The cancer survival rate is at 65% and getting better. This hopeful development comes as a result of intense cancer treatments that prove to be more effective. But more intense treatment also comes with other side effects: cancer survivors often experience pain, fatigue, and poor mental health post-treatment. That’s why cancer rehabilitation is more important than ever, because it can improve the quality of life for cancer survivors. Below, we list some innovations in cancer rehabilitation that enhance your recovery, along with ways rehabilitation can improve your quality of life.
Options for Cancer Care
The extent of care for cancer patients has expanded and specialized to better meet their needs. Cancer treatments don’t always include recovery as part of the treatment process. However, this is beginning to change, and prehabilitation and rehabilitation are more frequently becoming part of cancer programs.
Before Treatment: Prehabilitation
Prehabilitation is not always considered an essential part of cancer survival and recovery, but breakthrough research indicates that prehab increases cancer survival and recovery afterward. Prehabilitation care prepares someone mentally and physically to endure cancer treatments. This preparation has helped many become more confident and physically ready as they enter treatment, and research demonstrates improved recovery after treatment. Other benefits include increased endurance, mental stamina, and physical strength.
Our prehabilitation program involves assessing your current mobility and functional levels and developing an exercise program to address any need areas. The program is completed before cancer treatment begins to help teach you how to strengthen your body and tolerate the effects of cancer treatment better. During your care, we also educate you on ways to improve your overall health and reduce the risk of side effects. Education on exercise/activity safety during treatment gives you a better understanding of how you can remain as active as possible to reduce the physical decline (“deconditioning”) that can occur during treatment. This program has helped reduce anxiety regarding cancer treatment and informed patients of the steps to take if any complications occur. Read more about what our prehabilitation program entails here.
After Treatment: Rehabilitation
After-treatment care requires a more tailored approach, since patients can have different side effects that require specific solutions. Meeting with a physical therapist to discuss your post-treatment effects will help your therapist choose appropriate exercises and stretches to alleviate any physical ailments.
Oncology physical therapy care differs from ‘regular’ physical therapy in that the programs are specifically designed to treat post-cancer treatment impairments. These may include muscular weakness, debilitating cancer-related fatigue (CRF), decline in activity tolerance/endurance/stamina, balance loss, muscular atrophy/loss of muscle mass, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and lymphedema. At ORW, we have developed a structured protocol in four phases (our “Cancer Recovery Program”) to help you regain your strength and stamina, balance and return to doing the things you love. The program is individually tailored to your specific needs and progressed according to your tolerance. You can learn more about our cancer recovery program here.
Innovating with Telehealth
While telehealth is not a new feature for some caregivers, the onset of COVID-19 led to the rapid new appearance of many platforms that could host online calls and care, especially telehealth. Telehealth provides specialized care over a face-to-face call and allows those with limited mobility or pre-existing conditions to remain in the comfort of their homes.
ORW offers telehealth services for qualified patients through a user-friendly platform. We can perform many of our in-person services via video without a decrease in quality care. A sample video call can involve evaluating your symptoms, performing a detailed assessment of your overall function, and providing a treatment plan, including therapeutic exercise and pain management. We encourage patients who have concerns about in-person visits to consider our telehealth services, which are available here.
Oncology Rehabilitation and Wellness fills the gap between cancer treatment programs and the growing need for recovery programs. Our expanded offerings in physical therapy for prehabilitation and rehabilitation prove consistently effective. We believe every cancer patient deserves holistic quality care that addresses every aspect of their mental and physical condition.
If you are looking for a therapist or would like to learn more about our services, you can sign up for our complimentary 15 minute consultation. Feel free to also email us at info@oncrehabandwellness with any questions.