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Physiotherapy for cancer

Physiotherapy can be used alongside conventional treatment for cancer

Our specialist physiotherapists offer individual assessments and treatment for a wide range of musculoskeletal problems that can occur as a result of your cancer treatment, such as shoulder pain and stiffness after breast surgery, or lower back pain as a result of being less active. Some of our hospitals also offer additional support services including complementary therapies.

While physiotherapy for cancer does not treat cancer itself, it does help with issues that happen alongside chemotherapy and surgery. Managing your pain with cancer can significantly help you maintain your quality of life and carry out your everyday routine with ease. It is also highly effective during your recovery period following treatment, helping you get back to feeling like you again. Physiotherapy during cancer treatment can also improve your future health and help you get back to work sooner after your recovery.

Our therapies can be used alongside conventional treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, providing a holistic approach to cancer care.

Your physiotherapist will ask specific questions about your condition before carrying out a physical examination, which may include assessing your joint movement, muscle power, co-ordination, posture and function. On completing the assessment, they can compile a bespoke treatment plan specific to your needs. Your physiotherapist will teach you a series of exercises to help you manage your pain – you can perform these during your sessions and at home for the best results.

The cost of physiotherapy for cancer starts from £80 for your first appointment.* This is based on a 45-minute appointment and includes a full assessment and treatment plan.

The cost of follow-up appointments starts from £57.*

The cost of your total physiotherapy treatment will depend on various factors such as your condition, how many sessions you need and what type of treatment you are recommended. Some of our specialist treatments, such as steroid injection therapy and Phits Insoles are priced separately, however you will be informed of any additional charges as part of your treatment planning. Your physiotherapist will always discuss your treatment options with you.

*This is a guide price and may vary. You’ll be told the exact cost before you book.

There are several types of physiotherapy that can be used to support you through your cancer journey. These include:


Massage can help to reduce tension and stress, ease aching muscles, improve circulation and promote relaxation. This may help to alleviate some of the symptoms you may experience and the side effects of treatments for cancer. Your physiotherapist will work with you to discover tension points and develop a massage plan that suits your individual needs.

Lymphoedema management

Lymphoedema is a chronic swelling caused by a failure in lymph drainage, which can be a side effect of cancer or its treatment. It can develop anywhere across your body, but most commonly occurs in your arms and legs. At first, the swelling caused by lymphoedema might be soft and easy to push in, leaving a dent in your skin, and it might come and go. It may get worse during the day and go down overnight.

Without treatment, lymphoedema will usually become more severe and persist. Many of our hospitals provide specialised treatment involving massage, compression garments, exercise and education on self-management for lymphoedema. This will help you recognise the signs and symptoms as well as how to manage your condition. This is especially important as prompt access and early treatment helps to achieve good results.

Exercise classes

Being active both during and after your treatment has a range of health benefits:

  • Improved quality of life
  • Reduced fatigue and breathlessness
  • Reduced depression and anxiety (particularly yoga)
  • Improved bone health
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Helps control weight
  • Reduced risk of some cancers progressing or coming back

Our physiotherapists are trained in finding the appropriate ways for you to be active, whether this is through individual assessment and advice or taking part in group exercise classes. These small friendly classes, available at some of the Circle Health group sites, allow you to work at a level that is appropriate for you, and you can enjoy a relaxation session at the end of each class.

Breathlessness management

Breathlessness can happen as a result of the cancer itself, of related anxiety, or as a side effect from some of the medication used to treat the condition. Whatever the cause, breathlessness can be a frightening experience. Our physiotherapists can provide effective techniques to enable you to manage your breathlessness, which can help you feel more calm and able to function during treatment. Your physiotherapist might also offer lifestyle advice to help you manage breathlessness outside of your sessions.

Tailored advice and information

Your physiotherapist can advise when it is best for you to return to work. They might do this alongside your healthcare team to ensure you return to work at the safest time for you.

When you choose to go private for physiotherapy with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • Freedom to choose your hospital and physiotherapist
  • Specialist physiotherapy equipment and imaging facilities at your fingertips
  • Specialist advice and exercises to follow in sessions and at home
  • Tailored services (your physiotherapist will build your programme around your needs)

If you want to know more about physiotherapy for cancer and find out if it's the right treatment for you, call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in November 2023. Next review due November 2026.

  1. Macmillan, Cancer rehabilitation pathways
  2. NHS, Lymphoedema
  3. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Cancer
  4. National Library of Medicine, Physiotherapy and cancer