Cancer Rehabilitation

Cancer Rehabilitation is provided by specially trained physical therapists, prepared to both assess cancer patients and design effective treatment programs specific to each patient’s diagnosis, functional abilities, physical limitations, and symptoms. Programs are designed to both address cancer-related side effects, and anticipate further issues patients may experience, or have experienced, due to the treatment of their illness. The general goals of cancer rehabilitation are to prevent and reduce side effects resulting from cancer treatments, improving quality of life, function, and independence. Side effects experienced from cancer and its treatments that can be addressed by cancer-care physical therapists include:

  • Surgical scarring
  • Cording/Axillary Web Syndrome (AWS)
  • Lymphedema
  • Weakness
  • Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN)
  • Pain
  • Radiation fibrosis
  • Gait and balance dysfunction
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Cancer related fatigue (CRF)
  • Shoulder, neck and other joint dysfunctions and stiffness

Who is a Cancer Rehabilitation specialist?

Cancer rehabilitation specialists are Doctors of Physical Therapy with an oncology specialization. These specialists combine their physical therapy expertise with hundreds of hours of additional cancer rehab education, training, and direct cancer patient care to best help improve your quality of life both during and after cancer treatments.

Already started treatment or completed treatment? It's not too late!

It’s never too late! Whether it has been days or many years since starting or completing your cancer treatment, it is never too late to get cancer rehab and improve your quality of life.  Most cancer related impairments can improve with proper rehabilitation.

What should I expect at a cancer rehabilitation appointment?

Your physical therapist will review your cancer diagnosis, prior and current treatment plans, assess your complaints/symptoms and perform a complete physical exam.  The physical exam includes objective measurements of motion, balance, strength, mobility, sensation, scarring and skin integrity.

The examination results will help the therapist create a plan of care specifically for each patient’s needs.


A plan of care may include strengthening, cardiovascular conditioning, soft tissue massage, stretching, assistive device use education, fall prevention, energy conservation techniques, lymphedema care and more.


Lymphedema care is often a component of a cancer rehabilitation treatment plan. For more information about Lymphedema services at Olympic Sports & Spine, see our Lymphedema services page.

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Clinics where you can find Cancer Rehabilitation services