Swimming during/after treatment

Are there any keen swimmers out there? I love indoor and outdoor swimming, not only for exercise but also it just makes me feel so much better. I had a therapeutic reduction, lump removal and SNB about three weeks ago. I am waiting for things to heal up before proceeding to radiotherapy.  I am just wondering how soon people were able to get back in the water after/during treatment. The chlorine in pools is very drying to your skin I know, but I was wondering about the sea swimming. I am really missing it - if only for a float around! 

Hi Swimmer

Sorry that you havent had a reply yet.  You may find it helpful to talk this through with one of our speciliasts on the free Helpline, 0808 800 6000.

Alternatively you can post a question on the Ask Our Nurses area of the Forum.

Another possiblity could be to post in an area where this may have more meaning, Recoverirng from treatment.

Best wishes
Digital Community Officer

Hi, I had a wire guided wide excision to remove tissue to achieve clear margins at the end of February. Like you I am a jern swimmer - after everything healed I went in holiday in may and was swimming in the sea and hotel pools and have been fine, I have to say I am reluctant to visit my local pool for fear of picking up any kind of infection even though my wound is fully healed - I think this us down to my mental attitude rather than anything else though, I’m sure if everything is totally healed if would be ok but if you have any concerns ask your bc team for advice. Me it’s just my headspace I have to contend with even though I was fine on holiday, it’s weird I know but its what this thing puts in your head!! I hope you get back to enjoying your swimming soon x

I would also love to know the answer to this. I am 3 weeks post surgery for lumpectomy and lymph node removal (far far harder than expected) and still having drains for seroma.

I went swimming 4 weeks after masectomy and got an 8nfection so be very cautious xx

Hi swimmer, I’m a aqua fit fan and love the water. Swam gently in the pool on holiday, 6 weeks post op and went back to the classes after 8 weeks - on the advise of my surgeon. I had a WLE. Been advised by my onc not to swim for the 3 weeks of radio and then the 3 weeks after, we’re all different, hope this is helpful.

Hi Swimmer, I have carried on swimming throughout treatment leaving approx 4 weeks after each op. I also swam throughout chemo in the good weeks although I was a bit wary about infection, oncologist said it was fine. I too am waiting to start radiotherapy and have been told providing the skin does not break down and is not sore it is fine to swim.


I agree its good exercise and also for de-stressing.


Good luck with your remaining treatment. xx

Well, having been very reluctant to visit my local pool following surgery in February (more to do with my thoughts than anything else!) I have today (after several false starts due to the pool being refurbished and the time of my usual visit being changed to far too early on a sunday morning) been swimming - there were only 3 of us in the water to start with, my kind of heaven. It was bliss and although not a strong swimmer i managed about 15 lengths, about half of what i used to do, before my stamina ran out, i cant explain my irrational thinking that stopped me from getting back to swimming sooner it is my preferred form of exercise snd i have missed it so much but now i have gotten rid of the ridiculous block in my own headspace i thoroughly enjoyed my swim today and i will be going back regularly now. Having done very sporadic exercise since February apart from race for life 5k, i tried getting back to zumba but find it still too uncomfortable for now, so i am especially pleased to be back swimming and i will continue. To all you water babies i say dont let this illness stop you from doing what makes you happy and enjoying life however simple, once your healed and your doctors and nurses give you the go ahead get back to what you enjoy doing and be you again, i have waited too long to do what i enjoy and wish i had done it sooner. Dont let this illness take everything from us dont let it win.

I am a very keen board surfer and after my lumpectomy over two years ago I was back surfing after about 4 weeks, protected in a 6 mm wetsuit. No problems with that. Soon I will have one sided mastectomy (same breast as where the lump was) and full node clearance and I am very concerned about my future surfing. Especially te side efferts of the nodes clearance and consequent risk of lymphodema. I heard swimming is good exercise to reduce lymphodema and wetsuit might put enough pressure on the arm to prevent swelling?  Getting in and out of the wetsuit may be the hardest part. The surgeon says I will be back surfing within 4 to 6 months but can that be true?

Hi there, I went swimming 5 weeks after lumpectomy and was fine - it felt great to get back into the water. As I wa son holiday it was only in a small hotel pool but with so few people in there, it was lovely. Go for it, but be cautious about overdoing it.

Regarding surfing in a wetsuit, I understand any exercise is good post treatment and I think a wetsuit compression could be good but recommend you speak to BCN or lymphoedema clinic nurse. Good luck

 I love my swimming too, but have waited quite a while to get back to it. I’m on Palbociclib and my neutrophils kept crashing so it was a definite no no from my Onco for swimming pools. The sea was ok, so long as I was sensible re contact infections, but of course there is the cold and chills to contend with. It has taken two years to get me stabilised but I have joined a good gym and now do aqua aerobics 2 x per week for my lymphodaema , as well as a couple exercise classes, and TaiChi. My skin survived rads ok, although I was burnt through to my back, and after 25 sessions I was quite fatigued. My team advised taking things slowly until the skin recovered as it is very thin, and the last thing you want, or need, is an infection through a scratch or cut.

You should check with your Onco , and also your rads team to be safe. Hope you get swimming soon. Good luck with the rest of your treatment. X