CANCER survivor Adam Ramanauskas has urged Hawthorn fans to temper their expectations of an early-season return for Jarryd Roughead.

Roughead's Hawks teammates are hoping the star forward may be available for round one in 2017 after he returned to pre-season training on Monday.

He missed the 2016 season to treat a cancer that started as a melanoma before spreading to other parts of this body.

Essendon premiership player Ramanauskas is remembered for his brave battle with cancer and his lion-hearted return to football.

Ramanauskas said despite it being a clear positive in his recovery, Roughead's pre-season participation didn't point to a impending return.

"What can happen, if he pushes it too hard, too early, that can be a major setback for weeks at a time, not just a day or two," Ramanauskas told RSN radio on Tuesday.

"I think he's out there, he's enjoying training and he's seeing how it goes.

"There's a lot of issues around getting your heart-rate too elevated in the early stages of his recovery. He'll need to be very, very mindful of that."

Ramanauskas has been an advocate for cancer sufferers since he was diagnosed with a tumour in 2003 before recovering to return to senior football.

He said it was up to Roughead and doctors to determine his workload, but his own progress back to health was slow.

"There's no real hard and fast rules about what you can and can't do," Ramanauskas said.

"So it'll be really up to Jarryd to say, 'Yeah, I feel good, I can keep going' or 'No, I'm not feeling good at these stages'.

"I know for myself when I came back from cancer, there were just periods where I trained for a couple of days and have to have two or three days off training just because you would exhaust yourself."

Adam Ramanauskas after his last game for Essendon in 2008. Picture: AFL Photos