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Cancer is a term applied to a group of diseases where the cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled manner. Depending on the nature and type of cancer, it can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Physiotherapy can help minimise the physical symptoms of cancer and maximise an individual’s ability to lead an active, rewarding life.

Types of cancer

Cancer can be malignant or benign. A malignant tumour can spread and invade other organs via the lymph system or blood stream. Benign tumours lack the ability to spread in the same way.

Tumours are further categorised according to where they originate. The most common cancers developing in the breast, prostate, pancreas or lung are called carcinomas. Sarcoma is cancer growing in the bone or cartilage. Cancer that arises in the blood cells is called lymphoma or leukaemia.

General core rehabilitation exercises following prolonged illnessAbove: General core rehabilitation exercises following prolonged illness

Causes of cancer

Cancer is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Environmental influences include smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet, infection, obesity and exposure to radiation.

Symptoms of cancer

Some symptoms of cancer may include pain, lumps or swelling, bleeding, unexplained weight loss, fatigue and excessive sweating. However, many of these symptoms occur in individuals who do not have cancer, therefore they do not confirm the diagnosis.

Diagnosis of cancer

Cancer is diagnosed based on the medical signs and symptoms, blood tests, computed tomography (CT) scan and a microscopic examination of a biopsy sample. A biopsy is a small sample of tissue which is examined under a microscope. This can help the medical staff to decide the nature of the cancer and the best possible treatment option for the individual.

Treatment of cancer

Treatment of cancer involves a specialist multi-disciplinary team. An oncologist is a medical professional who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. There are different specialist areas of oncology according to the location and nature of the cancer. Your oncologist will discuss with you the various treatment options including radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone manipulation and possibly surgery to remove the tumour. It is important to consider the risks, implications and benefits of having or not having treatment for cancer, it is different for every individual.

Physiotherapy for cancer

Whether an individual decides to accept or decline treatment for cancer, physiotherapy can help with a range of symptoms and problems related to the nature and location of the tumour. An experienced clinician will carry out a detailed assessment of the individual’s symptoms, problems and discuss realistic, specific goals that are achievable within a desired timeframe. A treatment plan will be formulated that is specific to the needs of the individual. However, a general treatment plan for an individual with cancer may include: Your physiotherapist at can help you to move around and walk again after cancer. In order to help you do this, it is important that you carry out some specific strengthening exercises at home. It may be necessary to utilise some equipment such as ankle weights, theraband or a gym ball. Your physiotherapist will be able to advise you on the most appropriate exercises to do to target specific muscle weakness. If you have tight or painful muscles, we will show you how to use massage and soft tissue mobilisation to stretch prior to exercise. It is important to maintain full range of movement at your joints and often a full stretch can be carried out within a hydrotherapy session. Hydrotherapy is exercise based therapy within a warm shallow pool of water similar to a swimming pool. Our hydrotherapy pool has ramp access, pool side changing facilities and is suitable for all ages and abilities of individuals with symptoms from cancer. Most individuals find the warm water of the hydrotherapy pool relaxing and calming. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who suffer with pain and fatigue as a result of cancer.

All individuals with cancer substantially benefit from physiotherapy assessment and treatment. The benefits range widely and improve both physical and emotional symptoms.

Why after cancer

At we understand that you want to have the highest possible quality of life. Our specialist physiotherapists can help to minimise your symptoms, reduce your pain and improve your ability to return to a normal fulfilling life. Physiotherapy can rapidly speed up an individual’s recovery time from cancer. It can help you move around effectively again and improve your ability to carry out everyday tasks. Physiotherapy sessions for individuals with cancer can be provided at any of our clinic locations, at home, in the gym or at the hydrotherapy pool. To book an appointment or talk to a specialist physiotherapist please contact us now on 0330 088 7800. Alternatively, you can book an appointment online today!

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