Published on April 13, 2021

Cancer Rehabilitation Offers Hope

woman talking with doctor

Dealing with cancer can be overwhelming for both you and your family members. While adjusting to the new routine and treatments, you may experience several unbalanced emotions, unusual physical symptoms and mental changes. Cancer rehabilitation can reduce these troubling effects and helping you have the best quality of life possible.

Cancer rehabilitation is much like other forms of rehabilitation often recommended after a serious illness or injury such as a stroke or car accident. Rehabilitation professionals can help you cope with a wide variety of cancer and/or treatment-related conditions and their symptoms. These might include, but are not limited to, pain, weakness, fatigue, shoulder problems, balance and walking (gait) problems, memory and concentration issues, swallowing and speech problems, swelling (lymphedema), and anxiety and/or depression.

Rehabilitation is recommended once a person is medically stable. The number of therapy sessions will be based on how impaired you are. Depending on the rehabilitation setting (outpatient or inpatient), sessions can last from 30 minutes to an hour.

Treatment may include:

  • Balance activities/exercises
  • Weight lifting
  • Endurance activities
  • Memory strategies
  • Oral/mouth exercises to improve swallowing
  • Massage
  • Pain management techniques

Some therapy settings allow a therapist to accompany a patient in the community to assess safety and independence and identify opportunities for improvement.

Patients who have participated in therapy report improvement in their quality of life as they learn how to adjust and cope with the present. Patients have been able to attend important family functions without being overly tired, walk in the park or go shopping without increased pain, and play with children or grandchildren without fear of falling or running out of energy. Some patients return to work because they were able manage the multi-tasking demands of the job by using the mental strategies they learned in therapy.

Through cancer rehabilitation, small things that were once taken for granted become huge milestone achievements. No goal is less important than another when it comes to your quality of life.

Through cancer rehabilitation, small things that were once taken for granted become huge milestone achievements.