Post Cancer Rehabilitation

What is Rehabilitation for the Post-Cancer Patient?

After a patient has surgery, a plan is put in place to get them back to their everyday activities; the same should go for a post-cancer patient. A comprehensive rehabilitation program is crucial to a post-cancer patient. Many oncologists recognize this and urge their patients to participate in a physical therapy program, which can help relieve pain and restore movement that may have been lost as a result of cancer treatments including chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery. According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal, “Major cancer centers are taking steps to better coordinate rehabilitation after treatment – Medicare and most insurance companies are covering such services.”

Symptoms Post-Cancer Patients Experience

After undergoing harsh and debilitating cancer treatments, patients are often left with a number of symptoms that have major effects on their body. The inactivity or reduced activity is profound at the muscular level, as well as other areas of the body. Although each patient is different, these are some common physical symptoms post-cancer patients experience where rehabilitation would be beneficial:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight changes
  • Pain and/or numbness
  • Bladder/bowel control problems
  • Nervous system changes (neuropathy)
  • Loss of Strength
  • Lymphedema or swelling
  • Decreased Range of Motion

Treatment for Post-Cancer Patients

Physical therapy for a post-cancer patient will comprise mostly of exercise, cardiovascular reconditioning and strength training which will help mitigate the effects listed above. Exercise also improves strength, lessens fatigue and pain and has positive impacts on mood. Some specific physical therapy treatments for post-cancer patients include:

  • Modalities
  • Flexibility and strengthening exercises
  • Cardiovascular reconditioning and endurance training
  • Soft tissue mobilization and manual therapy
  • Education on conserving energy and correct body mechanics
Outpatient Physical Therapy