Cancer Rehab

Cancer Rehabilitation

Why is exercise important during and after cancer treatments?

More and more men and women are being diagnosed with cancer, which means more people are surviving and living longer after cancer. Research suggests that exercise and cancer rehabilitation is key to quality survivorship.

We all know that physical activity is important for our heart, controlling weight and our overall well-being but research shows that exercise has many benefits before surgery & chemotherapy, during chemotherapy & radiotherapy and after cancer treatments. Keeping active can be a challenge for everyone but the specific benefits of exercise during cancer include:

  • Increases muscular endurance and strength
  • Improves aerobic capacity
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces depression and anxiety
  • Reduces symptoms of lymphedema
  • Reduces symptoms of peripheral neuropathy
  • Improves bone mineral density
  • Improves overall quality of life

Research shows that most cancer survivors are living with physical problems from their treatment which often go undetected and untreated. Cancer survivors face an increased risk of extended health problems, premature mortality and harsh side effects from treatment.



“Gaining weight after cancer treatment increases the risk of cancer recurrence in breast, colon and prostate cancer”


“Increasing physical activity can reduce your risk of colon cancer by 30-50%”


“After diagnosis of prostate cancer, 3 hours of vigorous activity per week may reduce risk of death due to prostate cancer by 61%”


“For prostate cancer, brisk walking at longer durations may not be enough to reduce risk of death due to prostate cancer, more vigorous exercise may be needed”

Exercise can dramatically reduce your risk of getting cancer and your risk of death due to cancer. Can you imagine if a new drug produced these statistics? And no adverse side-effects? It would be all over the news and social media! Everyone should know about the importance of exercise during and after cancer treatments.

What type of exercise is important?

There is a lot of confusion among men and women with cancer around exercise, in terms of when to start and what to do. The bottom line is that exercise is beneficial throughout all stages of cancer- from the initial diagnosis stage to returning to daily activities post cancer treatment. A combination of aerobic training (walking, jogging, cycling) core strengthening (Pilates) and progressive resistance training (using weights or bands) is needed. Individualised prescribed cancer rehabilitation is an essential component of quality care and survivorship for all cancer patients.

Here at EBTC, our Chartered Physiotherapist Catherine Browne is a STEEL Certified Cancer Rehabilitation Specialist and has undergone extensive training in this area. Catherine can assess, treat and support you through every phase of your treatment and recovery. The STEEL programme is designed to help men heal as well as possible and function at an optimal level during all stages of treatment and recovery.

Please call today on 091 727777 to book an appointment with our STEEL Certified Cancer Rehabilitation Specialist Catherine Browne. Alternatively, you can get in touch using the contact page.



  • Kenfield, S. A., Stampfer, M. J., Giovannucci, E., & Chan, J. M. (2011). Physical activity and survival after prostate cancer diagnosis in the health professionals follow-up study. Journal of Clinical Oncology29(6), 726-732.
  • Keogh, J. W., & MacLeod, R. D. (2012). Body composition, physical fitness, functional performance, quality of life, and fatigue benefits of exercise for prostate cancer patients: a systematic review. Journal of pain and symptom management43(1), 96-110.
  • Calle, E. E., Rodriguez, C., Walker-Thurmond, K., & Thun, M. J. (2003). Overweight, obesity, and mortality from cancer in a prospectively studied cohort of US adults. New England Journal of Medicine348(17), 1625-1638.