Cancer Rehabilitation

Cancer Rehabilitation

Toronto Physiotherapy specializes in providing cancer rehabilitation services to help manage the common side effects of cancer and cancer treatment. Our integrated approach to rehabilitation addresses an important need for cancer care services in Toronto.

While your physicians have the resources and expertise to treat your cancer, we have the tools and techniques to help you manage the short and long term side effects of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Managing side effects during and after cancer treatment can significantly improve your quality of life, long-term survival, and help you get back to doing what you love.

For more information on common side effects of breast cancer treatment, please see: Top 3 Musculoskeletal Side Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment and Top 4 Nerve Disorder Side Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment

Cancer rehabilitation services at our clinics are provided by Registered Physiotherapists (or for some conditions Registered Massage Therapists) with special expertise. Our cancer rehabilitation services are therefore covered as ‘physiotherapy’ or ‘massage therapy’ under extended health insurance plans, and our receipts also qualify as a tax deductible medical expense on your tax return. For a list of our physiotherapy and massage therapy service fees, please see here.

Cancer Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy:

Physical Rehabilitation

Specialized physiotherapy can be used to treat a range of side effects arising from cancer treatment including:

We have the knowledge and training to help you manage the side effects specific to your cancer history, and can incorporate a range of tools into your treatment, including Toronto’s first AlterG Anti-Gravity treadmill, acupuncture, and other treatment modalities without additional cost.

Scar management

We can help to reduce the tightness, decreased range of motion, and pain caused by scarring due to tumor excision and tissue reconstruction.

Exercise therapy

In addition to the regular benefits of routine exercise (improved strength, immune function, body composition, and self-esteem), exercise therapy has been proven to reduce fatigue, pain, nausea, depression and improve the quality of life, fitness and survival of cancer patients. Our own Lindsay Davey contributed to a recent breast cancer exercise study that shows that the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s HEALTh breast cancer exercise program improves fitness, quality of life and depression in breast cancer survivors.

At Toronto Physiotherapy we design an individualized exercise therapy program where we teach you how to exercise on your own. Your customized program is designed to suit your home or gym, and can include periodic follow-up to ensure appropriate technique and proper progression. Patients learn the skills to incorporate therapeutic exercise into their lives and continue it on their own.

Yoga therapy

We offer cancer rehabilitation-focused private yoga sessions with our Registered Physiotherapist and Certified Yoga Instructor Cynthia Chung. With Cynthia’s longstanding expertise in cancer rehabilitation, these specialized yoga classes can help reduce the physical effects of cancer treatment including weakness, fatigue, and reduced mobility/flexibility, as well as psychosocial symptoms such as activity-avoidance. Learn more here.

Cancer consultation

We offer a one hour consultation (pre- or post- cancer treatment) that can include taking lymphedema baseline measurements and teaching lymphedema prevention techniques and self-massage (if applicable), education on managing fatigue, pain, functional limitations, and cancer rehabilitation options. Exercise principles are also discussed.

Cancer rehabilitation consultation between physiotherapist and patient

Lymphedema Therapy:

The chronic swelling condition known as lymphedema is a frequent side-effect of lymph node damage and/or removal during cancer therapy, affecting approximately 3%-34% of patients. Your risk of developing it depends on a variety of factors, in particular type and extent of breast cancer treatment, but also weight, age, genetics, and more. Are you worried that you might be showing early signs of swelling? Book in for an assessment with one of our lymphedema therapists, or click here to learn more about self-diagnosing lymphedema after breast cancer.

Our therapists are trained in Combined Decongestive Therapy for lymphatic swelling, and have experience dealing with a range of other swelling conditions including venous insufficiency and non-specific swelling. Learn more about our lymphedema treatment and prevention services here.

Why Choose Toronto Physiotherapy?

  • We have an experienced and knowledgeable team.
  • Our therapists have received specialized training in cancer rehabilitation, are certified in Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT), and are also certified lymphedema Compression Garment Authorizers for the Ontario Assistive Devices Grant Program.
  • We have pelvic floor, orthopedic, and neuroloic physiotherapists on staff that can support your rehabilitation.
  • All of our services are provided in private treatment rooms, and are one-on-one for the full duration with a registered therapist.
  • We provide therapy covered by most extended health care plans. For some services patients can be treated either by a Registered Physiotherapist or Registered Massage Therapist, depending on patient needs and coverage.
  • We can provide rehabilitation services in the comfort of your home.
  • We do not require a doctor referral (but can work closely with your physicians).
  • We work in two modern and inviting clinics, conveniently located at Danforth and Chester in East Toronto, and at Yonge and St.Clair in Midtown.

Meet the Owner and Clinical Director

At Toronto Physiotherapy we are passionate about treating, educating and supporting individuals with cancer. Our goal of improving the lives of cancer patients through rehabilitation stems from the experiences of our founder and Clinic Director, Lindsay Davey, PT, MScPT, MSc, CAFCI, CDT.

Before pursuing a degree in Physiotherapy, and post-graduate studies in cancer rehabilitation, Lindsay worked as a molecular biologist at Princess Margaret Hospital where she earned a Master’s degree in cancer research for her work on the effects of radiation therapy on gene regulation. During her years as a scientist, Lindsay realized the profound impact that health professionals can have on the lives of cancer patients, and discovered her calling as a rehabilitation specialist.

Lindsay is a well known lecturer on lymphedema and cancer rehabilitation. She gives regular presentations at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s Breast HEALTH program, Sunnybrook Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital, Wellspring, and Gilda’s Club.

Cancer Rehabilitation Self-Help Resources

Lymphedema Resources

Visit our Lymphedema Page for lymphedema self-help resources including a video demonstration of self-massage, and presentation slides from Lindsay’s talks.

Cancer Rehabilitation Articles and Blogs

Visit the cancer rehabilitation section of our Rehab Science Blog to read our reviews of the latest in cancer rehabilitation research, and to access self-help articles.

Popular articles include:

  1. Top 4 Nerve Disorder Side Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment
  2. Top 3 Musculoskeletal Side Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment
  3. How to Self-Diagnose Lymphedema after Breast Cancer: 4 Tests
  4. A do-it-yourself genetic test for lymphedema risk after breast cancer – no, seriously

Top 5 Exercises Following Breast Cancer Treatment

Physical Therapist Lindsay Davey who specializes in Cancer Rehabilitation and Lymphedema shows how to perform her top five exercises for patients who are ready to start strengthening after breast cancer treatment. This video was produced as part of a collaboration between Toronto Physiotherapy and Rethink Breast Cancer.