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Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center / Centers & Clinics

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Exercise and Physical Therapy

Cancer patients may often benefit from physical exercise or occupational therapy to allow them to live well during and after treatment. The benefits of exercise during cancer treatment have now been well documented by research.

Exercise has been shown to:

  • Reduce treatment-related fatigue and nausea
  • Improve mood
  • Decrease sleep disturbances
  • Improve overall physical and emotional well-being.
  • Some research has shown that moderate exercise may even reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer.

Weight training is also safe during treatment and can improve overall strength and bone health. Done with the proper medical supervision, it has recently been shown to ease, rather than worsen, symptoms of lymphedema.

Patients who have previously been exercising are encouraged to keep it up as they feel able. It is important to listen to your body and allow rest when your body asks for it. If you would like to begin exerciseing now, consider starting gently with a walking program. Many patients feel a daily walk improves their emotional and physical well-being during treatment. Yoga can add to a feeling of well-being and research suggests that yoga improves quality of life during treatment and decreases treatment-related side effects and menopausal symptoms.

Exercise During and After Cancer

Physical therapist and personal trainer Jay Herdson discusses the importance of exercise during and after cancer, the advantages to exercise, challenges with staying active, potential risks with specific activities, modifications for lymphedema, setting and meeting exercise goals, and finding qualified practitioners to work with. p>

Exercise Programs

Our nurse navigators have a list of exercise programs in the area that include individual and group fitness and mind-body programs specifically designed for breast cancer patients, some at reduced or no charge while you are in treatment. Our Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation department specializes in cancer rehabilitation and has a range of services including:

  • Lymphedema treatment
  • Exercise and weight training programs
  • Interventions for mobility issues from surgery
  • Therapies to combat the mental fogginess many experience during chemotherapy.

Our navigator can help you set up an appointment for any of these rehabilitative programs.