- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Exercise after a cancer diagnosis (including videos)
- Getting started
- Seeing an exercise professional
Seeing an exercise professional
It’s natural to have lots of questions when starting an exercise program. The most appropriate health professionals to design an exercise program for people with cancer are accredited exercise physiologists or physiotherapists. They can help develop a program based on what you can do and any physical problems or side effects related to the type of cancer you have.
Personal trainers and exercise scientists are not trained to work with people who have major health issues.
Also called accredited exercise physiologists (AEPs), these allied health professionals have completed at least a four-year university degree. They use exercise as medicine to help with chronic disease management and overall wellbeing.
How to find an exercise physiologist
You can search for an accredited exercise physiologist (AEP) by name, location or speciality at Exercise & Sports Science Australia.
These allied health professionals have completed at least a four- year university degree. They focus on physical rehabilitation and prevention and treatment of injuries using a variety of techniques, including exercise, massage and joint manipulation.
How to find a physiotherapist
You can search for an accredited physiotherapist at the Australian Physiotherapy Association.
You may be able to see an exercise professional at your cancer treatment centre, or your GP may be able to refer you to an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist as part of a Chronic Disease Management Plan, which means you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate for up to five visits per calendar year. Most private health insurers provide limited cover for visits to an exercise physiologist or a physiotherapist, but this depends on the type and level of cover.
The Department of Veteran Affairs may be able to assist some people.
I turned to exercise a lot. I started working with an exercise physiologist, building up my body and also walking an hour every day, seven days a week.
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.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Life after cancer treatment
Programs and support for people who have finished treatment
ENRICH – a free healthy lifestyle program
A face-to-face exercise and nutrition program for cancer survivors