This is a question that needs to be consulted with the physician of the client. Also consulting with a physical therapist (assuming the client has already gone through this phase) would be a great idea as well because it will help you build on the exercises and progress this client has made before coming to you. I wish could give you a better answer, but if it was me I would go through the above steps before taking a client who is recovering from a breast cancer.
Also there different stages of breast cancer and some require surgery where others don’t.
I’ve worked one on one with four clients who have had breast cancer, and they’ve all been very different. Two had already recovered, with very different limitations. Two went through diagnosis and treatment while working with me (taking time off as needed).
I agree with Harris that unless a client is well recovered when you take them on, you need to consult with the potential client’s doctor and/or physical therapist. The amount of reconstruction can affect mobility and the length of recovery. There are also emotional challenges that can make an exercise that would be physically beneficial for the client emotionally difficult for that client.
As with any serious health condition, one size does not fit all.
It depends on the stage, treatment and prognosis of the cancer.
Some cancer patients breeze through it, others have a very difficult time.
As a trainer it’s important to stay within our scope of practice.
I would consult with the clients doctors, get a written prescription from their PT, or Doctor and communicate very closely with how the patient feels.
Pilates can be a wonderful, gentle, healing repertoire for those in recovery to regain strength. There are specific Pilates exercises that should be practiced and several that should be avoided by those in recovery. It is best to consult with an expert in this field. “The Pink Ribbon Program” specializes in this type of education. Here is a link to their website and a list of instructors who are experienced in Pilates for Breast Cancer recovery:
Perhaps you could contact someone from the program or list for guidance in this area if you are interested in using movements from Pilates to help your client in their recovery process.