At Cancer Centre London, we have a physiotherapy team who specialise in treating people with cancer. We aim to:

  • support you through your treatment from the point of diagnosis onwards
  • help you manage the side effects of cancer treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • support you to continue or resume the activities that are important to you, which may include work, hobbies or sport
  • improve your quality of life.

Your physiotherapy sessions

We offer individual physiotherapy sessions. These sessions are based on your health needs, the latest clinical evidence and the goals agreed at your initial assessment.

Physiotherapy sessions at Cancer Centre London can include:

  • individual treatments for cancer-related musculoskeletal and neurological problems
  • exercise programmes and stretches for weakness, stiffness, pain, peripheral neuropathy (a type of nerve damage) and general wellbeing
  • balance and neurological rehabilitation
  • mobility assessment and provision of mobility aids
  • advice on how to maintain your activity levels during treatment
  • management of breathlessness and other respiratory symptoms
  • advice on adjusting to life after cancer treatment and returning to sports and hobbies
  • fatigue (tiredness) management sessions to help you conserve your energy levels.

Other physiotherapy treatments and services

Our physiotherapy team may recommend that you access other physiotherapy services at the nearby Parkside Hospital, such as:

  • Pilates classes or individual Pilates sessions: These sessions are designed to improve your posture and core strength after surgery. They can also help you to regain strength and flexibility during and after chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
  • Specialised Pilates classes for bone health: These are classes to support your bone health. They are suitable if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia (conditions that weaken the bones) or have a high risk of developing osteoporosis.
  • Hydrotherapy: This is a type of physiotherapy in the heated pool at Parkside Hospital. The water pressure can help to manage swelling and lymphoedema symptoms caused by a build-up of fluid in your tissues after cancer treatment.

Specialised breast cancer physiotherapy

At Cancer Centre London, we provide specialist breast cancer physiotherapy. The service is available if you have had breast and/or axilla (armpit) surgery as part of your cancer treatment. For example, you may benefit from this specialist physiotherapy if you have had:

  • a mastectomy (an operation to remove one or both breasts)
  • axillary node clearance (an operation to remove the lymph nodes from your armpit)
  • a lumpectomy (an operation to remove a breast cancer tumour and a small amount of normal tissue around it, but not the breast itself)
  • breast reconstruction surgery (where an implant or a flap of tissue from another part of your body is used to rebuild your breast).

The aim of our specialist breast cancer physiotherapy service is to restore the normal function of your shoulder, chest wall and neck area. This can help you to resume your usual daily routine, physical activity and work.

As part of your treatment programme for breast cancer, your physiotherapy may include:

  • Myofascial release: This is a manipulative therapy, which involves applying gentle pressure to release tension in the myofascial tissues that surround and support the muscles throughout your body. Myofascial release may be suitable if you experience cording (an uncomfortable feeling like a tight cord) or scarring in the armpit.
  • Range of motion exercises: Your physiotherapist may recommend range of motion and strengthening exercises.
  • Practical advice: You may be given practical advice on returning to physical activity.
  • Lymphoedema advice: Your physiotherapist may give you general advice to manage lymphoedema (a build-up of fluid in the tissues after cancer treatment). If necessary, we can refer you to our lymphoedema service for manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), bandaging and compression garments to reduce swelling. For more information on the lymphoedema service at Cancer Centre London, please click here.

Our physiotherapists at Cancer Centre London

Our physiotherapists are members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Carla Reid (BSc, MRes, MCSP, HCPC), Specialist Oncology Physiotherapist

Carla Reid is a qualified, specialist oncology (cancer) physiotherapist. She has practised for more than 20 years in the NHS and specialised for 11 years in cancer care.

Carla works part-time in the NHS at the Royal Marsden Hospital, which is an internationally renowned cancer hospital. She works at Cancer Centre London for the rest of the week.

Carla aims to:

  • support people living with cancer through rehabilitation
  • minimise the physical impact of cancer and its treatment
  • improve quality of life at any stage of cancer, from diagnosis to palliative care.

Carla was awarded the prestigious National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and Health Education England Master of Research Degree in Clinical Practice. She completed this master’s degree in 2017, followed by an NIHR bridging fellowship in 2019.

Carla enjoys supporting her patients to work towards what is important to them. Her areas of interest include teenagers and young adults with cancer, haematology, stem cell transplants and breast cancer.

Sarah Gleeson, Specialist Oncology Physiotherapist

Sarah Gleeson is currently on maternity leave and her profile will follow.

How to make a physiotherapy appointment

For more information on the physiotherapy service at Cancer Centre London, please call 020 8247 3351 or email


Cancer Centre London

Parkside Hospital

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