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Physiotherapy and Stem Cell Transplant

Physiotherapy and Stem Cell Transplant

  • Has your cancer care doctor or nurse recommended exercise before or after your stem cell transplant, but you don’t know where to start?
  • Are you experiencing fatigue during or after your stem cell transplant and do not know how much exercise is safe or recommended, or if it will make things worse?
  • Have you experienced falls or balance difficulties during your stem cell treatment?

What is Stem Cell Transplant?

Stem cell transplant is a form of treatment for some types of cancer. Your stem cell transplant takes place in hospital under the care of doctors and nurses who will monitor your progress before, during and after the procedure. Many people needing stem cell transplant report feeling fearful of exercise, particularly in relation to fatigue, safety and falls.

Research has proven that customised exercise and physiotherapy treatment programs are highly effective in rehabilitation before, during and after stem cell transplant. In fact, the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA), a national organisation whose work and research is dedicated to cancer care, recommends that exercise be embedded within all cancer treatment plans, as exercise helps to counteract the adverse effects of both cancer and the effects of treatment. In particular, we now know from research that exercising regularly in the lead up to your stem cell transplant can help with your recovery afterwards.

At Active we are able to guide and support you to work towards achieving COSA’s recommendation of ‘progressing towards and maintaining participation in 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (such as walking / cycling) each week and 2 to 3 resistance exercise sessions each week targeting large muscle groups.’ We can support you with this both during your hospital stay at the Mater, at our clinics or in an online consultation (ideal when your cell count is low).

Common Symptoms With Stem Cell Transplant

Stem cell transplant can cause various side effects. The specific symptoms vary based on the type of treatment you are receiving and your overall baseline health and fitness. It’s important to note that not everyone will experience the same side effects, and the severity will also differ from person to person. Here are some common symptoms associated with stem cell transplant:

  • Fatigue or a feeling of extreme tiredness or weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain due to a variety of causes
  • Swelling skin changes
  • Muscle tightness
  • Neuropathy leading to numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands and feet
  • Digestive issues
  • Hormonal changes such as hot flashes and mood swings
  • Memory and concentration difficulties
  • Emotional and psychological effects
  • Low blood cell counts
  • Infection risk due to a weakened immune system from treatments

How can we Help?

At Active, we have had decades of experience working in the field of cancer care. We understand the unique challenges that a cancer diagnosis and associated treatment brings. All of our cancer care physiotherapists have additional training in the management of people undergoing stem cell transplant, and most have had experience of working with people with this treatment modality in the hospital setting. We understand that this is a very emotional and stressful time, and adapt our treatments accordingly.

We create tailored exercise programs to address your unique needs. Our programs focus on building and maintaining your strength, flexibility, and mobility, helping you manage fatigue and maintain your muscle function throughout your treatment, and beyond.

Your physiotherapist can also provide a variety of targeted physiotherapy treatment techniques aimed at pain management, tissue tightness and general rehabilitation.

Our team have long established relationships with leading cancer care specialists, GPs and other health professionals and will collaborate with your team of treating professionals, as needed.

Our Connected Care Approach

With our unique ‘Connected Care’ approach, our team will expertly help you to prepare for your stem cell transplant, provide you with physiotherapy during your hospital stay and while you heal and return to normal activity after treatment. You can connect with your physiotherapist in hospital, in our clinics and during our online video consultations.

What Should I Expect From my Appointment?

  • Detailed Interview to fully understand your symptoms, medical and surgical history and your specific goals.
  • Physical Assessment of your movement, strength, balance and exercise tolerance, as well as your overall function.
  • Targeted Treatments including hands-on treatment and comprehensive advice and education to meet your specific needs.
  • Progressive Exercise Program to assist you not only with your specific exercise needs and goals as well as your general fitness, health and well-being.
  • Communication and Collaboration with your Cancer Care Medical Specialist/s and General Practitioner to keep them informed of your progress and to support your care.

Where can I see my Physiotherapist?

On this page

In Clinic

Online Video Appointments

Web & Mobile App

Private Gymnasium