Common Cancer Treatments

What treatment options exist for cancer?

People with cancer may undergo a variety of different treatment regimes. Treatment choice may vary depending on the patient’s age, functional performance status (e.g. ECOG score), co-morbidities and goals of treatment (curative versus palliative).

Common treatments include:

These treatments have a wide range of implications for exercise prescription for people with cancer.

See below the table of common cancer treatments and their implications for rehabilitation.

Further guidance related to common cancer treatment protocols can be found at EviQ.

COMMON CANCER TREATMENTS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION

SystemSide EffectSurgeryChemotherapyRadiotherapyHormone TherapyTargeted Immunotherapy
EndocrineDecreased bone healthYYY
Increased body weightYY
Decreased body weightYYYYY
Decreased muscle massYYYYY
GastrointestinalNauseaYY
DiarrhoeaYYY
Altered GI functionYYY
ImmuneImmunocompromise +/- anaemiaYYYY
MetabolicIncreased risk metabolic syndromeYYY
NeurologicalPeripheral NeuropathyY
Cognitive ChangesY (brain)YYY
Pulmonary Decreased lung function or pneumonitisY (lung)YY
CardiacIncreased CVD risk or cardiac damagesYYYY
MusculoskeletalDecreased ROMYY
SkinIrritation YY
LymphaticLymphodema or axillary web syndromeYY
OtherPainYYYYY
FatigueYYYYY

Source: Adapted from Campbell KL, et al 2019 Med Sci Sport Exerc, 2375-2390.