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What is the Prevention of Shoulder Problems (PROSPER) programme?

This article provides an overview of the PROSPER programme which aims to prevent shoulder problems following non-reconstructive breast cancer surgery.
© University of Exeter

The PROSPER programme is a physiotherapy delivered programme to help improve shoulder function in women who are at risk of shoulder problems following non-reconstructive breast cancer surgery.

The programme combines shoulder-specific exercises, physical activity and behavioural change strategies. Researchers and clinicians worked with patients who had undergone breast cancer treatment to develop the programme. The researchers and clinicians had experience working in the fields of oncology, physiotherapy, pain and psychology.

The PROSPER programme is an early exercise programme (starting at 7-10 days postoperatively). Patients attend three individual face-to-face appointments with a physiotherapist. Three additional flexible sessions can also be provided over 12 months if needed (via phone or in-person as required).

The PROSPER programme has been evaluated in a large multi-site clinical trial in the UK (detailed in step 1.10). Our research demonstrated that the PROSPER programme prevents shoulder problems, improves arm function and reduces pain. It was also good value for the National Health Service (NHS) to provide this type of treatment.

© University of Exeter
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Helping patients recover from breast cancer treatment: a programme to prevent shoulder problems

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