Preparing for cancer treatment: promoting the benefits of prehabilitation

Being told you have cancer can be tough, and its treatment can be really hard on people. But there's something called prehabilitation that can help. Prehabilitation is about getting ready for cancer treatment. It helps people be as strong and healthy as possible before they start treatment.

This can make the treatment work better, helps with recovery, and makes life during treatment easier. In this article, we'll talk about what prehabilitation is, the three main things it focuses on (exercise, eating well, and mental health), and why it's so important for cancer patients.

What is Prehabilitation?

Prehabilitation means getting your body and mind ready for cancer treatment. It's like training before a big game or studying before a test. Prehabilitation helps people be in the best shape they can be before they start cancer treatment. It's different from rehabilitation, which is about getting better after treatment. Prehabilitation is all about getting ready.

The three main parts of prehabilitation

1. Exercise

Exercise is a big part of prehabilitation. Moving your body in the right way can make you stronger and healthier. It also helps with things like feeling tired and losing muscle during treatment. Exercise can include things like:

  • Moving Around: Doing things like walking, swimming, or riding a bike helps your heart and lungs work better.
  • Getting Strong: Lifting weights or using stretchy bands helps build muscles.
  • Staying Flexible and Balanced: Yoga or tai chi can make your body more flexible and help you keep your balance. This is important because cancer treatment can make your body feel different.

2. Eating Well

Eating good food is another important part of prehabilitation. The right food can give you energy, help your body heal, and keep you strong. Cancer treatment can sometimes make it hard to eat, so eating well is very important. You can think about things like:

  • Having enough protein: Your body needs protein to fix muscles and help your immune system. So, it's important to eat foods with protein.
  • Drinking enough water: Staying hydrated (drinking enough water) is important to avoid feeling thirsty and weak.
  • Eating balanced meals: Eating a mix of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins gives your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy.
  • Talking to an expert: Sometimes, talking to someone who knows about food and cancer can help you eat the right things.

3. Feeling Good in Your Head

Prehabilitation isn't just about the body; it's about the mind too. Cancer can be really scary and stressful, and that can affect how you feel. It's important to take care of your mind and emotions.

  • Talk to someone: Talking to a counsellor or joining a support group can help you feel better emotionally.
  • Manage stress: Techniques like deep breathing and meditation can help you deal with stress and anxiety.
  • Set goals: Setting small goals for yourself can help you stay positive and focused.
Why is prehabilitation so important?

Prehabilitation helps give you some control back over your mind and body and, by taking positive steps, can lead to a range of benefits including:

Easier Treatment: Prehabilitation helps your body handle the tough parts of cancer treatment like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. It can make treatment go more smoothly and cause fewer problems.

Faster Recovery: If you're in good shape because of prehabilitation, you'll bounce back faster after treatment. You can go back to your regular life more quickly.

Better Life: Prehabilitation can make your life during treatment better. You'll feel less tired, be in a better mood, and have more control over your life.

Long-Term Health: Prehabilitation isn't just for now; it's for the future too. If you eat better and exercise during prehabilitation, you're more likely to keep those healthy habits even after treatment. This could help lower the chance of cancer coming back and help you stay healthier overall.


Prehabilitation is like getting ready for a big journey. It helps you be as strong and healthy as possible before you start cancer treatment. By focusing on exercise, eating well, and taking care of your emotions, prehabilitation can help you overcome cancer and live a healthier life.

Prehabilitation services in north east London

Cancer patients in north east London have access to prehabilitation services before they undergo cancer treatment. If you are not offered it when you are discussing your treatment plan with your healthcare professional, please talk to them about it.

To find out more about how prehabilitation can help you, watch our short video and hear from some patients who have used our services.

Watch the video now on YouTube:

For more information

Visit our webpage on prehabilitation: