older woman with white hair smiling as she lifts small weights with female physical therapist

Cancer Care

Our compassionate physical therapists are skilled in providing physical therapy for cancer patients throughout their entire journey. Whether just beginning cancer treatment, finished with treatment, or experiencing late effects or unresolved issues from past cancer treatment, we are here to help.

Physical therapy before cancer treatment begins

Physical therapy for cancer patients can be beneficial upon diagnosis and before initiating cancer treatment to build strength and endurance. Before surgery, patients can be evaluated for existing problems that can be addressed such as range of motion limitations and reduction in function.

Physical therapy before cancer treatment starts will comprise mostly of exercise, cardiovascular reconditioning and strength training which will help mitigate the effects listed above. Exercise also improves strength, lessens fatigue and pain and has positive impacts on mood. It can improve range of motion, help with nerve pain due to the effects of chemotherapy and radiation, and minimize the effects of lymphedema.

Some specific cancer physical therapy treatments for patients before cancer treatment begins include:

  • Flexibility and strengthening exercises
  • Cardiovascular reconditioning and endurance training
  • Soft tissue mobilization and manual therapy to restore:
    • range of motion
    • stiff joints
    • improve scar mobility
  • Education on conserving energy and correct body lymphedema treatments
male physical therapist stretching his patients back during appointment

Physical therapy for cancer patients during treatment

We’re proud to be a cancer care physical therapy provider, delivering proven and personalized programs for the unique health and quality of life issues related to cancer treatment.

During treatment, physical therapy for cancer patients can provide exercise to minimize the side effects of treatment including reducing fatigue and pain, manage the effects of scarring, minimize brain fog, and maintain strength and endurance. Physical activity and exercise can improve an individual’s chances of surviving cancer and physical therapists are ideally suited to prescribe an appropriate exercise program.

Our evidence-based care addresses the specific needs of patients with cancer who are experiencing:

  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Limb swelling (lymphedema)
  • General weakness and endurance
  • Balance issues
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced bone density
  • Painful scars

 

female raising one arm during a physical therapy consultation

Cancer survivorship: Physical therapy after treatment

After undergoing harsh and debilitating cancer treatments, patients are often left with a number of symptoms that have major effects on their body. The inactivity or reduced activity is profound at the muscular level, as well as other areas of the body.

After cancer treatment and during survivorship, post cancer physical therapy can help manage lingering effects such as lymphedema, muscle weakness, and loss of endurance. Physical therapists can provide a graduated and individualized exercise program to help people get back to their lives.

Although each patient is different, these are some common physical symptoms of cancer that can linger where rehabilitation would be beneficial, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight changes
  • Pain and/or numbness
  • Bladder/bowel control problems
  • Nervous system changes (neuropathy)
  • Loss of strength
  • Lymphedema or swelling
  • Decreased range of motion
female physical therapist working with teenage boy during his appointment

What to expect

Your first physical therapy appointment is about creating a personalized treatment plan based on your health history, diagnosis, and goals. Here’s what you can expect at your first physical therapy appointment:

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Your first appointment will last about an hour. Please arrive 15 minutes early.

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If applicable, bring your physician referral or prescription, insurance card, paperwork, ID, and co-payment.

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At your appointment, we’ll do an initial evaluation and discuss your care plan.

*Services are not available at every location. Visit our Locations page for more details.