Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
Support Care Cancer. 2004 May;12(5):347-54. Epub 2004 Apr 3.

Postoperative education concerning the use of the upper limb, and exercise and treatment of the upper limb: cross-sectional survey of 105 breast cancer patients.

Author information

  • 1Satakunta Polytechnic, Maamiehenkatu 10, 28500, Pori, Finland. anne.karki@samk.fi


In this retrospective survey we investigated the recall of breast cancer patients (n=105) 6 months after the operation concerning postoperative instructions on exercises for shoulder mobility, and instructions for oedema prevention and treatment, upper limb strength training and the use of the upper limb in daily activities. Patients also described the content in their own words and ranked the instructors who had mostly given this education. Operation type and length of hospital stay did not have any effect on the education recalled, but the age of the respondent had some effect (r=-0.23, p<0.05). The Wilcoxon signed ranks test showed that the most commonly reported item was instructions on shoulder movements (P<0.001). Patients reported that they had more instructions for using the upper limb in daily activities than instructions for strength training (P=0.002) and oedema prevention and treatment (P=0.001). Patients own comments were sometimes conflicting: "Use the upper limb as before and you can even lift weights" and "You cannot drive a car or lift a weight over 3 kg for 6 weeks". Over half of the respondents named the physiotherapist or physiotherapy assistant as the person who had given them most of the instructions. A medical doctor was ranked in first place by 19% of the patients. Only half of the patients reported that they had some education after hospitalization. This study suggests that postoperative education of breast cancer patients is inconsistent and insufficient to provide knowledge for independent rehabilitation for future.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk