Cancer Rehabilitation Can Improve Your Quality of Life
Our cancer rehabilitation treatments team provides services to patients with all types of cancer. The side effects of cancer treatment can impact how you live your life, and that is why we are here for you.
We provide a variety of cancer rehabilitation services, including:
When fatigued or experiencing discomfort you still want to be able to complete your activities and enjoy life. What you may not realize is there are techniques we can teach you to do more than what you typically could, every day. We help you find ways to complete the activities in the best ways possible by conserving energy, enabling you to do more of what you want to daily...adding life to years!
Daily living management:
Are daily activities are becoming more difficult? Is it hard to do previous tasks - putting on shoes and socks, getting bathed and dressed and ready for the day, going to work, caring for children, driving, etc? Activities we often take for granted may have been affected by your cancer and/or the treatments you receive. We have a team of qualified therapists that can teach you the skills to maintain the highest level of independence possible. We will look at the individual challenges that you experience with your daily activities and develop a comprehensive treatment plan to get you back on your feet!
Cancer Related Fatigue Management:
Sometimes, after cancer treatment, it can feel that no matter what you do you just feel "drained". This is known as cancer related fatigue, different from just feeling tired, and it can impact all areas of your life. Many experience decreased interest in activities, decreased motivation, decreased daily activity performance, decreased work performance, impacted relationships with family and friends, just to name a few. It is important that you address this issue. We work as a team to address medical, nutritional, psychological and physical components that may be contributing to your fatigue. This is a problem that can be addressed and we can help get you back on the track to being the best that you can be!
Following your surgery, you may experience changes in your ability to chew foods or swallow liquids. We'll train you in the use of compensatory swallowing strategies through modifying food textures, turning your head, etc. to assure you're eating and drinking the safest and least restrictive diet available.
Cognitive compensatory strategies:
You may experience changes in your memory and thinking as a result of your cancer treatment. We'll teach you how to live with these cognitive challenges, through the use of compensatory strategies such as mnemonics, use of calendars, your SmartPhone. Through these strategies, you'll work on improving your overall ability to pay attention, recall important information and to be organized so you can resume your daily activities and/or return to work.
Communication enhancement strategies:
If you experience changes in your communication such as unclear speech, or inability to think of the right word, our speech-language pathologists will train you in the use of many different communication strategies that will enhance your overall communication abilities. Through the use of alternative words, over-articulation of sounds and/or use of writing or computer-based equipment, you'll gain confidence in your communication with family, friends and people in the community.
If you feel unsteady, off balance or had a fall balance training can help you return to being safe with going up and down steps, or walking at home and in the community. Sometimes from chemotherapy the nerves in the feet may not function properly which can cause unsteadiness. Specific exercises are used to strengthen muscles, keep you flexible and improve coordination for balance to be at the best level.
Pain is a common symptom related to cancer and cancer treatments. Many different rehabilitation approaches can help to decrease your pain so you can better accomplish, and enjoy, your activities.
You may experience symptoms such as pain, numbness and fatigue during and after your cancer treatment that may make it difficult to complete self-care tasks, walking, and home management tasks. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and difficulties, there are many equipment options to help individuals surviving cancer be safe, more independent, and experience less pain as they do their activities. Our experienced therapists can evaluate you to see what equipment would be best for you.
Being able to safely and confidently move around your home, yard, community, during recreation or place of work is important. Cancer and some impacts of certain cancer treatments can have an impact on your strength, energy levels, balance muscle strength and coordination, all which can affect how well, or safely, you can walk or move about. Our cancer rehabilitation therapists are specially trained to address any of the difficulties with ambulation or walking, and work with you to address each one. Your safety, independence and activity enjoyment are our goals too.
You may experience lymphedema (swelling) in the arms and legs from cancer surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Lymphedema may occur when lymph nodes are removed during surgery that can cause the lymph fluid to back up in your arms or legs. We have therapist specially trained to address lymphedema. Proper exercise, massage, bandage wrapping, a pump and patient education are important in treating this condition.
Therapeutic Exercise and Strengthening:
So much of what you want or need to do every day can be impacted by your muscle strength, coordination and endurance. The impacts of cancer, or cancer treatment, can result in reduced strength, endurance and muscle coordination. Our rehabilitation team understands how that can impact you, and just as importantly knows how to address it with you. We can design for you an individualized program that gets at the heart of the matter for you, understanding exactly what it is that you need to get you back to your activities. Almost always an individualized set of exercises is extremely helpful, but it has to be the right set of exercises designed for YOUR specific needs.
Chemotherapy can cause something called neuropathy which can cause numbness, tingling, weakness, or balance problems. Rehabilitation can help reduce these symptoms and help you improve your daily function.
Meet Our Individualized Care Team
Our cancer rehabilitation team consists of a comprehensive team of healthcare professionals including:
- Physiatrists (physicians specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation)
- Physical therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Speech-language pathologists
Our care team provides education, training and instruction on patient specific exercises, lymphedema management, safety with home and community ambulation, adaptive equipment and energy conservation.
Dealing with cancer is a challenging experience for patients and their families. We are here to help you minimize the side effects of cancer and cancer treatments, helping you return to the activities you enjoy. To learn more about the many conditions/side effects that our therapists and physicians can help you conquer, please click here.
Make an Appointment
For more information about Cancer Rehabilitation at MedStar National Rehabilitation Network, please call
- Cancer Rehabilitation Locations
- Pain Management Program
- Lymphedema Management
- Breast Cancer Rehabilitation
- Head and Neck Cancer Rehabilitation
- Managing Breast Cancer (NRH Press publication)