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.