Diverse group of women wearing pink shirts in recognition of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer rehabilitation

October is breast cancer awareness month


According to the Cancer Council, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Australia (apart from non-melanoma skin cancer). About 20,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia every year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “not merely the absence of disease, but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”.

Cancer treatment may lead to physical and cognitive impairments such as pain, fatigue, lymphoedema, weakness, restricted range of movement, joint pain, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety.

Cancer rehabilitation helps to restore health and well-being for individuals in all stages of cancer.


Self confident young woman combat against oncology looking at camera demonstrate muscles strength symbol


Many studies have shown that cancer rehabilitation:

  1. Improves bone health & reduces the effects of osteopenia/osteoporosis
  2. Lifts mood and reduces feelings of anxiety and depression
  3. Increases muscle strength, joint range of movement and endurance
  4. Improves bowel and bladder function
  5. Improves sleep
  6. Reduces fatigue & improves energy levels
  7. Improves balance
  8. Improves overall quality of life
  9. Reduces the effect of ‘chemo brain’
  10. Assists in the management of peripheral neuropathy
  11. Reduces scar tissue
  12. Assists in pain management
  13. Helps keep you as independent as possible
  14. Assists in the management and prevention of lymphoedema



Lymphoedema is one of the many side effects of cancer surgery and radiotherapy. It is characterised as an abnormal, long-term swelling of parts of the body caused by a collection of lymphatic fluid build-up in the tissues below the skin.

There is no quick fix or cure for lymphoedema, this is a chronic disease that can be managed through manual lymph drainage (MLD), compression garments and prescribed exercises.

Melbourne Hand Rehab Lymphoedema Management Treatment

Research shows that physical activity can reduce the risk of cancer mortality by 37% and can reduce the risk of cancer recurrence by 35%.


Cancer rehabilitation is not just about exercise. It is about helping those with a cancer diagnosis get back to living and doing what is important to them.

Every single person’s cancer is different, even those diagnosed with the same type and stage. People respond differently to treatment and need an individualised rehabilitation programme to suit them.

By Jana van der Merwe

As of October 2023, Lymphoedema Management services are no longer offered by our clinics.


For more information:


If you are experiencing finger, hand or wrist pain, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to help you.



For more information, call us directly on 03 9458 5166


Reference: – Friedenreich, C.M. et al. Physical Activity and Cancer Outcomes: A Precision Medicine Approach (2016) Clin Cancer Res; 22(19) 4766-4775