Early detection and treatment advances have increased the chances of surviving a cancer diagnosis. That’s good news. However, many cancer survivors face side effects and lasting problems that affect their daily lives. Our Outpatient Oncology Rehabilitation program specializes in the evaluation and treatment of physical, functional and neurological complications of cancer and cancer treatments. We can help with issues such as acute and chronic pain, weakness, muscle spasm, neuropathy, lymphedema, speech, balance, range of motion and much more. Our multidisciplinary team includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, lymphedema therapists and speech language pathologists who work closely with your oncologist. This comprehensive team takes a patient-centered approach to restoring function and independence while promoting healthy lifestyle practices that can prevent cancer recurrence.
Treatment and Rehabilitation
Cancer rehabilitation goes hand-in-hand with cancer treatment, recovery and survivorship. Maintaining strength, nutrition and overall health work together to help the body recover from cancer treatments, and expertly guided physical therapy can help improve recovery from surgery and minimize loss of mobility and function. In addition, maintaining a healthy lifestyle -- including exercise and proper nutrition -- has been shown to decrease the chances of cancer recurrence.
Cancer Prehabilitation or “Prehab” is one or more interventions performed in a newly diagnosed cancer patient that are designed to improve physical and mental health outcomes as the patient undergoes treatment and beyond. Cancer prehabilitation uses a multidisciplinary approach combining exercise, nutritional, and psychological strategies to prepare patients for the challenges of cancer treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy. Prehabilitation is also used to establish baseline measurements to better monitor signs of lymphedema. The goal of cancer prehabilitation is to prevent or lessen the severity of anticipated treatment-related problems that could lead to later disability. Some of the benefits differ depending on the population of cancer patients. For example, in a man with newly diagnosed prostate cancer, urinary incontinence is an anticipated treatment related complication of surgery. A program of prehabilitation that focuses on pelvic floor strengthening can reduce incontinence
Physical therapists teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition and achieve long-term health benefits. An individualized treatment plan is developed for each patient using techniques that promote movement, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability. Physical therapists are experts in how the body moves, and we will collaborate with you and your physician to help you achieve long- term health.
Occupational therapists help patients regain and build skills needed to function independently. We assess and treat patients with physical and cognitive impairments by focusing on daily activities (dressing, bathing, sleep hygiene, meal preparation, home management). We also teach patients and caregivers how to use adaptive equipment that can make daily life easier. In addition to working with patients to improve cognition and physical wellbeing, we also address social and environmental issues that may affect activities of daily living.
Lymphedema therapists are specially trained physical or occupational therapists who help manage swelling of the arm, leg, groin, trunk, head or neck that can develop when surgery or radiation treatments affects the lymph nodes. We assist in detecting and preventing the progression of lymphedema with clinical treatment and education, and aid in managing the condition at home.
We provide specialty care for laryngectomies, including pre-laryngectomy and tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) consultations; voice restoration via alaryngeal speech evaluation and training (electrolarynx and TEP); fitting for heat-moisture exchanger and appropriate housing; and TEP prosthesis changes, maintenance and care. We also host a support group for oral, head and neck cancer patients (SPOHNC).