Exercise after a cancer diagnosis
If you are being treated for cancer or recovering, you may have thought it was important to rest, but research shows that exercise benefits most people with cancer during and after treatment.
Learn more about:
- Why exercise is important
- Treatment side effects and exercise
- Getting started
- Aerobic exercise
- Strength training (including video)
- Flexibility (including video)
- Pelvic floor (including video)
- Arm and shoulder exercises after breast surgery
- Question checklist
- Watch all exercise videos
Being active can help manage some of the common side effects of treatment, speed up recovery, and improve your quality of life. For some cancers, exercise may even improve how you respond to treatment. Being physically active, along with eating a healthy diet, can help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back (recurrence) for some cancer types. It also helps reduce the risk of developing other health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
|According to the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) position statement on exercise in cancer care, exercise should be prescribed to all cancer patients as a standard part of their cancer care to help manage the effects of cancer and its treatment. Exercise & Sport Science Australia (ESSA) also encourages people with cancer to exercise.|
I was not as active before cancer as I am now. I walk three or four times a week. It gives me extra energy and helps clear my mind. If I don’t do any walking, I really notice the difference in my energy levels and my mood.Rima
A/Prof Prue Cormie, Chair, COSA Exercise and Cancer Group, and Principal Research Fellow – Exercise Oncology, Australian Catholic University, NSW; Rebecca Cesnik, Accredited Exercise Physiologist, ACT; Dr Nicolas Hart, Senior Research Fellow, Exercise Medicine Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cancer Council WA; Stephanie Lamb, Life Now Project Officer, Cancer Council WA; John Odd, Consumer; Sharni Quinn, Clinical Lead Physiotherapist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Jane Turner, Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Concord Cancer Centre, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.