Breast Cancer Rehabilitation

The role of exercise rehabilitation is becoming increasingly important in cancer care

Years of research have provided a significant body of evidence showing that exercise rehabilitation, in conjunction with standard cancer treatments, is one of the best interventions available to people diagnosed with cancer.

Staying physically and emotionally healthy is a very important aspect of cancer care, as research shows that this aids in the long- term recovery and reintegration of patients back into their normal lives. Exercise during and after treatment has also been shown to help patients tolerate cancer therapies better as well as heal faster. As a result, patients are able to live more, tolerate more, and generally do more both during and after their treatments.

What is the Pinc Cancer Rehabilitation Program?

  • A specialised rehabilitation program delivered by specially qualified Physiotherapist, dedicated to improving the strength and quality of life of people diagnosed with cancer 
  • An individual exercise based cancer rehabilitation program, dedicated to helping people maximise their recovery and regain physical strength and endurance, while improving body confidence and control
  • A program suitable to anyone who has undergone any type of cancer surgery or treatment. The program accommodates all ages, fitness levels and mobility
  • Designed to work with clients immediately post- diagnosis, before treatment has begun, and through all stages of treatment. Some patients require rehabilitation many years after the initial treatment and the program is designed to accomodate this
  • We focus is on individual needs, including:
    • Finding out what matters to the patient
    • Providing support to the patient as a whole person, and not just the area affected by cancer
  • Can be preventative, restorative, supportive and/or palliative

Services include

Hands on physiotherapy

Strength and conditioning training

Individualised clinical pilates

Fatigue management

Integration back to work and into exercise classes, gym or sport

Scar management

Breathing techniques and education

Semi-private exercise sessions

Exercise prescription


Phases of Treatment

Pre-op phase: designed to help patients before their cancer treatment begins with a pre-op assessment and education to identify any factors that may affect recovery from surgery and return to work/ function.  A pre- op treatment plan will be devised for each individual which may include specific exercises to strengthen muscles and improve stamina, education and functional guidance

Post-op phase:  designed to assist in the healing process of patients who are recently post surgery or post intervention.  Aim to restore strength and flexibility to particular joints and muscle groups that have become weak and inflexible as a result of surgery.  It incorporates breathing techniques and gentle modified exercises to maximise recovery from surgery, education and functional guidance for home and work

Treatment phase: designed to help improve energy levels and maintain health during cancer treatments to reduce the impact on physical functioning, overall conditioning and wellbeing.  It aims to help patients manage fatigue, flexibility, strength and stamina to reduce time off work, muscle wasting and functional impairment. In addition to focusing on stretching and strengthening exercises for the upper and lower extremities, it contains workouts for improving abdominal strength and spinal stability, education about fatigue management, pacing, home and work based modifications and cardiovascular exercise

Fitness/ Survivorship phase:  designed to facilitate overall conditioning and to increase physical stamina after medical treatment is completed.  Aims to improve cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility to increase endurance, elevate the metabolism, improve muscle tone and body composition.  The exercise selection focuses on improving physical functioning to maximise recovery to return to work, and live as fully and productively as possible. Education on fatigue management, return to work and encouraging good exercise habits for life. 

Groups: Pinc and Steel exercise programs have been specifically developed to meet the needs of cancer survivors who have reached a level of health and fitness that allows them to take part in supportive small group programs.

Restoring health is much more than removing disease.

Who am I and why do I do this?

Melissa Golan is the director of the Pinc Program at Elite Spinal. She is a Physiotherapist who has undertaken postgraduate training in the area of breast cancer rehabilitation and strength conditioning. Melissa also has personal experience with recovering from cancer prevention surgery. 

Melissa’s experience: 

I am a BRCA2+ gene mutation carrier and have had two surgeries related to this diagnosis.  While my surgeries have been preventative, I understand the fear that can come with a diagnosis (or waiting for a diagnosis), as well as the pain and limitations that come during surgical recovery.  I know first hand how beneficial physiotherapy and exercise (especially Pilates!) can be to patients with cancer and, given my personal medical history, I both empathise with my patients and can help guide them along the road to post-operative and post-treatment recovery.

I am inspired to help people with a current or past diagnosis of cancer regain their physical strength, stamina and incorporate exercise into their lifestyle.

What to Expect

  • Each patient is assessed individually for physical impairments and the effect of their treatment in a one on one session with Melissa in one of our private treatment rooms
  • Telehealth is available if a patient is unable to get to the clinic for any reason
  •  A rehabilitation program is then created to suit the particular stage of recovery.  
  • Sessions can include a combination of services such as manual physiotherapy, graduated resistance training, individualised clinical pilates, fatigue management and exercise prescription