How physiotherapy can help during cancer recovery


Oncology physiotherapy is a growing area of specialization, yet many people are still unfamiliar with why or how a physiotherapy can help during cancer recovery.

There are three main medical interventions used in cancer care: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. All three of these interventions have profound effects on the physical body and can be accompanied by significant side effects that reduce a person's physical mobility and sense of well-being.

Like orthopaedic surgeries, cancer surgeries can also disrupt muscle, connective tissue, and lymphatic vessels often resulting in scar tissue or post-surgical tissue tightness that limit range of motion and alter movement patterns.

Radiation therapy can lead to tissue tightening and fibrosis of the skin and fascia, both of which can result in limitations of mobility and altered movement patterns.

If lymph nodes are removed or damaged during surgery or radiation, a person may develop lymphedema (swelling that does not drain on its own) or cording (a tight pulling sensation under the skin) in the areas around and distal to the affected site.

Chemotherapy can lead to general fatigue, weakness, and in some cases neuropathy (numbness, burning or tingling in the fingers and toes).

Oncology physiotherapists are trained to address all of these issues using specialized hands-on techniques aimed at releasing scar tissue, lengthening fascia, strengthening the body, stimulating deep tissue healing and promoting lymphatic drainage.

Working with an oncology physiotherapist at any stage of your cancer recovery journey can help you regain your strength, mobility and overall sense well-being, so that you can return to doing things you love in life!