Cancer rehabilitation focuses on practical day-to-day issues such as maximizing strength and adjusting to physical challenges at work, at home or at play. Rehabilitation services at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute are provided by therapists who are specially trained in oncology care. Your cancer rehabilitation therapist will work closely with your doctor to ensure that your symptoms are managed effectively and your abilities are restored quickly.
Most cancer patients can benefit from cancer rehabilitation, and the service is covered by most insurance plans.
Following are some examples of ways in which cancer rehabilitation can help.
Cancer-related fatigue, or CRF, is a persistent sense of tiredness that is common among people have cancer or are undergoing cancer treatment. Randomized clinical trials have shown that patients whose treatment plans include exercise report a dramatic decrease in CRF. Your cancer rehabilitation therapist can design a program for you that effectively combats cancer-related fatigue with appropriate exercise.
A common side-effect of chemotherapy is peripheral neuropathy —a numbness or tingling in the fingers and feet. Through exercises designed to strengthen the hands and improve coordination, and through desensitization techniques and the use of adaptive equipment, you can reduce the impact of these and other side-effects and regain function.
Our breast-cancer specialty services include scar-management training and instruction on techniques to reduce the risk of lymphedema for women who have undergone mastectomy, axillary dissection or reconstructive surgery. For women with lymphedema, treatment may include instruction in skin care and limb health, lymph-drainage massage and bandaging techniques.
If you have undergone surgery of the head, neck or lungs, you will likely face limitations and limited range of motion in your upper extremities. Our therapists can help to restore range of motion with gentle, therapeutic exercises. We also provide scar management and a customized aerobic-exercise plan, which progresses to a strength-building program.
A tumor of the brain or spine can cause difficulty with movement, balance, coordination or perception. Through specific exercises and adaptive equipment, cancer rehabilitation can help you to overcome these obstacles.
Treatment also includes exercise and gentle conditioning and stretching to improve strength and restore function.