Rehabilitation is an important part of the comprehensive care for patients being treated for cancer. Rehabilitation focuses on improving quality of life and functional independence in mobility, safety and activities of daily living after cancer treatment. Rehabilitation is provided by experienced physical and occupational therapists. Rehabilitation includes inpatient and outpatient, depending on the functional needs of the individual.
Some patients who are not physically ready to return home after initial treatment undergo comprehensive, intensive inpatient rehabilitation, while continuing to be followed by surgeons and oncologists for wound care, further cancer treatment planning and for various medical conditions.
The functional recovery process continues in an outpatient setting. Outpatient rehabilitation includes treatment for general fatigue related to radiation and chemotherapy, musculoskeletal pain, soft tissue fibrosis and associated decreased range of motion in the joints, as well as lymphedema (swelling of tissue due to impaired lymphatic flow) and other conditions impacting everyday function. The rehabilitation team creates individualized plans that address specific needs. Outpatient rehabilitation treatment incorporates medications, physical modalities, orthotics, prosthetics (as needed), education and a home exercise program.
Following treatment for breast, cervical, uterine, prostate or other cancers, a patient may experience lymphedema, a condition in which excess fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling. Lymphedema can occur in the arm or leg after lymph vessels or lymph nodes in the underarm or groin are removed or treated with radiation. This leads to a swollen, heavy limb that may become painful, immobile or easily injured.
Rehabilitation can help most people with lymphedema. The earlier rehabilitation begins, the more effective it will be in helping manage symptoms and allowing patients to continue daily activities. A specially trained occupational or physical therapist will evaluate and design an individualized treatment plan to address the patient’s needs related to specific lymphedema concerns.
Community Memorial Hospital's Lymphedema Program helps you learn to manage your symptoms and continue your daily activities.