Cancer Rehab / Oncology Care

After undergoing cancer treatment, patients may experience a variety of issues. In addition to mobility impairment and decreased muscle strength, patients may face nerve sensation issues (e.g., peripheral neuropathy/plexopathy), cognitive impairment, difficulty swallowing, lymphedema, problems with oral motor skills, general pain and fatigue, anxiety, and depression. An individualized rehabilitative program can help patients address all of these problems through the use of evidence-based interventions in both physical and occupational therapy. Physical therapists focus on helping patients recover strength, flexibility, and mobility; occupational therapists help patients regain the ability to perform daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and job-related functions. Additionally, patients may work with a speech-language pathologist to regain full speech and swallowing abilities. A plan of care for a post-cancer treatment patient may include both individual and group therapy sessions. Additionally, cancer rehabilitation programs often incorporate support groups and counseling sessions to aid in emotional recovery. The length of a cancer rehabilitation program depends on the individual patient. Some patients may require an ongoing program, while others may only need temporary care. In some cases, the effects of cancer treatment may not present until many years later. These services may be covered by insurance; however, if a patient’s insurance does not cover treatment, the patient should contact an oncology social worker, who can direct the patient to community resources.