Physio for Cancer?

Cancer treatments

Cancer rehab is a rapidly growing field.

The number of people diagnosed with cancer each year is increasing, but fortunately, survival rates are also increasing.  This means that there is a growing number of people out there who are living with or who have had cancer.

When someone thinks of cancer they usually picture doctors, blood tests, hospitals and nurses, but not physios.  “How can physios help people with cancer?” you might ask!  Here’s how:

Cancer treatments are many and varied but often involve a combination of:

  • surgery to cut out the cancer
  • chemotherapy to damage the cancer cells with drugs
  • hormone therapy to affect cancer growth
  • radiotherapy to damage the cancer cells with radiation

These treatments can have side-effects such as pain, swelling, tight scar tissue, joint stiffness, peripheral neuropathies (nerve damage causing altered sensation in the hands and feet), fatigue (tiredness that is not relieved by rest), osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), weight gain and physical de-conditioning.

Where does physio come into it?

Physios are in a perfect position to help with all of these symptoms.  Everyone’s cancer and treatment pathway is different therefore cancer physios will tailor an individualised programme for each patient  This may include:

  • Massage and scar tissue release
  • Exercise prescription and provision of a home exercise programme
  • Breathing education and relaxation
  • Fatigue management advice and education
  • Pilates to re-strengthen the core and ensure good movement patterns
  • Joint mobilisations to ease tight joints
  • Lymphoedema management

MOST IMPORTANTLY evidence has shown that being physically active after a cancer diagnosis:Cancer rehab Physio Wanaka

  1. Decreases a person’s chance of getting further cancers in the future
  2. Improves quality of life
  3. Decreases the risk of other health complaints such as heart disease and diabetes
  4. May also increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy whilst undergoing treatment

Rehab can be started at any point along the treatment pathway.  However, the sooner the better, as impairments will be less advanced and easier to treat in the early stages.  Even those with incurable cancer can benefit from cancer rehabilitation, in order to improve their quality of life.

Taking charge of your health again after experiencing cancer is a positive and empowering experience.  Cancer rehab physios can be there to guide you on your way!  Why wouldn’t you?


Pinc and Steel

At Central Lakes Physio we provide Pinc and Steel Cancer Rehab.  The Pinc and Steel Cancer Rehabilitation Trust can provide funding towards those struggling with the financial burden of their diagnosis.  An application form can be found here.

You can also gift someone a session by clicking here.

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