Breast Cancer Therapy

Rehab is a key part of your treatment success.

Rehab addresses potential side effects of breast cancer treatment, such as lymphedema, cording, decreased endurance and joint stiffness. For most patients, your rehab begins the day after surgery.

Goals of Breast Cancer Rehab

Breast cancer rehab helps to:

  • Reduce the impact of treatment, including chording and lymphedema
  • Restore sensation
  • Provide emotional support
  • Improve the odds of successful treatment
  • Accelerate healing and ability for normal activities
  • Overcome symptoms such as pain, unsteadiness, fatigue, scar tissue restriction and numbness


At UC San Diego Health, you'll be able to recover quickly and safely thanks to a skilled, interdisciplinary rehabilitation team. Your therapist works closely with your oncologists to ensure effective and targeted care. 


Exercise following surgery is essential for re-educating muscles, restoring movement and decreasing side effects. Our breast cancer rehab center is unique to San Diego in that it sees patients for exercise after their operation.


Immediately following surgery, your doctor will order occupational therapy (OT). Physical therapy (PT) may be prescribed if balance and endurance issues arise.


You can enhance your recovery by:

  1. Always discussing your goals openly with your doctor
    Each patient has different needs, and sharing these from the get-go will help improve your overall experience.
  2. Educating yourself
    What kind of breast cancer do you have? What treatment(s) are available to you? It’s important that you ask a lot of questions so you know what your options are.
  3. Being proactive about your health
    Health conditions such as lymphedema can occur several years after breast cancer treatment. Being conscious of changes in your body and having routine check-ups is essential in maintaining health.


Patient Education

More about the roles of OT and PT in breast cancer rehab, and information on cording and lymphedema