Monday, 12 February 2018 00:00

What Exactly Is Cancer Rehabilitation?

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It has long been understood that medically directed exercise offered by rehabilitation professionals can help greatly after someone has had a stroke, surgery, sports injury, back injury and more. Historically, patients who have had cancer have been told “go home, rest, your treatment is finished, resume your life.”

The reality of the situation is that most cancer patients are left weakened from treatments to manage their disease and are often unable to resume their life, or resume the life they had prior to cancer. While some patients may be referred for therapy, a vast majority are not.

It is estimated that 65% – 90% of cancer patients develop life limiting impairments. It is also estimated that only 20% – 30% of those patients are referred to and receive therapy to address these impairments. As cancer survival rates continue to increase, the number of patients being left with life changing limitations is growing as well. Cancer rehab is becoming a critical need as more and more patients are surviving.

Cancer survivors need to be given the opportunity to live the best life they can, even if it may be different than before cancer. They need to be given the tools needed to address their new functional “normal”, not left to adapt to limitations that can usually be improved. Leaving certain issues and not addressing them early can lead to permanent disability, pain and diminished QOL. Cancer patients have unique needs and often special precautions to returning to activity or exercise. That’s where cancer rehab comes in.

Rehab professionals receive a broad based education and graduate as “generalist” therapists. Not unlike some physicians, therapists at some point in their medical career further their education in a certain specialty area.

Cancer rehab is rehabilitation for cancer survivors directed by therapists who have received education, training and specialty certifications in the identification and rehabilitation of impairments related to cancer and its treatments. They are knowledgeable in treatment protocols for specific impairments and problems that cancer patients often present with. They also understand the vast side effects of cancer treatments which can adversely affect the ability to safely exercise.

Improper or inadequate treatment of some of these impairments can negatively affect patients’ outcomes and possibly cause long term functional impairments. Cancer rehab is proven to be very successful for cancer survivors, improving their outcomes and overall quality of life.

Additional Info

  • Year: 2012
  • Month: January
Read 48 times

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