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Cheryl Guarna, PT, MPT, CLT
Rehab Helps Cancer Survivors Get Back To Living
Oncology Rehab and Wellness Resources, LLC
. http://oncrehabandwellness.com/

Rehab Helps Cancer Survivors Get Back To Living

Throughout a person’s cancer experience, it is critical to maintain the things in life that are important energy, activity levels, and relationships. In fact, research shows that an active lifestyle that includes exercise can actually enhance your body’s recovery and contribute to a better quality of life during and after cancer treatment.

Survival rates are steadily increasing for those affected by cancer. More people than ever before live through a cancer occurrence, but it brings new challenges. For many cancer survivors the life-saving interventions may take a toll on the human body. So, while the fight against cancer is won, patients may experience debilitating side effects that can be long lasting. Fatigue, joint pain/stiffness, weakness, muscular pain, mobility limitations, lymphedema, neuropathy, significant physical deconditioning are just some of the after effects possible with cancer treatments – and may not show up until years after treatment ends.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor Lost in Transition documented that many patients complete cancer treatment with functional deficits, in addition to the psychosocial, financial, medical and occupational issues that are not adequately addressed.

A comprehensive assessment completed by a physical therapist is beneficial for improving a cancer patient’s ability to safely transition to an independent exercise/activity program or getting back to doing the things that may you happy. Cancer survivors’ rehabilitation assessment (and possibly rehabilitation) needs will depend on many factors, including the treatment methods used (i.e. chemotherapy, surgery or radiation), the level of prolonged bed rest or inactivity experienced and most importantly what the survivors’ post-treatment goals may be.

With all of the possible complications, it is prudent to seek out the advice of your oncology team, including a trained cancer rehabilitation clinician, prior to beginning any independent exercise or activity program. It is through their knowledge that any contraindications to certain activities or exercises can be identified and modifications to your program will be made. Failure to do so, in some circumstances, can place a cancer survivor at risk of serious complications.

Physical therapy for cancer survivors can be life changing. It is important that survivors know that they do not have to accept their “new normal”. Cancer rehab is available to help survivors get back to living after or with cancer.

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