Side effects that need extra care

Some side effects need extra care, and you may have to frequently adjust how hard and how long you exercise. Speak to your doctor, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist for help with this.

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Cancer affecting the bones If you have cancer in the bones (called bone metastases or bone mets), you might be more at risk of a break or fracture. Choose activities such as walking and swimming, rather than contact sports and activities such as running and jumping.
Low white cell count (neutropenia) Some cancers and treatments can weaken your immune system and cause your white blood cell count to drop. This can increase your risk of developing an infection, so it is important to limit physical contact with other people and clean any shared exercise equipment before use. When your immune system is not working well (immunocompromised), avoid public spaces such as gyms, swimming pools and training venues until your white blood cell count returns to a safe level.
Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) Platelets stop bleeding in the body by forming clots. When the platelet count drops, you are at increased risk of bruising or bleeding. It is best to avoid contact sports and high-impact activities, as these could cause bruising or bleeding if you get knocked or fall over.
Skin irritation

Areas of skin affected by radiation therapy can be extremely sensitive and often uncomfortable. Choose activities and clothing to minimise fabric rubbing on affected areas. Chlorine can irritate the skin, so avoid pool-based exercise if you have a rash or your skin is reddened after radiation therapy.

Poor balance and coordination

Surgery or cancer treatment may affect your balance or coordination. Problems with balance may cause you to feel dizzy and lead to a fall. Choose exercises that improve balance and muscle strength, and avoid types of exercise that involve balance and coordination, such as cycling outdoors or using a treadmill. Avoid lifting free weights without a training partner if you have problems with your balance.

Peripheral neuropathy

Some chemotherapy drugs can damage the nerves causing feelings of pins and needles and numbness in the hands and feet. This is called peripheral neuropathy. If you cannot feel your feet, it may be difficult to maintain your balance and you may be more likely to fall. It’s safer to walk or run on even surfaces. If you have neuropathy in your hands, ask an exercise professional how you can lift free weights safely.


If you have osteoporosis, get advice on exercise from your doctor, nurse, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on exercise for people living with cancer.

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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

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To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
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Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

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Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
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Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in April 2019
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