Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer is devastating news, and it almost always leads to some kind of surgical procedure. It may be a lumpectomy, lymph node biopsy or removal or a mastectomy. Often breast reconstruction surgery is also part of the plan, as well as radiation and chemotherapy.

The aftermath of any of these interventions can leave you with pain and limited mobility in your arms and shoulders, difficulty with daily tasks and exhaustion. If lymph nodes were removed, add lymphedema to the list of post-operative concerns. The last thing you may want to do is exercise, but that is exactly what will get you on the road to rebuilding your body and your well being.

Recent studies indicate a link between moderate physical exercise and improved quality of life for breast cancer survivors.

The Pink Ribbon Program is designed specifically to help you recover and rebuild your body and your self-esteem, no matter where you are in your post-operative journey. Doreen Puglisi, an exercise physiologist in New Jersey, created this protocol more than ten years ago. Many of her clients were breast cancer survivors, but received very little medical guidance to help them restore their damaged muscles.

The Pink Ribbon Program fills that gap with select, certified instructors who are breast cancer post-rehab specialists. These highly skilled trainers provide emotional support and encouragement on an individual basis, as well as evidence-based personal fitness programs. This unique recovery program can begin as soon your doctor gives you the go ahead, usually 6-8 weeks after surgery.

Using a specific set of exercises, your certified Pink Ribbon trainer designs the program to your specific health, fitness, and goals. Much of the physical work is Pilates-based, with stretching and strengthening of the shoulder, chest, back and abdominal muscles, allowing you to regain full range of motion to those areas affected by your surgery. Studios offering the Pink Ribbon Program are dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle and a positive body image for their clients. It is a place of encouragement, support and recovery.

Many Pink Ribbon participants report a remarkable improvement from post surgery days when they couldn’t open a carton of milk, walk their dog or hold their child. They discover through commitment to the program, they get stronger, their range of motion is restored and their entire body becomes more flexible and controllable. They also report added benefits of renewed self-confidence, enhanced energy levels and less stress. The Pink Ribbon program is available throughout the United States. Many doctors of Physical Therapy, like Catherine Cahill at Cahill Physical Therapy in Brentwood, CA are certified to administer this program.