The Benefits of Rehab for Cancer Patients
Cancer and cancer treatments can be debilitating and have lasting effects on a patient’s daily performance, impacting physical, cognitive, emotional and social functioning.
It is not uncommon for patients undergoing cancer treatment to experience side effects such as loss of strength and mobility, fatigue, pain, difficulty walking or speaking, pelvic pain, impaired balance and more.
How can rehab help?
Cancer rehabilitation has been shown to relieve, eliminate and in some cases even prevent side effects of treatment. Patients work with a team of specialists to help them recover.
- Physical therapists help to improve strength, range of motion, soft tissue mobility, endurance, gait and balance. They also provide pelvic floor therapy for sexual dysfunction and bowel and bladder incontinence. Physical therapists will also treat lymphedema, which is swelling of the lymph nodes that is often associated with cancer treatment.
- Occupational therapists work with you on re-mastering activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing, grocery shopping and laundry. They also help with the ability to remember and manage daily activities, help with activity pacing and energy conservation and work with the patient on stress reduction through mindfulness training and techniques.
- Speech and language therapists evaluate communication, swallowing and voice production. Speech-language pathologists also ensure a patient is breathing effectively and getting adequate nutrition.
- Each part of your care team will also work with you to develop a regimen of exercises and skills to work on at home as part of your recovery.
Cancer rehabilitation involves evaluating and treating a patient from diagnosis through treatment and into survivorship. The best treatment is achieved when patients are referred at diagnosis and guided by their therapy team throughout the course of care.
Early detection and rehabilitation interventions may prevent some side effects and may greatly reduce the severity of others.
Therapy is also a great option for children undergoing cancer treatment, as pediatric therapists are dedicated to helping your child be a child – to learn, play, move and grow – throughout their cancer treatment and recovery.
Why choose therapy?
Successful cancer care is not only about eliminating or slowing the disease progression; it is also important to minimize loss of function, maximize the body’s performance post-treatment and help patients live their fullest lives at all points during their care. Therapy and rehabilitation help to treat the whole person with an integrative approach, bridging traditional cancer care with a patient’s day-to-day needs.
Regardless of the symptoms a patient may have after undergoing cancer treatment, the team of specialists at Ochsner can ultimately help patients return to things that are important and meaningful to them. We can help them move forward and find new ways of doing what they did before. In some cases, recovery may mean adapting to a new way of living.
Cancer rehabilitation can provide healing benefits throughout the course of and following treatment, well into survivorship. Get started on the road to recovery today: Find an outpatient Therapy & Wellness clinic near you.