Balance training for cancer patients

A deterioration of balance is extremely common for cancer patients, which may be as a result of treatment. Poor balance can lead to falls and fractures, which can have serious consequences. Poor balance can easily be helped with a good exercise program.

Chemotherapy causes a decline in muscle mass, which means that a person may not have the leg strength to prevent tripping and falling.

Chemotherapy can also cause peripheral neuropathy, which means that a person may not be able to feel their fingers or feet and you may also experience tingling. This may stay with a person for a few weeks or for years after their treatment has stopped. Peripheral neuropathy can double your risk of falls.


Tips to reduce your risk of falls during exercise

  • Work on your leg strength. This will help your standing balance and will help you to correct yourself when you start to lose balance.
  • If walking on a treadmill, always use the handles for support.
  • Use a recumbent bike for both cardiovascular and strength.
  • Ask your Physiotherapist to prescribe standing exercises, which are more functional to your everyday life. Make sure you use a chair or table for support whilst performing standing exercises.
  • Wear good supportive footwear.
  • If you experience fatigue, pick a time of day when you know you have the most energy to exercise.


When to start exercising

The sooner the better to improve your quality of life!

Exercise is beneficial during all stages of your treatment. Exercising prior to surgery or treatment means that you will go into it stronger. Exercise has been shown to be beneficial during treatment to help the treatment work more effectively, reduce the amount of muscle mass lost and also help manage your fatigue. It is also greatly beneficial after you have finished treatment to continue to increase your strength back to your baseline, and address other things such as decreased balance.

Please note that you need to make sure you get medical clearance from your medical team before commencing exercise.

InnerStrength of Bayside Physiotherapist Luci Minogue is a provider of the Pinc and Steel Cancer Rehabilitation programs. Call us now on 8555 4099 or click here to book online to start your cancer rehabilitation and wellness strengthening program!


Written by Luci Minogue (Physiotherapist)