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Research has shown that physical therapy can help to reduce or improve the physical consequences of cancer and its treatment. These can include pain, numbness, swelling, weakness, loss of balance, and difficulty moving or walking. A new study offers yet another reason to choose or recommend physical therapy to treat cancer-related problems — the overall value it provides.

Many cancer survivors choose to recover at home through programs that help them regain their strength.

Choosing a physical therapy-based telerehab program with monitoring to treat cancer-related problems outperforms monthly home monitoring alone.

In addition to saving health care dollars, it helps patients to:

  • Increase overall function.
  • Reduce the number of days spent in the hospital.
  • Reduce the need to spend time in an in-patient facility.

Learn more about physical therapist treatment in the Physical Therapy Guide to Cancer.

Graphic illustration of the cancer rehabilitation findings in the Economic Value of Physical Therapy Report

Researchers calculated the economic impact of choosing a physical therapy-based telerehab program to treat cancer-related problems versus home monitoring. They found that doing so saves $3,514, including all the hidden costs of your time, pain, missed life events, and the dollars paid for services. This graphic summarizes their analysis, outlined in an easy-to-read paper covering this and seven other conditions.

Health care dollars are finite. This research can help to influence policies that better enable patient access to treatment options. It also may lead to health plan coverage that is both clinically effective and value-based. Patients and the health care system benefit when our health care dollars go further.

Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You do not need a referral* to see a physical therapist in the United States. Visit Find a PT to search for a physical therapist in your area.

Find a PT Near You

*Your insurance policy, corporate policies, or state practice laws may still require a referral. Some states may limit the type or duration of treatment without a referral.


View additional Did You Know? articles on all eight conditions on our Value of Physical Therapy page.


Additional Resources

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"The Economic Value of Physical Therapy in the United States," a report from the American Physical Therapy Association. 

Dennett AM, Elkins MR. Cancer rehabilitation. J Physiother. 2020;66(2):70–72. Article Summary in PubMed.

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