Cancer Rehabilitation Programs

A detailed guide on Cancer Rehabilitation Programs:

Cancer often causes physical as well as mental trauma to most of its patients. Cancer’s treatment leaves behind traces of psychological, cognitive and physical damage. These make it even harder to endure and take part in day-to-day chores or continue having a career. 

Cancer may have a lasting effect on the patient’s health. However, cancer rehabilitation can help in getting life back to its normal pace. The process of rehabilitation can begin during the treatment or after its completion. The prime goals of cancer rehabilitation are:

  • Become an active member of society and participate in everyday work, pursue a career, attend to family, and handle other life roles and responsibilities
  • Decrease cancer’s symptoms and side effects of its treatment
  • Become self-dependent again
  • Improve the quality of life

These cancer rehabilitation services are provided by highly trained rehabilitation specialists who will offer care during treatment, survivorship and follow-up care.

Major problems that cancer rehabilitation resolves are:

  • Physical problems such as
  • Discomfort
  • Inflammation
  • Loss of strength and overall weakness
  • Issues with flexibility and range of motion
  • Lower endurance
  • Skin alteration due to radiation therapy
  • Accumulation of lymph
  • Inability to maintain balance issues 
  • Basophobia (fear of falling) 
  • Tingling and numbness in feet and hands
  • Weariness
  • Sexual dysfunctionality
  • Inability to swallow
  • A sensation of pain while chewing food

Mobility Issues 

Mobility is being able to move freely, a lot of times after cancer treatment, patients face difficulty in moving around. Cancer rehabilitation in such cases can be of great help in such cases:

  • Getting up off the low ground
  • Standing up out of a chair
  • Climbing up a flight of stairs
  • Walking
  • Dressing up
  • Bathing

Cognitive Issues 

Battling through cancer takes a huge toll on a patient’s mental abilities. Cancer rehabilitation could help the case of one such patient tremendously. Some of the symptoms of cognitive disturbance are:

  • Inability to multitasking
  • Mental fogginess
  • Having a hard time remembering stuff

Kinds of rehabilitation specialists:

The professionals listed here are examples of various kinds of cancer rehabilitation experts that can become a part of your battle against cancer and assist you in being able to do day-to-day activities independently. Based on your unique requirements, you can take the assistance of 1 or more of such specialists during your cancer treatment and rehabilitation. Here you can learn everything that you can expect when you visit any of these rehabilitation professionals. Here is a list of types of experts:

Physical therapists (PT): Physical therapists’ expertise in assisting people to restore or improve their mobility. PTs also assist in reducing or eliminating pain. Oncology physical therapists specifically work with patients who have survived cancer or still have it.

Occupational therapists (OT): Occupational therapists assist in maximizing the ability, convenience, and security of the patients through ordinary situations. These tasks include handling routine chores, for example, dressing and bathing. Occupational therapists also illustrate the ways with which a patient can reduce the amount of effort being dedicated to a certain task. This helps in managing fatigue and various other physical limitations.

Speech pathologists (SLP): A speech pathologist specializes in swallowing and communication dysfunctions. SLPs help patients in maintaining their ability to swallow and eat even after radiation and chemotherapy for neck and head cancers. SLPs may additionally assist patients with cognitive issues, such as organization skills and memory.

Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists: These professionals are also known as physiatrists. They expertise in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders related to nerves, muscles, and bones. Dysfunctioning bones, nerves and muscles can completely alter how the patients function and move. These rehabilitation specialists mainly work with patients who need assistance in pain management.

Lymphedema therapists: These therapists assess and handle lymphedema. Lymphedema therapists aim at controlling and reducing any swelling or pain. Quite often, they use procedures like bandaging methods, compression garments, exercises, and specialized massages.

Cognitive psychologists: These specialists are also known as neuropsychologists. They have expertise in recognizing behavior related functions of the brain. Cognitive psychologists often assist in managing the “chemobrain.” This term is often used to describe cognitive problems that occur only to patients who are suffering from cancer.

Vocational counselors: These specialists assist patients in going back to work during or after their cancer treatments. Vocational counselors can also help a patient in re-learning how to perform day-to-day tasks more comfortably. 

Recreational therapists: These therapists help in maintaining and treating a patient’s mental, emotional as well as physical well-being. Recreational therapists aim to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress from the life of the cancer patient. The therapists also support in building the patient’s confidence and strengthening their personal skills. This kind of therapy also offers a variety of treatment services, through exercises such as games, art, physical exercises, music, and dance.

Dietitians/nutritionists: Nutrition and food are a truly important part of a patient’s recovery journey. Oncology nutritionists assist patients in understanding nutrition guidelines, unique for every specific type of cancer. Dietitians also help patients in adopting healthier eating ways to diminish the chance of cancer recurrence. 

Exercise physiologists: These expert physiologists examine a patient’s health to encourage them to improve their function. Stress tests and many other tools are used in this process. Exercise physiologists judge cardiovascular metabolism and function. These rehabilitation specialists also design fitness programs that meet the requirements of patients after and during cancer treatment. 

When should I get cancer rehabilitation?

You should take up an active role in your medical rehabilitation and care. Talk to your cancer care team about rehabilitation whenever there is a shift in your symptoms that affect your usual duties and make them a burden. Are you experiencing any of these?

  • Do you have a hard time getting around?
  • Are you experiencing weakness, pain, etc.?
  • Is Do you have trouble thinking clearly?

Noticing and addressing change is quite important. These developments can sometimes be life-threatening. For example, if you are putting off work because of pain in a leg may lead to lower physical activity, which in turn can cause more harm. You can consult with your cancer care team and decide how helpful a cancer rehabilitation specialist can be for your case even before starting the cancer treatment.

Cheak Out: Cancer Treatment Options