Cancer Rehabilitation: Maintaining and Restoring Physical Wellbeing

From diagnosis and treatment through recovery, physical therapy rehabilitation has proven to be an effective method for maintaining and restoring physical well-being. Consulting with a Physical Therapist can help you reclaim your quality of life before, during, and after cancer treatment.

At every stage of your cancer journey, PTS therapists are dedicated to supporting you and helping you achieve the best possible physical outcomes. We understand the unique challenges you face, and our goal is to provide you with the tools, education, and guidance necessary for maintaining your quality of life.

Why choose Physical Therapy?

According to an abstract published in The National Library of Medicine, physical therapy is recommended throughout the continuum of cancer care. PT is indicated to help with pain management, fatigue, distress management, palliative care, gait problems, and lymphedema.

PTS Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board Certified Women’s Health Specialist, Janet Forinash, PT, DPT, CLT, WCS emphasizes, “When patients choose to participate in physical therapy during their cancer treatment, it can give them a sense of control during a time that can be overwhelming by giving them some very specific things they can focus on or work on that supports their individual recovery.”


Before undergoing cancer treatments, it is important to document your current function and physical abilities. According to Forinash, “Our prehabilitation assessment is a starting point for our treatment together. It will include tests and measurements related to the survivor’s specific cancer type. It will also involve education about what to expect during treatment and how we will try to minimize any side effects of treatment. It is also typical to learn a few exercises that can be safely worked on until we need to meet again. We like to establish a baseline, which will help in tracking your progress throughout treatment. This will allow us to develop personalized treatment plans tailored to your specific needs.”

Active care

The American Cancer Society’s physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors include a return to normal daily activities as soon as possible after diagnosis and treatment. During active cancer treatment, physical therapists work closely with you to customize treatment programs so you can get back to the activities that are most important to you. In collaboration with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, they also recommend cancer rehabilitation to help with problems that can all arise during your course of treatment. Some of these limitations may include:

  • Cancer-related fatigue: Physical therapists can recommend aerobic exercise, resistance training, and stretching to increase energy levels.
  • Bone loss:  Rehabilitation will often incorporate weight-bearing exercises and resistance training to help strengthen bones and improve bone density.
  • Neuropathy: Manual therapy, including massage and joint mobilization, may help reduce neuropathic pain. Additionally, treatment may include exercises to promote nerve regeneration, improve balance, and increase coordination.
  • Impaired range of motion:  Physical therapists can increase joint mobility and reduce pain by providing patients with stretching and strengthening exercises, targeting specific areas of the body.

According to Forninash, “Many survivors benefit from having physical therapy treatments during their active treatment phase. For example, radiation treatment can be common after certain breast cancer surgeries and some patients require therapy sessions to promote maintaining overhead range of motion and decreasing swelling risks during this time.”

Post care

Once treatment is complete, therapy continues to support you in addressing lingering side effects. Whether it’s managing pain and swelling, addressing scars, or minimizing pain, we will design a personalized maintenance program to help you regain and maintain your optimal physical function.

Patients may also benefit from specialty services designed to address the unique challenges associated with certain types of cancer. For example, some types of cancer treatment are associated with lymphedema. PTS has certified lymphedema specialists ready to manage your post-treatment needs.

We are here for you!

Cancer treatments can seem overwhelming and all-consuming. Allow us to help you feel like yourself again as we follow along your journey. Request a free consultation today at

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