Exercise during radiation Therapy

Last Modified: September 30, 2007

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I am currently having radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer. I had surgery 12 weeks ago and the tumor was removed within a 1 mm margin of healthy tissue and very close to the muscle. I would like to play tennis and wondered whether it would be beneficial or not. Is it better not to do exercise of the chest area while undergoing radiotherapy?


Lawrence J. Solin, MD, FACR, Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Radiation treatment is not a contraindication to most forms of exercise. Some forms of exercise, such as swimming, may even improve shoulder mobility after breast cancer surgery. Patients should be aware that after breast cancer surgery, there may be a short recovery period during which exercise is limited or prohibited. Individual patients are encouraged to check with their surgeons to determine which forms of exercise are acceptable in their case.

See this previous question about exercise after mastectomy.

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