Cancer and cancer treatments may have effects on multiple systems and organs. The neurological system, the muscles and the bones are particularly vulnerable. Problems with limb weakness and loss, gait disturbance, imbalance and other problems affecting normal walking are common in 25%–35% of cancer patients. Fatigue and visual changes may add to the challenges of mobility. Mobility impairments that existed before cancer may be more affected by the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
It is important to consider whether your current condition would create challenges with your commute to and from work or with the performance of your work responsibilities that require standing, walking, climbing, etc. Consider also if you are likely to see an improvement or decline in your condition over time.
What you can do
Your healthcare team can provide valuable advice to you about what to expect regarding your mobility, and this can help you make decisions about work. A rehabilitation specialist can work with you to improve your strength and offer recommendations about assistive devices to ensure safe mobility. Good nutrition, adequate rest and appropriate exercise will contribute to your overall well-being, too.
Exercise tips to help improve physical function
For a recent 2015 review on exercise guidelines for cancer survivors, consult Cancer Care Nova Scotia’s Physical Activity & Exercise Benefits Cancer Patients and Survivors.
From this website, see also an article on exercise tips to improve your fitness and get ready for work by Daniel Santa Mina, PhD, RKin; Scientist, ELLICSR: Health, Wellness & Cancer Survivorship Centre Assistant Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto.
Modify your work tasks and how you work:
- Wear well-fitting, supportive footwear with a closed heel and rubber sole.
- Work in a standing position? Sit down when you’re able: Use a stand-lean chair if possible; if not, keep a rest chair nearby.
- Work from home if possible.
- Other mobility aids may also be helpful in managing mobility when you have foot pain. Assessment by a local therapist (physical therapist, occupational therapist) may be best to help you find an appropriate mobility aid.
Modify your work environment:
- Ask for parking close to your work entrance.
- Relocate your workstation closer to the washroom, break room or other frequently used space.