ONCOLOGY REHABILITATION PROGRAM
Oncology rehabilitation is the specialty that has as objective the recovery, optimization and enhancement of the physical and psychological capacities that have been affected by cancer as well as complications generated by the treatments. It uses diverse therapeutic methods to improve, maintain, restore, the physical and functional capacity of patients with cancer, before, during and after the treatments to which they are subjected hand in hand with the interdisciplinary team ensures a better quality of life.
My Healing Choice Therapist are trained in Oncology Rehabilitation to provide a program tailored to specific diagnosis and treatments which is specific to the patient, and oriented to decrease the side effects of the treatments and improve their physical condition.
As it is well known not every pt is alike and not every type of cancer is treated with the same drugs or interventions. The different cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, produce secondary side effects that affect the daily function of the person in many areas including strength, ROM, ADL’s, functional ADL’s, balance, endurance, nutrition, mental ability, communication, emotional function.
Oncology rehabilitation includes the participation of Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, and Holistic practitioners to address all these issues.
We can help you with the side effects caused in the short and long term by different cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, such as:
Fatigue (physical, mental and emotional exhaustion).
ROM limitation and joint pain.
General muscle weakness.
Instability when walking.
Changes in balance and coordination.
Numbness, tingling cramps in the hands and feet (neuropathy).
Changes in the skin and soft tissues of the irradiated areas.
Alteration in body weight.
Swallowing and nutritional problems.
Dry mouth, nausea, vomiting.
Lymphatic edema (VER MAS ).
We also recommend adaptive equipment and other tools for managing conditions.
Different treatments for cancer such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, can cause short and long term side effects here is some specific areas where we can help:
LIMITATIONS RELATED TO BREAST CANCER
After diagnosis of breast cancer, pt can be exposed to different treatments starting by surgery radical or partial mastectomy with removal or not of lymph nodes, reconstructions after mastectomy and all the implications of a surgery. In addition to surgery, patients will undergo chemotherapy and /or radiation with their subsequent side effects.
Every patient after surgery may experience pain, numbness, altered sensation, contractures, limited ROM, edema and risk of lymphedema, among others. With any of these procedures, early intervention with physical therapy, or occupational therapy by using manual techniques, ROM, strengthening exercises, taping, ADL’s training, and training of equipment that may be needed, will help to improve functional mobility to return to optimal level of function as soon as possible.
PELVIC FLOOR LIMITATIONS
The debility of the pelvic floor can cause one or many of the following problems: Urinary incontinence, prolapse, sexual dysfunctions, among others. The types of cancers closed to the pelvic area like: prostate cancer, colorectal, uretra , vaginal, uterine; in addition, with brain, spinal, lung, or esophageal cancer (due to the chronic cough that can cause overworked bladder), breast cancer because of the hormonal changes also can cause dryness of the urethra). The different treatments like radiotherapy in the pelvic region, or different chemotherapy agents’ side effects also like nerve damage, dryness, may cause changes in the pelvic region and also hormonal changes secondary to them too.
The program of pelvic floor consists of pelvic and perineal area electro stimulation, exercises to strengthen the muscle of the pelvic region and improve the function of the urethral or rectal sphincter, bladder reeducation.
This is related with brain, cerebelar, spinal cord tumors, nerve plexus problems, peripheral neuropathy among others. The therapy is guided towards implementing compensatory strategies to improve general function.
The treatment may involve pain control, improve functional mobility, correct and improve posture, improve strength, improve static and dynamic balance and coordination, gait training, pt and family education equipment, home adaptation for life changes.
Patients that are being treated for cancer at thorax level may present respiratory problems when undergoing surgical procedures, radiation and also as side effects of chemotherapy. The effects can be fatigue, dyspnea (difficulty breathing) , difficulty in the elimination of secretions or mucus, shortness of breath . decreased endurance . The main objective of the therapy is to increase : 1: ventilatory capacity , incentive spirometer, stretching, diaphragmatic exercises, breathing exercises in general . 2: reduce fatigue by using training of lower extremities, physical fitness , anaerobic exercises (weight and theraband exercises ) , and aerobic exercises to improve endurance . 3: Increase home and community activity .
Pain is one of the most common problems among cancer patients, that can affect the quality of life not only physically but emotionally that as a consequence affects social relations . The treatment then not only can be managed with medications, it requires a comprehensive management that includes psychological, spiritual, medical, and physical rehabilitation that helps patients in an integral way. The objective is to decrease, control and as possible eliminate the pain.
The rehabilitation part may involve: Soft tissue massage, manual lymphatic drainage when able and approved, therapeutic exercises, mobilizations, stretching, bandage, relaxation.
The patients treated with with chemotherapy and /or Radiotherapy, may have side effects like numbness, tingling, burning, shutting pain, diminish sensation, affected fine and motor sensation of hands, proprioception, weakness, muscle pain, muscle mass reduction, balance and coordination problems among others as a consequence of changes in sensation on feet. We use rehabilitation techniques as a compensatory strategies, and also relaxation techniques, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, balance training, strengthening, and proprioception exercises to improve condition and quality of life
Living with a cancer diagnosis and treatments and its consequences means dealing not only with the physical problems related with the cancer and treatments, but also with the emotional and spiritual problems that can affect the patient’s capacity of coping with the disease, relate with the family and the community that patient is part off. All this may cause emotional issues as insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression, among others, with consequent deterioration or may affect compliance with treatments and quality of life .
In addition, is well known that cancer has a very high emotional component in its origin, therefore for a better outcome and coping with the treatments is very important that patients explore and manage the disease with a holistic approach that involves not only the medical component but also the emotional and spiritual area. ( see emotional support page )
In My Healing Choice we offer you the possibility of addressing your case from all areas such as PHYSICAL, MENTAL, EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL through:
INDIVIDUAL COACHING and WORKSHOPS