What is cancer rehabilitation?
Cancer rehabilitation is a process that helps cancer survivors obtain and maintain the maximal possible physical, social, psychological, and vocational functioning within the limits created by cancer and its treatments.
Why is cancer rehabilitation a good choice?
ReVital physical, occupational and speech therapists are experts at treating the physical impairments and functional limitations that can often result from cancer treatment. Our therapists have all completed comprehensive cancer rehabilitation education programs, based on the nation’s most available evidence and current best practices.
What do PTs, OTs and SLPs do to help treat cancer survivors?
Multiple types of rehabilitation therapists may be involved in your care.
Physical therapists, or PT’s, typically address issues with pain, strength, balance, deconditioning, lymphedema and pelvic floor problems (incontinence, sexual dysfunction). They can treat issues with all parts of the body, including joints, muscles and nerves to name a few.
Occupational therapists, or OT’s, typically address issues with the upper body and sometimes the neck. They focus on improving activities of daily living, or ADL’s, such as bathing, dressing and feeding. OT’s also focus on cognitive issues such as forgetfulness or concentration. Often times the numbness and tingling that can result from chemotherapy is managed by specialized OT’s known as hand therapists, or certified hand therapists (CHT’s). In some settings, lymphedema and pelvic floor problems are managed by specially trained OT’s.
Speech-language pathologists, or SLP’s, typically manage issues with speech and swallowing following cancer treatments. SLP’s also address cognitive issues such as forgetfulness, concentration and word-finding difficulties.
Can my cancer rehabilitation therapist provide me with a diagnosis?
In most states, therapists cannot make a medical diagnosis. While our ReVital therapists have all undergone extensive training and are extremely familiar with the diagnoses common to cancer survivors, a formal diagnosis should come from your physician.
Why are cancer survivors referred to therapy?
Cancer survivors can have multiple problems resulting from their cancer, its treatment, or both.
Is it OK to ask my doctor about therapy?
Absolutely. Cancer rehabilitation is a team effort and we count on input from your physician to provide you with the highest possible level of safety and functional restoration. If you have a problem that you think can be helped by cancer rehabilitation, feel free to give us a call. After discussing the specific problem, we can give you a better idea if it is something that is manageable with our services. You can also give your doctor a call. If they are not sure, they are welcome to contact us to discuss the possibility. If you feel cancer rehabilitation can be helpful to you, you should stress your feelings to the doctor you are seeing.
Can I do cancer rehabilitation during chemotherapy and radiation?
Yes, there is considerable evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of therapy for many patients during chemotherapy and radiation therapy. ReVital-certified therapists are specially trained to work with you to modify your therapy program as needed to accommodate the various medical issues that often accompany these treatments.
Will I be too tired to attend therapy?
Exercising during treatment is recommended for patients with cancer. Research demonstrates those who exercise actually improve their overall endurance by up to 50 percent. ReVital therapists are experts in the field of exercise and cancer. If you are experiencing fatigue, it is important that you attend your therapy appointment and discuss your concerns with your therapist. Your therapist will be able to help you modify your treatments to gain the maximum benefit so you are able to participate in therapy and hit your goal.
Is therapy painful?
For many cancer survivors, one of the primary objectives is pain relief. We use a variety of treatments including hands-on techniques and modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and/or heat or cold therapy to improve pain. Movement often helps relieve pain as well. Your therapist will provide you with exercises designed not only for pain relief but to recover range of motion, strength, and endurance.
In certain instances therapy techniques can be uncomfortable. Examples include recovering knee or shoulder range of motion after surgery. Your therapist will utilize a variety of techniques to help maximize your functional recovery. It is important that you communicate the intensity, frequency, and duration of pain to your therapist. Without this information, it is difficult for the therapist to adjust your treatment plan.
I’ve had bad experiences with other therapists. How will this be different?
All ReVital therapists have undergone extensive training in cancer rehabilitation to not only understand cancer but also its treatments. This knowledge is incorporated into our decision-making and treatment planning and is critical to providing the safest and most effective pathway to restoring your function and quality of life. Therapists who have not undergone this extensive training may not have the knowledge and skills necessary to help with complicated cancer-related issues.
Is my therapist licensed?
All ReVital therapists are licensed by their respective states.
How do I choose a therapy clinic?
Optimal therapy management of cancer-related issues requires additional knowledge and skills sets that not all therapists have. All ReVital cancer rehabilitation therapists are certified in the management of physical impairments and functional limitations associated with cancer and its treatment. They have been extensively trained in the most current evidence-based and best practice management techniques and participate in ongoing education to ensure they remain cutting edge.