Cancer rehabilitation is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to the evaluation and treatment of patients diagnosed with various forms of cancer. Individualized therapy sessions, a variety of treatment techniques and evidence based practice are utilized in order to maximize the benefits of exercise throughout the disease process. Cancer rehabilitation can address functional issues such as weakness, soft tissue tightness, joint stiffness, fatigue and swelling or edema. Therapists are available in multiple treatment settings including: pre-operative, post-operative, acute care, home health, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. Therapy staff work in conjunction with the medical team to design components of a survivorship care plan in order to optimize overall functional outcomes.
Who would benefit from cancer rehabilitation?
Cancer rehabilitation is appropriate for individuals undergoing the following medical management:
- Radiation therapy and chemotherapy
Therapy services are also appropriate to address ongoing exercise and wellness needs as well as to provide recommendations for hospice needs/services.
What does cancer rehabilitation involve?
After a thorough evaluation and development of a plan of care, treatment often consists of:
- Survivorship care plan (exercise, wellness, bone health)
- Range of motion, strengthening and cardiovascular exercise
- Joint, soft tissue and scar mobilization
- Desensitization techniques
- Balance re-training/ falls risk reduction
- Breathing/relaxation, energy conservation and lifestyle modification techniques
- Lymphedema management including:
- Skin care
- Decongestive exercises
- Compression therapy including measurement and fitting of off the shelf and custom garments
- Manual lymph drainage
How long will cancer rehabilitation take?
The length of cancer rehabilitation varies depending on when therapy is initiated, the severity of symptoms and the patient’s goals for rehabilitation. Therapy services are often coordinated with the patient’s current treatment regimen in order to maximize tolerance and convenience as well as to improve function. A typical frequency may be one to two times per week and could last for several weeks or a few months in order to maximize progress and functional outcomes.