It can often be confusing for people diagnosed with cancer to figure out how to regain their function and strength during and after treatment.
Also, some people feel uncomfortable or are unsure of how to go about asking their doctors or their medical team for this type of advice. Cancer rehabilitation and exercise plays an important part in helping you return to work, home life, and regular activities during and after treatment.
Cancer rehabilitation helps you stay as active as possible and empowers you to participate in work, family, and other life roles, it also helps to lessen the side effects and symptoms of cancer and its treatment and can improve your overall quality of life.
How do I know if I need cancer rehabilitation?
Start by talking with your health care team about cancer rehabilitation any time you notice a change in your symptoms that makes you feel less active or that makes everyday tasks harder. Here are some of the signs that you may need rehabilitation services:
- Having more trouble getting around
- Experiencing pain, weakness, or swelling
- Having trouble with physical or mental activities around the house or at work
- Having trouble participating in hobbies or your usual exercise routine
- Having a hard time doing things you used to do
- Constantly feeling tired
- Feeling unsure about how to safely exercise during or after treatment
Be aware of any subtle changes in your health and your body, recognise the early symptoms or problems, and talk to your medical team about them so you can get help as soon as possible. You want to be seen early in your treatment so that any possible physical problems associated with your treatment plan can be detected and treated.
What should I expect from cancer rehabilitation?
The goal in this instance is for you to return to a pain-free, active lifestyle following cancer, which can be achieved by working with a variety of different kinds of therapists, depending on your needs.
For example, a physical therapist will focus on your mobility, decreasing pain and physical limitations, and a return to daily function, while an occupational therapist might focus on getting you back into your activities at home and work. You may also need to see a speech pathologist for issues with swallowing and/or speech.
Spend time learning more about the different types of professionals and how they can help you.
When you make your first rehabilitation appointment, consider asking them the following questions:
- Is the rehabilitation specialist I am seeing trained and experienced in treating people with cancer or cancer survivors?
- What should I expect from my first session?
- Will, my insurance company cover this type of care by this provider?
- Will, I need to undergo any tests?
- How long will my session last?
Your rehabilitation care team will also ask you questions so that they can evaluate you for physical and mental challenges, pain, weakness, fatigue, and to understand your previous levels of activity and function.
They will also address any challenges you may be having at work and home. From this, they will work with you to develop a treatment plan for your rehabilitation sessions and for work to do at home to help speed your recovery.
It is always helpful to bring a written list of concerns to your first session. Remember some people only need to be seen a few times, while others will be seen over a longer period, depending on their needs. But talking with your care team and creating a plan for recovery can be the first step towards living a more comfortable, active life after treatment.
Learning more about living with Cancer.
To learn more about living with Cancer and the available support visit www.cancer-pro.com, Cancer Pro is the voice of the world’s cancer physicians and oncology professionals and is one of the top cancer information resources in the wider ASEAN region.