Pinc and Steel International - giving strength to women with cancer

29 Sep 2023

Pinc & Steel is a New Zealand-founded international programme supporting people who have survived cancer, focusing especially on after they have gone through treatment. Pinc & Steel was founded by Lou James in 2005.

As a young physiotherapist, Lou was stunned to discover how patients, particularly young patients recovering from cancer, were left to fend for themselves following their treatment. Realising she had the experience and tools to help patients combat their ongoing physical and psychological symptoms, Lou developed Pinc & Steel, a physiotherapy-based treatment plan to help minimise the side effects of breast cancer treatments. 

Starting out initially from her own practice, Lou figured she could help far more people by developing and rolling out a specialist oncology training programme for physiotherapists throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand, and later the world.

Habit Health is aligned with Pinc & Steel through our specially trained oncology physiotherapists within the Greater Wellington Region (Wellington CBD, Hutt Valley and Kapiti). 

Our physiotherapists undertake a period of specialist training to ensure they have the correct skill sets to treat our patients. It is also necessary to retrain and top-up their skills regularly, as research is constantly being improved and updated.

Patients are often directed to our service whilst being under the care of their oncology and nursing team to enhance their recovery through what is often a tricky journey. Clients coming to our clinic have one-on-one sessions up to 4 times over three months to provide physiotherapy care. However, the service also runs groups focusing on lymphoedema, pelvic health, paediatric support, or adjuncts focused on activities like Pilates or paddling. Our service primarily supports women with various types of breast and lymph node cancer, but depending on the region, there is a variety of support out there.

Patients can access the service at any point in their treatment journey. Typically, this will be after the diagnosis phase and after any surgery required. Patients might be advised to delay commencing physiotherapy if things like pain levels or fatigue are too high, so they can be in the right place to make the most of their time with our specialised physios. Patients completing the funded service can then decide what suits them going forward – that could be continuing physio, but with a financial surcharge, other patients can be directed to other community services and groups or find their own path back to the activities they love.

We need people to live more and fear less after their cancer diagnosis, even with advanced cancer. 

Habit Health supports people in their community to optimise health and live their best life.