Oncology Rehabilitation is a relatively new clinical specialty practice area for physical and occupational therapists that focuses on conditions created directly from the impact of cancer or the adverse effects of cancer treatment. This unique set of therapeutic skills impacts the entire cancer journey – from prevention strategies, early diagnosis and treatment, and throughout survivorship. Advances in cancer treatment have led to improvements in survival rates, driving a higher demand for oncology physical therapy services. The most common cancer treatments, such as chemo and radiation therapy, can weaken the cancer patient, compromising their health and limiting their physical abilities. Cancer rehabilitation with a professional physical therapist is essential for cancer survivors so they can return to daily activities.
There are four distinct phases of Oncology Rehabilitation
- Preventative: The primary focus is on reducing the chance of developing impairments or loss of function
- Restorative: This phase addresses the functional needs of the individual, stabilizing and optimizing function to the fullest extent possible
- Supportive: In the face of progressive disease, supportive therapy reduces the decline in function and maximizes the quality of life
- Palliative: Our focus is to maintain quality of life in the face of disease
Sunshine Cancer Rehabilitation Services
As an outpatient provider, Sunshine targets most cases’ preventative and restorative phases of rehab. Health promotion, education, and specific interventions to improve the following common conditions from cancer treatment are our priorities:
- Lymphedema prevention and management
- Chemotherapy-induced cognitive Impairment (CICI)
- Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN)
- Weakness and cancer-related fatigue (CRF)
- Cardiotoxicity from chemotherapy
- Balance impairments and high risk for falls
- Mobility and tissue restrictions following surgery
- Surgical reconstruction, such as breast implants
- Radiation Fibrosis
- Pelvic Floor dysfunction – incontinence management, pain, sexual dysfunction
- Pre-habilitation – rehab before surgery; preparing for the best possible outcomes
- Return to work, activities of daily living, and general activity guidance
- Family and caregiver education
Many cancer survivors, especially those who had prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, or breast cancer, turn to oncology rehabilitation services for help. This is because they may have problems with swelling or weak muscles in certain parts of their body. Lymphedema is common among breast cancer survivors, and pelvic floor dysfunction is common among survivors of genitourinary cancers.
As an outpatient provider, Sunshine focuses primarily on the preventative and restorative phases of recovery, with an indivisible approach to each patient’s goals and needs. Therapy is essential every step of the way, and we communicate with your oncology team as much as possible to keep everyone on the same page. You can trust us to adapt to your changing needs before, during, and after your cancer journey. Call for an appointment today!