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Cancer Rehab Blog - Oncology Rehab and Wellness

Cancer-Related Deconditioning: A Serious Issue to Consider

Cancer and cancer treatments, while potentially life saving cause physical and functional complications for cancer patients. Of all cancer treatment complications, one of the most prevalent is cancer-related deconditioning. As defined by Wikipedia: Deconditioning is the adaptation of an organism to a less demanding environment, or, alternatively, the decrease of physiological adaptation to normal conditions. Deconditioning…
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What Can Cancer Rehab Help With?

Cancer rehabilitation, or physical therapy specialized in the treatment of cancer-related impairments is an available service for cancer patients and survivors that to date remains highly underutilized.  Interventions can help throughout the continuum of cancer care from the time of diagnosis though treatment and into palliative care and can assist patients with living their best…
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Is Cancer Rehab Right For You?

Many cancer patients and survivors deal with the after-effects of cancer treatment, such as pain and impaired functioning.  Many of these “late effects” can linger even years after cancer treatment has ended.  Nevertheless, few patients receive the needed care to address these issues.  Cancer rehabilitation, or physical therapy specializing in the physical problems related to…
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Physical Therapy After Lung Cancer Surgery: It Isn’t Just About Exercise!

After lung cancer surgery you may experience some difficulty with doing the things you are used to doing.  You may experience decreased endurance even during simple activities such as walking or shopping or doing the stairs.  It may hurt to cough, making it difficult to clear your lungs of congestion.  You may need some direction…
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Treating the Side-Effects of Cancer Treatment with Physical Therapy: CIPN

Chemotherapy – Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy or CIPN is a numbness and tingling in the hands and feet due to nerve damage from chemotherapy.  CIPN can lead to muscle weakness and balance problems.  According to The American Cancer Society two-thirds of patients undergoing chemotherapy will develop CIPN within a month of starting chemo. …
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Exercise as Standard Treatment in Patients With Cancer

Multiple national agencies (eg. The American College of Sports Medicine, American Cancer Society, National Comprehensive Cancer Network and The National Cancer Institute) all now recommend “avoidance of inactivity” for cancer patients.  As of last month, the above agencies, in cooperation with international experts in exercise oncology now recommend specific guidelines and activity recommendations for cancer…
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Some Things You Should Know About Cancer Rehab

Three Things You Should Know about Cancer Rehabilitation Despite improved outcomes for cancer patients due to ongoing advancements in cancer care, cancer and its treatments can often cause debilitating physical problems to include weakness, stiffness, balance loss, cognitive decline.  These effects can interfere with survivors’ recovery, their ability to complete treatment successfully and may decrease…
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How Physical Therapy Can Help With Pain After Breast Surgery

Pain after breast surgery?  How can rehab help?   Breast surgery is a lifesaving treatment for many women diagnosed with breast cancer.  If you and your cancer team have determined that breast surgery will be part of your treatment plan, you will be advised on what to expect after your surgery.  One side effect on…
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The Role of Lymphedema Therapists in Cancer Care

In our continuing highlight of specific therapists and services and their roles in cancer rehabilitation, this month we discuss the role of Certified Lymphedema Therapists in the treatment of patients with cancer. What is lymphedema? The lymphatic system plays a critical role in the maintenance of fluid balance in the body. It absorbs the fluid…
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Fighting Cancer-Related Fatigue With Exercise

FIGHTING CANCER RELATED FATIGUE WITH EXERCISE No longer is a cancer diagnosis a time to stop all physical activity and take it easy.  Quite the opposite.  Current research is recommending that patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation remain as active as possible.  The benefits of exercise within the general population are well-known. Historically, it has not…
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Cancer Rehab Assessments Minimize Complications After Treatments

Throughout a person’s cancer experience, it is critical to maintain the things in life that are important to you – energy, activity level, relationships. In fact, research shows that an active lifestyle that includes exercise can actually enhance your body’s recovery and contribute to a better quality of life during and after cancer treatment. Life…
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Exercising Safely After Breast Cancer Treatment: How to Get Started

I’m not usually one who says things like, “it takes a special person to do so and so,” but breast cancer survivors are special people. I’ve found that working with survivors challenges me and makes me want to go to work every day! We all know that exercise is good for us. We all know…
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Creating Better Systems for Cancer Rehab Care Coordination

The more I talk to cancer survivors and hear their stories, the more I believe the it is imperative we put in place guidelines for increasing cancer rehab referrals and improving care coordination. Survivors tell me that it is a huge burden to attend the multitude of appointment and tests associated with cancer treatment. Adding…
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Cancer Rehab: An Underutilized Aspect of Cancer Care

