What To Know About Cancer Rehabilitation

woman leaning her head on her husband's shoulder

The most frequently-asked questions from patients and families

Cancer affects roughly 18.1 million people in the U.S.

With that statistic, chances are you or someone you know may be diagnosed with some form of cancer.

At ReVital Cancer Rehabilitation, we believe that knowledge is power. So knowing what to expect on the road ahead, whether for you or a loved one, can help you move forward.

We’ve put together a list of commonly asked questions. Use it as a starting point to better understand what cancer rehabilitation is all about.

If you prefer to talk with one of our compassionate clinicians, or have a specific question, just contact us.

What is cancer rehabilitation?

Cancer rehabilitation, or rehab, is part of oncology care that treats the side effects of cancer. The goal is to restore quality of life and return to the activities that matter most. Cancer rehabilitation can help at any point in the cancer journey – before, during or after treatment.

Cancer rehab can help lessen cancer treatment symptoms and issues that impact daily activity.

At Revital Cancer Rehabilitation, we're here to help you stay as active and independent as possible.

Why is rehabilitation offered for people with cancer?

Cancer can turn life upside down.

It takes a toll on the body, mind, and spirit. That toll can add pain and fatigue and leave you feeling different than you did before your diagnosis.

Cancer rehabilitation has the distinction of being a purposeful method to restore and/or support your physical and cognitive health.

Our rehabilitation program addresses those hard-hitting issues of pain and fatigue. We also treat the functional impact of nerve damage, generalized weakness, walking/balance problems, brain fog and other conditions across the spectrum of cancers.

What does a cancer rehabilitation treatment plan look like?

There are many treatment methods that can be offered as a part of cancer rehabilitation.

With a Revital treatment plan, treatment is unique to each person, since each person has different side effects. This allows us to work with each person on their own individual goals.

The ReVital program offers a variety of therapies to treat a person’s unique physical, functional and cognitive issues that they’re facing.

Most often, treatment plans include one or combinations of the following:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech-language therapy

ReVital treatment begins in our centers. Here we work one-on-one with each person to teach proper movement to do therapy correctly. An in-center experience allows us to answer questions, talk about personal goals and adapt treatment as needed.

Becoming a cancer rehab therapist takes years of training. Working directly with one of our therapists provides a foundation to learn how to do your therapy effectively and safely. As you progress in your treatment, therapy will be expanded to include exercises that you can do safely at home.

What type of issues can cancer rehab address?

Pain can be common among people in active cancer treatment and even post-treatment.

Depending on the severity of pain, it can impact a person's independence and quality of life. Often, those going through cancer treatment are unaware that there are things that can be done to treat their pain.

The type of therapy that can help with pain will vary for each person, so getting an evaluation is the first step.

“Cancer fatigue” is another common symptom. Many describe it as total exhaustion. It can present in the early stages of cancer treatment and, in some cases, can persist for years after treatment is completed. Physical and occupational therapies are effective in reducing fatigue and its impact on daily life.

Customized therapeutic exercises, for example, yoga or riding a stationary bike, can be effective in increasing energy and decreasing the impact of these symptoms.

Other underlying problems that cancer rehab addresses:

  • Loss of strength and rebuilding stamina to do physical activity
  • Decreased mobility in rising, climbing stairs and getting dressed
  • Lack of balance, mobility and reduce risk of falls
  • Loss of speech and swallowing abilities
  • Compromised bowel, bladder or sexual function
  • Unclear thinking or remembering things
  • Swelling (lymphedema) and muscle weakness

Can I participate in cancer rehabilitation therapy during treatment?

At any point in your cancer journey, you can benefit from cancer rehabilitation.

Before beginning any treatment, we recommend a comprehensive evaluation to determine your needs and goals. In addition, this evaluation will give us a starting point as we track your progress throughout your rehabilitation program.

With this information, our therapists can recommend a program of skilled intervention including physical activity/exercises and strategies at whatever point you are with your cancer.

Once you begin your cancer treatment, rehab can safely address and reduce any physical or functional declines.

Post-treatment, your rehabilitation team will work with you to develop a custom program that matches your needs and goals for recovery.

While we recommend seeking help sooner rather than later, especially if you’re already experiencing complications from cancer treatment, it's never too late to take the step toward returning to what matters most to you.

Search for a location nearest you with specially trained Revital therapists.