• 10 Ways Exercise Helps During Cancer Treatment

    Exercise for People Undergoing Cancer Treatment

    Exercise provides short- and long-term benefits for people undergoing cancer treatment.

    According to the Department of Health and Human Services, physical activity can help cancer survivors manage many cancer-related problems. Physical therapists design personalized physical activity programs that can people with cancer improve their health and function, assist them in the return to work and other important life activities, and reduce their risk for a cancer recurrence.

    Physical therapists are movement experts who improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. 

    Exercise during cancer treatment can:

    1. Reduce fatigue

    Exercise helps boost energy and endurance during cancer treatment.

    2. Maintain muscle strength

    Safe exercise can help keep your muscles strong.

    3. Reduce stress

    Exercising during cancer treatment can help ward off anxiety, fear, and depression.

    4. Prevent or reduce lymphedema and swelling

    Special physical therapy treatments address lymphedema and swelling.

    5. Reduce pain

    Safe and comfortable exercise is proven to be effective in reducing pain.

    6. Prevent and reduce weight gain

    Staying physically active can help you maintain a healthy weight.

    7. Reduce brain fog

    Exercise has an immediate and long-lasting effect in reducing brain fog.

    8. Reduce bone density loss

    Certain exercises done while standing and moving can stimulate your bones to stay healthy and strong, helping to avoid fractures.

    9. Improve the survival rate

    Research studies have suggested that consistent exercise during cancer treatment may have beneficial effects that improve the outcome of that treatment.

    10. Assist athletes to continue sports training

    Athletes undergoing cancer treatment may not have to give up their sport. A physical therapist can help design a special exercise plan that includes an athlete’s chosen sport, a modified version, or aspects of it.

    For more information and resources, visit our health center about physical therapy for cancer-related problems.

    You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.

    Find a PT near you!


    Authored by Andrea Avruskin, PT, DPT.

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