Hi everyone, I haven’t been to the forums for a long time but now would welcome some advice. I have joined a health club to keep fit and splash sedately up and down the pool doing a gentle breast stroke. I find that this does make my underarm and the site of my mastectomy scar ache a little (I had a mastectomy in Jun 2006 followed by axillary clearance in Jan 2007) but would like to know if others are more adventurous and do full out crawl or backstroke?

I have full movement in my arm but don’t want to jeopardise that by overdoing things. Can anyone else share their experience?


Hi Meg
I went back to swimming-albeit gently at first-5 weeks after my mastectomy and node clearance. My arm ached too to begin with but each day I managed to do a little more. I can’t do front crawl so only do breast stroke. Take it easy-you’ll soon get almost full movement back. It’s a matter of trial and error! I do know of people who do back and front crawl following same surgery-just take it easy to begin with!
Good luck!
Love Gill x

Hi Meg

I had WLE not mast but did have full node clearance in May 07. I swim quite regularly now cos I find it the bext exercise for my arm and shoulder. I mainly stick to breast stroke but can manage about two lengths of front crawl now to get my heart rate up a bit. I have never been able to do back stroke, I just sink!!


Hi Meg

I had mst. and all nodes removed in March, so far I’ve only been swimming with my children and it’s been crowded so I’ve mostly done breast stroke. But I have managed some front crawl and I can really feel my side and scar area tightening up. I also tried a very small amount of breast stroke and that was fine. On the whole though I think that it did me good.

good luck

Hi Meg

I had mastectomy the end of march08,been swimming the past five weeks, twice a week. I find the exercise good for arm and shoulder,Tried to do back stroke but found it painfull,building up how much i can swim everytime i go,just listen to your body it tells you when you have done enough.


Hi Meg

I had mast and partial lymph node clearance in Dec 07 and went back swimming about Feb or March - I regularly do crawl, breast and backstroke with no probs - I do find it helps greatly with cording but no real pain or discomfort.

Go with what your body tells you I would say


I am three weeks past a mastectomy and auxiliary clearance, but in my shopping spree today I bought a swimming costume. Is it too early to go swimming for me? I feel OK, even though my arm is very stiff.


I had a mastectomy and reconstruction in November 2006. I developed a frozen shoulder afterwards and the the physio recommended swimming to help. That was April 2007. I did all 3 strokes at the time with no further problems.

I’ve since had a double mastectomy (May 2008) and I’m planning on being back in the pool by Sunday.

Go on, have fun


I had a Mastectomy in June 07. Went swimming every day on holiday in May. Breast stroke ( Ha) Backstroke and doggy paddle ( I can’t do front crawl very well due to not being able to work out the breathing!!). Improved my lympho in the back and chest and it felt much better than before

Hi, I swim every week. Before dx I used to do all front crawl. Now I have lymphoedema in my hand, I still do mainly front crawl, but I also do some breast stroke so I am varying the stroke. I found swimming to be the best way to deal with cording.

When I went back to swimming after chemo, I built it up slowly so I wasn’t overdoing it with my arm.