thoracic and cervical spine). It is also crucial to do exercises to prevent the limitation of the range of arm movement, as well as upper limb swelling. 

In the recovery and training periods it is important to design the set of therapeutic exercises individually for each patient. The consequences of breast surgery are not the only ones to be considered along with the comorbidities of the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems, previous traumas etc. Supervision by a rehabilitation specialist plays a key role in these periods to timely identify and eliminate disorders of the shoulder joint or the onset of early lymphostasis

Breathing exercises are strongly advised at all stages of rehabilitation.