In 2005, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily, the cancer was diagnosed in the early stages, and she underwent a mastectomy of the affected breast followed by radiation of the surrounding tissue. The treatment was considered successful, and she remains cancer-free today. This being said, however, the disease and its treatments had other…
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Occupational Therapy for Individuals Living With Cancer

Since we started our blog in March of 2014, we have discussed the role of Physical Therapy (PT) in helping those with cancer recover more fully and improve their quality of life. We are now looking forward to expanding our discussions into the role of other therapies and interventions in cancer recovery, the first of…
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Cancer Rehab is Not One Size Fits All

In the past few weeks, I’ve talked about cancer rehab in general, various cancer certifications to look for, and I provided some tools to help you find qualified cancer rehab and fitness professionals. This is all important, if pragmatic, information. But now I want to share the more personal issues surrounding my decision to open…
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What Exactly is “Cancer Rehab”?

It has long been understood that exercise is beneficial for everyone. It is also agreed that medically directed exercise offered in rehab can help greatly after someone has had a stroke, surgery, heart attack, back injury and more. Rehab is also routinely ordered for someone who has had a joint replacement, sports injury or developed a neurological disease…
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Physical Therapy On the Cancer Journey – A Personal Perspective

By Cheryl Guarna, PT, CLT, STAR/C – Owner of Oncology Rehab and Wellness Resources The emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis is something that most cancer survivors will never forget. To add to that impact, the treatments used to treat the cancer can cause a multitude of complications that can affect a survivor’s life, some…
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Physical Therapy on the Cancer Journey

By Cheryl Guarna, PT, MPT, CLT, STAR/C When I tell people that I am a physical therapist that specializes in treating cancer patients, they often say, “That must be so hard.” I respond, “Actually, it would be better described as challenging but incredibly inspiring”.  Traditionally, physical therapists treat people after surgery, with sports injuries, or…
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Exercise Abates Physical Decline During Breast Cancer Tx

from ONCOLOGY/HEMATOLOGY 05.05.2015 A supervised, moderate to high-intensity exercise program in breast cancer patients helped stave off expected declines in fitness and function during adjuvant chemotherapy and improved treatment tolerance, according to randomized trial results. Patients enrolled in two exercise programs, Onco-Move and OnTrack, saw less decline in cardiorespiratory fitness (P<0.001), better physical functioning (P<0.001), less…
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Celebrating One Year of Blogging About Cancer Rehab!

Celebrating One Year of Blogging About Cancer Rehab! By Cheryl Guarna, PT, MPT, CLT, STAR/C March 2015 marks one year of our blog! The past 12 months have been an exciting time for our practice as well as for the advancement of awareness of physical therapy services available to cancer patients and survivors.    As…
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PALS-Trained Professionals in Northern Virginia

Oncology Rehab and Wellness Resources is the only clinic in the region with PALS-trained professionals. Read on to learn about this groundbreaking breast cancer exercise training program and the clinical trial that started it all.  Breast-cancer survivors are at risk of developing a condition called lymphedema, which causes swelling of the arm or other areas…
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Breast Cancer & Exercise: The Strong Getting Stronger

Breast cancer, its treatments, reconstruction surgery, and recovery bring with them many physical and psychosocial challenges. While there may be certain exercises you’ll need to avoid during certain times in your treatment and recovery (running, high impact aerobics, etc.), under the guidance of trained breast cancer rehab and/or exercise specialist, exercise is recommended by many…
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The Many Roles of a Cancer Caregiver

Being the primary caregiver for someone diagnosed with cancer is not for the faint of heart. It takes physical, financial and emotional stamina. You’ll be a cook, researcher, driver, nurse, organizer, sometimes cancer expert, support system, cheerleader, multi-tasker and more. It’s likely that your role will shift and change often depending on the ever-changing needs…
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Put Spring In Your Walk

Walking in the spring season is one of my favorite exercises. Yes! Walking is an exercise. Walking for even a few minutes every day provides many benefits. Keep it simple With a buddy or alone Around the block Live in your outdoor surroundings Walking strengthens your heart – Regular walking has been shown to reduce…
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How to Find a Qualified Cancer Exercise Trainer

Cancer treatments can affect the heart, lungs, and regulatory systems (heart rate, blood pressure), the nervous system, and the musculoskeletal system long after treatments are over. Some survivors pursue an exercise program, but unfortunately many do not. Advanced education enables exercise professionals to develop safe exercise programs that are tailored for each survivor’s specialized needs.…
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Finding a Qualified Cancer Rehab Therapist

As I discussed in last week’s blog, the importance of physical activity during and after cancer treatment is becoming more and more recognized. We now know that cancer treatments, while very effective at saving lives, can also damage organ systems leaving survivors at risk for complications even years after cancer treatment ends. Cancer rehab can…
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