Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The debilitating arm and shoulder disability and pain that some women who have had breast cancer surgery experience as a side effect of their surgery can be reduced by following a physiotherapy-led exercise programme after their operation, a new study has found.

Woman holding her shoulder in pain

Key findings:

  • Results of the clinical trial show significant improvement for women taking part in a structured exercise programme following breast cancer surgery
  • Non-reconstructive breast cancer surgeries, such as mastectomy and treatments to the axilla (armpit), often leave patients with debilitating arm and shoulder problems
  • With 85% of women now surviving for five years after breast cancer, there is a need to support women recovering from breast cancer treatments

Led by the University of Warwick, an international team of researchers, including a team from the Centre for Rehabilitation Research (RRIO) at Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS), described an improvement in shoulder and arm mobility and reduction in pain amongst women who were recovering after non-reconstructive breast cancer surgery after taking part in the structured PROSPER rehabilitation programme.

Published in The BMJ, the study authors are calling for wider adoption of the PROSPER programme in cancer services to improve the wellbeing of women recovering from breast cancer surgery. The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the research partner of the NHS, public health and social care. 

Read the full story on the NDORMS website

Similar stories

Review highlights risk factors associated with violence in schizophrenia

Researchers at Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry have found that people with schizophrenia and related disorders are at higher-than-average risk of perpetrating violence, but that the overall risk remains low (less than 1 in 20 in women, and less than 1 in 4 for men over a 35-year period for violent arrests and crimes).

An estimated 1.2 million people died in 2019 from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections

First comprehensive analysis of global impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) estimates resistance itself caused 1.27 million deaths in 2019 - more deaths than HIV/AIDS or malaria - and that antimicrobial-resistant infections played a role in 4.95 million deaths.

Attention and memory deficits persist for months after recovery from mild Covid

Researchers from Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology and Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences have shown that people who have had Covid but don’t complain of long Covid symptoms in daily life nevertheless can show degraded attention and memory for up to 6-9 months.

Plaster cast or metal pins to treat a broken wrist? The results are in.

An Oxford study published in The BMJ has found the use of metal K-wires (commonly known as ‘pins’) to hold broken wrist bones in place while they heal are no better than a traditional moulded plaster cast.

New book expands the horizons of brain research

A pioneering book from Professor Zoltán Molnár and Yale Professors Tamas Horvath and Joy Hirsch to be released on 1 February 2022 addresses the fundamental relationship between the body, brain and behaviour.

New research sheds light on how ultrasound could be used to treat psychiatric disorders

A new study in macaque monkeys has shed light on which parts of the brain support credit assignment processes (how the brain links outcomes with its decisions) and, for the first time, how low-intensity transcranial ultrasound stimulation (TUS) can modulate both brain activity and behaviours related to these decision-making and learning processes.