Rehab After Treatment


Rehab After Treatment

Rehabilitation after treatment

Rehabilitation after treatment

Once intensive hospital or clinic-based treatment has finished and people feel they are recovering from breast cancer, they often think about lifestyle changes they can adopt to feel healthier over the years to come.

A focus on fitness and heathy living can make a real difference to your recovery from treatment. It means you are more likely to be able to do everything you could pre-cancer, and overall, improves quality of life. Recovery takes time so setting realistic personal goals is important. Start slow and build over months and years to reach them.

Goals to achieving a healthy balanced lifestyle

Build physical fitness

Getting active once treatment finishes kick-starts your recovery and improves your fitness over time. Exercise is known to improve fatigue; recover muscle, tone and strength; improve heart health; build bone strength; and boost confidence. Over time, it is recommended you complete 150 minutes a week of aerobic and strength building exercise.

To succeed long term and keep motivation high, choose types of exercise you enjoy. Mix it up a bit and don’t be put off if progress is slow – any exercise is better than no exercise.

Building your own knowledge about physical fitness following breast cancer can be really empowering. A great starting point is connecting with Pinc Physiotherapists, who specialise in breast cancer recovery. There are are also a number of community-based and online exercise trainers with a specialist interest in cancer rehab.

Maintain a healthy weight

Having a nutritious diet and maintaining a heathy weight is an important step to managing some of the long-term effects from cancer treatment such as joint pain (arthralgia), heart health, risk of lymphoedema and recurrence of breast cancer. Your GP is one of the best people to support you to meet this goal and can also help you to connect to other health professionals in the community such as specialist dietitians and health coaches to keep your motivation high.

Build emotional resilience

When you have finished treatment, you may continue to experience emotional challenges. This can include fear of recurrence, worry about ongoing, or late, effects of your cancer or its treatment, as well as managing expectations of people around you. 

Learning ways to manage your emotions can help decrease stress and improve your wellbeing. There are free and low-cost community counselling sessions and classes that help with goal-setting and learning new skills. We think early goals should include finding ways to cope with stress, manage emotions and getting a good night’s sleep.

Resources for managing emotions, sleep and reducing stress:

Calm is a popular app with tools to help with sleep, managing emotions and meditation.

Get in touch
with our specialist breast nurses to get a copy of BCFNZ's fact sheet on sleep.

A website called Healthify, created by a Kiwi GP, has a range of reliable and simple resources on sleep and stress, as well as other health topics.

Need more advice?

More ideas about how to improve fitness, nutrition and emotional well-being can be found on the Keeping Fit And Well During Treatment page.

Connecting to support in your community

Recovery from breast cancer takes place over months and years and there are many times you will need to reach out for support.

Whānau, friends and colleagues
Primary care team
Cancer Society NZ
Pinc Physios - specialists in cancer rehabilitation
Low cost exercise classes and funding support
Online resources and apps

Get started

When you're ready to begin your rehab journey, fill out this form and one of our specialist breast nurses will be in touch to help.

If you have any questions or need to talk things through with someone, get in touch with our specialist breast nurses. Call 0800 226 8773 or email

We're here to help

If you've got questions about our support services, get in touch.