Living with Cancer

What is Cancer Rehabilitation?

Cancer rehabilitation helps the people to solve the problems caused during the process of treatment or after the treatment is done. These problems include physical, psychological, and cognitive problems. This rehabilitation helps people to do their daily routine work more smoothly. And the goal of cancer rehabilitation is to: 

  • Help your emotional health to be in a stable state and to do your work.
  • Decrease the symptoms and side effects of your cancer treatment.
  • Improve your quality of life.

Types of Problems that come under cancer rehabilitation 

Physical problems

The physical problems that can be addressed by cancer rehabilitation are as follows:

  • Pain.
  • Fatigue. 
  • Swelling.
  • Neuropathy
  • Lymphedema
  • Sexual dysfunction. 
  • Decreased endurance. 
  • Problems swallowing. 
  • Weakness and loss of strength.
  • Balance issues and fear of falling.
  • Skin changes from radiation therapy.

Mobility problems

Cancer rehabilitation can help the person to solve problems related to moving around like:

  • Walking and showering.
  • Getting up off the floor.
  • Getting out of a chair.
  • Climbing stairs.
  • Dressing up.

Cognitive problems

These Cognitive problems are related to the mental abilities of a cured person. you need to consult you your doctor if you are facing the following issues:

  • Memory trouble. 
  • Difficulty in multitasking.
  • Difficulty in thinking clearly or mental fogginess.

Cancer Rehabilitation Professionals

Every cancer care team consists of the following types of rehabilitation professionals. Depending on your need, you can visit one or more specialists during cancer treatment and recovery. The list of these specialists is as follows

  • Physical therapist (PT).  PTs have a specialization in improving the mobility of recovered people. They help in the reduction of physical pain also. Oncology PTs are one of these types of therapists who work with cancer survivors.
  • Occupational therapist (OT).  OTs have a specialization in maximizing the safety parameters of patients during their living environment. It includes managing daily tasks, such as bathing and dressing, and other health-related activities. They provide plans to reduce the work effort for each task. It helps people to get relief from fatigue and other limitations.
  • Speech pathologist (SLP).  SLPs specialized in maintaining people’s swallowing and eating ability after radiation therapy and chemotherapy. It is related to people who have head and neck cancers. An SLP also helps in reducing cognitive problems by improving their memory and organization skills.
  • Physiatrist.  Physiatrists role is to maintain the stability of the person in moving and perform their physical activities. They also called physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists. They treat nerve, muscle, and bone disorders of the infected people.
  • Lymphedema therapist. Lymphedema therapists are experts for treating lymphedema. They use techniques like compression garments, massages, bandaging methods, and exercises to reduce swelling and controlling pain. 
  • Cognitive psychologist.  These psychologists are also called as neuropsychologists, having expertise in understanding brain-behavior. During cancer treatment, people face “chemobrain,” a cognitive problem.
  • Vocational counselor.  Vocational counselors help people finding a peaceful mind and healthful working conditions after they return from cancer treatment. They help people schedule to plan their tasks more efficiently.
  • Recreational therapist. Recreational therapists help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression of the person by maintaining their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. They help to develop personal skills and provides treatment in many ways, including art, exercise, games, dance, and music.
  • Dietitian. A dietitian helps in providing food and nutrition measures by providing proper guidelines. They provide related information for each type of cancer patients during treatment. They also help in adopting optimized health habits to reduce cancer reoccurrence.
  • Exercise physiologist. Exercise physiologists help in maintaining a person’s fitness and other physical activities. Using their specialized tools, they evaluate cardiovascular function and metabolism and provide the best fitness plans during and after the treatment of cancer diseases.

Need for Cancer rehabilitation 

You need to be proactive, and you can decide that when you need to take this cancer rehabilitation. If you notice a change in symptoms during the treatment or before attending treatment, you can consult your health care team for help. This situation can be easily identified by yourself in situations like getting more pain, weakness, and other symptoms and getting trouble during thinking in your daily routine.

You need to address these types of changes as soon as they are showing effects in your health conditions. Otherwise, they get stiff over time and cause more problems over time. Consult your health team before the issue gets more worsen. You can ask your health care professional to consult a rehabilitation expert before you start cancer treatment.

The rehabilitation professional assesses your behavior towards the treatment process and helps in balancing your physical and emotional conditions. This approach can increase the symptoms and problems related to many issues of your life.