What Is Cancer Rehabilitation?
Studies have shown that cancer rehabilitation improves pain, physical function and quality of life in cancer patients.
Cancer rehabilitation, also known as oncology rehabilitation, treats neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and functional problems experienced by cancer patients during and long after their cancer treatment.
These problems can include a deteriorated range of motion, swelling in arms and legs, pain, unsteadiness, tissue mobility, strength and limb mobility, fatigue and more. As an example, radiation cancer treatment can cause affected tissue, as it heals, to shorten and lose elasticity. Cancer rehabilitation techniques and exercises help to restore that tissue to a more normal state.
Cancer rehabilitation does not treat cancer, rather the effects of cancer surgery, reconstruction, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormonal and biological therapies. The goal is to improve quality of life during and after cancer treatment and help you participate in activities that are important to you.
Talk to your patient navigator or family physician to find out if cancer rehabilitation will benefit you or your family member. Our clinics are open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Common Physical Problems Associated with Cancer Treatment
- Post-operative swelling
- Risk of infection
- Decreased strength
- Decreased range of motion
- Tissue tightness and cording
- Decreased endurance and cardiac function
- Postural changes
- Mobility changes
OhioHealth Cancer Rehabilitation Focuses on Your Individual Needs
While going through cancer treatment, it can feel like everything is happening to you. In our cancer rehabilitation program, you can take back some control and feel like you’re in charge of a portion of your healing and recovery. That’s because we work with you collaboratively, creating a therapy plan based on your needs and your goals that fits your schedule.
- We listen to you and learn what’s essential for you in your healing and recovery.
- We understand your needs and schedule may change – we work on whatever you can and want to do on the days we meet with you.
- We partner with you at any point in the course of your cancer journey:
- Prior to treatment — to help your body prepare for surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- During and after treatment — to help you cope with side effects
- Long into survivorship — to help with any needs or goals that arise
- We empower you with at-home techniques and help you prepare to exercise safely at your gym, should that be something you want to do.
Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy
Specialized techniques focused on restoring function and assisting patients return to personal, occupational and recreational activities. These may include manual techniques for stretching, joint mobility, restoring flexibility and decreasing pain. Individualized exercise programs are designed to increase strength, range of motion, endurance and cardiac function.
We provide manual therapy treatments and techniques to reduce lymphatic fluid accumulation that relieves suffering from swelling to the limbs, most commonly associated with removal or treatment of lymph nodes. Techniques may include manual lymph drainage, compression, exercise and education. Our lymphedema therapy is offered at three locations: OhioHealth Bing Cancer Center, Grady Memorial Hospital and Marion General Hospital.
Team of Experts
Our cancer rehabilitation therapists specialize in recognizing, understanding and treating the various side effects that can result from cancer treatment.
- Physical therapists
- Physical therapist assistants
- Occupational therapists
The Benefits of Cancer Rehabilitation
Studies have shown that cancer rehabilitation improves pain, physical function and quality of life in cancer patients. Specifically, it can help with:
- Pain reduction/elimination
- Reduction and management of swelling
- Decreased risk of infection
- Increased strength
- Increased range of motion
- Improved tissue mobility
- Increased endurance and cardiac function
- Decreased fatigue
- Postural improvements
- Improved functional mobility
What to Expect
You can expect an individualized evaluation during a one-on-one appointment with a therapist. The therapist then creates a customized treatment plan.
A series of treatments can evolve over the course of your cancer journey. How often you come in depends on how long it takes for your goals to be reached and your schedule. Appointments can be made according to your needs, as you work with our therapists.
We’ll provide education and self-management techniques so you can continue your healing therapy at home. It’s more of how we empower you to be in charge of your cancer wellness.