Cancer patients have a wide range of treatment modalities starting from medicines, dietary adjustments, or chemotherapy and surgery. Although it is not very commonly mentioned, physiotherapy benefits for cancer patients have an important role to maintain quality of life by having strong and energized physique while maintaining a healthy mental state.
Research showed that physical exercise is safe and beneficial during cancer therapy. More rest or lying down can decrease the body’s function, weakens the muscle, and reduce movement ability. Physical and mental health can be maintained through physiotherapy and can provide energy to continue the long term and sometimes difficult therapy.
The patient and caregiver need to consult a physiotherapist first for initial assessment, individual target plan, and proper recommendations. The purpose is to avoid injury and more suitable to the patient’s condition.
What can a physiotherapist do for a cancer patient:
- Strength training to compensate weakening muscle and bones
- Aerobic training to manage decreasing energy or shortness of breath
- Cardiovascular and endurance training
- Kinesiology to help patients manage physical limitations
- Massage or mobilization therapy for cancer pain management, for example joint and muscle stiffness or due to nerve damage
Other side effects from cancer therapy included lethargy and enlarged lymph nodes. Usually, the body parts can become swollen at the limbs or cancer area. A physiotherapist can help with performing liquid drainage, teach independent exercise, and use special technique.
Recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine are as follows:
- Avoid inactivity and return to normal activity directly after diagnosis and therapy
- Maintain routine physical activities
- Gradually increase the physical activities
Contact your medical team to discuss ways to have an active lifestyle, stay fit, and experience physiotherapy benefits for cancer patients.