How can prehabilitation benefit you?

Research has shown that prehabilitation has many benefits.

Research has shown that prehabilitation has many benefits. These include:

  • More likely to maintain or improve your physical ability/fitness
  • Reduced complications after treatment and surgery
  • Reduced side effects
  • Less time in hospital after your treatment
  • Quicker return to your normal fitness level after surgery or other treatments.

Medical Assessment and Optimisation:

Your Medical Team will first conduct a thorough assessment of your medical state and make plans for your prehabilitation.

Every patient is different: your plan will be based on your medical conditions and on the nature of the procedure you are expected to have.

Often, this process may involve having a fitness test of your heart and lungs known as Cardio Pulmonary Exercise Testing (CPET). This usually involves monitoring your heart and lungs while you perform exercise on a bicycle. Although you will be actively exercising for 10-15 minutes, you may have to set aside about one hour for the procedure.

Once your doctors have determined that it is safe for you to start your prehabilitation journey, you may be referred to other clinicians.

These clinicians may prescribe an exercise program, check your blood levels for Iron, ensure you have a strategy for good nutrition, check your medications, and also attend to any psychological issues you may need help with.

Your Medical Team will track your progress (with prehabilitation) and will coordinate your date of surgery or transplant, so that we maximise the time available prior to your procedure to get you physically and mentally fit.

International Research Teams including anaesthetic doctors at Peter Mac in Melbourne have been able to demonstrate that patients can have their medical conditions, fitness, and wellness levels improved using prehabilitation. They have also proven that patients who respond well to prehabilitation can reduce complications after surgery.

Exercise Professional:

People with cancer should be as physically active as their abilities and condition allows. However it is important to note, more is better than some and anything is better than nothing when it comes to exercise during this time.

Our team of Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists can create an exercise program tailored to your abilities and needs, to get your strength and fitness as good as possible before/during your treatment. This will also help you return to normal fitness post procedure.

Often our exercise prescription is guided by your performance during the Cardio Pulmonary Exercise Test (CPET) 

We can also provide you with education about lung exercises to reduce the risk of any issues developing in your lungs after your procedure.


When you undergo major surgery or a bone marrow transplant your body uses up lots of protein and calories in the healing and recovery process. We store protein in our muscles, so you want to make sure you have a good amount of muscle built up before you have surgery or a bone marrow transplant. You can do this by exercising and also eating and drinking enough high protein foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, as well as nuts and legumes. Your dietitian may also suggest some protein supplement drinks.

Some patients with cancer have difficulty eating enough in the lead up to their procedure due to a poor appetite. Some patients may also have lost weight without trying, which means they are likely to have lost some of their muscle mass. To prevent muscle loss, it is important to maintain your current weight and not to lose weight in the weeks before your procedure, no matter what your weight is. If you have lost weight without trying or are having difficulties eating and drinking, the dietitian will help you work through these issues and help you to increase your muscle and body stores.

Psychology/Strategies to help prepare for treatment:

Looking after your psychological wellbeing helps you to cope with, and recover from, your surgery or transplant. This can help improve your quality of life, reduce physical symptoms and improve your mood. Our Clinical Psychologists can offer a range of psychological therapies and interventions to help you prepare and adjust to the emotional and psychological challenges of your cancer and upcoming procedure. Our psychologists will adapt their approach to meet your needs.