Breast Cancer Rehab for Physiotherapists

Breast Cancer Rehab for Physiotherapists

Overview of the course and biographies of the speakers:

This course is now SOLD OUT please check for upcoming course dates.

We have kept our class size small to allow for individual training in manual therapy techniques and exercise progression for breast cancer patients.

This course will prepare Chartered Physiotherapists to expand their practice to include the rehabilitation of breast cancer patients during and after treatment.

Rehabilitation addresses breast cancer treatment side-effects so patients may experience optimal recovery. This includes after breast surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy and breast reconstruction.

Topics will include asessment and physiotherapy treament of the common side effects including: lymphatic cording, immobile mastectomy and axillary scars, post radiation fibrosis, prevention of secondary lymphedema and cellulitis, post mastectomy pain syndrome, chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, chemobrain and cancer related fatigue.

CPDs: 7.5

Breast cancer rehab skills taught, will include:

Manual therapy for:

  • scar tissue, lymphatic cording and radiation fibrosis, shoulder joint and chest wall issues.

Secondary lymphedema prevention including:

  • screening for early lymphedema
  • screening and management of cellulitis
  • measuring and ordering prophylactic compression gloves and sleeves
  • post surgery and post radiation exercises.

Patient eduaction in:

  • Preventing secondary lymphedema
  • Self manual lymph drainage
  • Progressing exercises and returning safely to fitness and sports.

Course objectives:

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the components of breast cancer treatment and their early side effects that physiotherapists can address.
  2. Assess scar and skin mobility using standardised methods after surgery and radiation and demonstrate 7 soft tissue manual therapy mobilization techniques.
  3. Describe secondary lymphedema, how to do a standardised baseline assessment and how to measure, order and fit prophylactic compression garments.
  4. Describe patient education regarding lymphedema risk reduction strategies.
  5. Understand cellulitis, risk reduction, recognition, medical treatment and implications for physiotherapy.
  6. Describe the effects of radiotherapy on healthy bone and soft tissue and the precautions for physio and exercise progression.
  7. Identify, assess and mobilise more than 10 types of cords and demonstrate the relevant manual therapy techniques and exercises.
  8. Understand post mastectomy pain syndrome and the latest treatment approaches.
  9. Describe the changes in posture and breathing and their re-education.
  10. Describe breast reconstruction choices and post-op physiotherapy and exercise precautions.
  11. Starting and progress exercise throughout breast cancer treatment components, including Aerobic Exercise, Yoga and Pilates and Aquatherapy after surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and breast reconstruction.
  12. Explain chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropthay and falls risk and evidence based exercises.
  13. Describe chemobrain and approaches to exercise for short-term memory rehab.
  14. Know the answers to patients FAQs.
  15. Describe the “Prospective Surveillance Model” and future trends in breast cancer rehab for physiotherapists.


Siobhan O’ Reilly Bracken MISCP MPA CLT MSc PINC, founded The O’ Reilly Centre for Lymphedema, Cancer Rehab and Sports, based in Dublin 4 in 1996. She has Masters degrees in Public Administration (NYU) and Sports Physiotherapy (UCD), is a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (Norton School, 1996), Certified Pinc Physio and Pink Pilates, member of the ISCP, CPPP, and CPOPC. She is a New York State Registered Physio since 1989 where she co-founded Duffy and Bracken PT in the Wall St. area of Manhattan and Co-Directed New York Downtown Hospital Physiotherapy Department from 1989 – 1996. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996. Since 2006 Siobhan has dedicated her physio practice to cancer patients and gained her knowledge and experience by studying with world leaders in cancer rehab, including with Nancy Roberge DPT in Boston, Jill Brinkley PT in Atlanta, the rehab team at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and The Foldi Klinic in Germany. Siobhan loves to teach, is a passionate advocate for cancer patients and the Physiotherapy profession and is a regular guest lecturer in UCD School of Physiotherapy.

Roseleen Flaherty BSN, DipOnc, DipPsychotherapy and Counselling. rozflaherty@gmail.comRoz works for the Irish Cancer Society supporting and counselling cancer patients through the rigors of cancer treatment and survivorship. She is both a highly qualified nurse and trained psychotherapist and counselor with many years experience with program development and direct service provision. She lectures annually to Yoga Therapy Ireland to develop cancer conscious Yoga teachers from all around Ireland.

Hayley Killen BSc Sports Management, Pink Ribbon Pilates Teacher and Strenth and Conditioning Coach. Hayley has worked with a wide of variety of clients, ranging from injury rehabilitation to breast cancer recovery, lymphedema and reconstruction. She has had a successful Pilates career working with Ireland’s top Pilates Team at Platinum Pilates. She is qualified in the following areas:

  • Pink Ribbon Pilates Instructor , Mat Pilates CthA, Polestar Gateways Reformer Pilates
  • KG Elite Strength & Conditioning Coach
  • BSc Sports Management Degree UCD

Hayley is most known for her friendly approach with clients, welcoming them into an environment where they feel comfortable and at ease. Her style of teaching is aimed at making survivors more mobile under challenging and safe conditions.”No single component of fitness should come at the expense of another. Finding the balance is the key to optimum health”. Hayley Killen
Connie Walsh Nurse, Yoga Instructor, Massage Therapist and Cranio-Sacral is a highly skilled and experienced clinician with many years dedicated to working with cancer patients and developing the skills of her Yoga colleagues. Connie’s experience in nursing, yoga, massage and cranio-sacral therapy gives her a broad base of professional skills. She has been offering individual sessions or classes in both yoga and body-therapy to cancer patients for many years in the Dublin area. Connie  began to practice body-therapy in 1998. She has completed 1,300 hours of formal yoga studies and began to teach yoga in 2004. In 2008 she established the Cancer Conscious Yogafor yoga teachers from all around Ireland.

University College Dublin – Health Science Building School of Public Health and Sports Science, Physiotherapy, 3rd floor, Room A315, 4 Dublin, Ireland

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