The Importance of Physical Therapy During and After Cancer Treatment


Physical therapy is often the last thing on people’s minds when they receive a cancer diagnosis. However, it is an essential part of your treatment plan that enhances your quality of life and allows you to return to regular activities more quickly. Most hospitals have specially trained physical therapists for cancer patients who can help you throughout your journey.

Continue reading to learn about the treatment-related challenges physical therapy can address, what kinds of rehabilitation are available, and other long-term considerations for those who have received cancer treatment.

Why Is Physical Therapy Important During and After Cancer Treatment?

Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation can impact your well-being in ways you may not have considered. Many cancer treatments can cause muscle weakness, increased difficulty in balancing, and a smaller range of motion. Physical therapy is essential to your recovery process and can help you restore your strength and physical function. Your physical therapist can work with you to create a plan of care that aligns with your healing process and individual goals.

Cancer treatment affects not only your physical health but your mental well-being, too. Many cancer survivors experience depression and anxiety even after they have completed treatment. Exercise is a powerful way to combat the side effects of treatment and positively affect your mental health. In addition, some research has shown that regular physical activity and exercise may even lower your risk of cancer returning.

What Kind of Rehabilitations Are Available Alongside Cancer Care?

There are several types of rehabilitation you can receive alongside cancer care. Most plans will incorporate some physical rehabilitation as well as occupational therapy, language pathology, and vocational rehabilitation services. Each component is essential to help improve your quality of life so you can return to the activities you enjoy most.

Physical therapy: Your physical therapist can help you recover your strength, endurance, flexibility, and mobility once you complete treatment. Many also offer treatment for pain management, while some specialize in managing conditions like lymphedema.