By Charlotte Walter, PT, DPT, ATC – Physical Therapist at Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s Wyoming Rehab
Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s Wyoming Rehab provides a variety of rehabilitative services – each tailored to the patient’s specific needs.
In this post, we focus on Cancer Rehab: a comprehensive treatment approach aimed at improving the function of individuals who are experiencing cancer.
Wyoming Rehab’s Cancer Rehab Program is appropriate for anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer. Special considerations are made based on diagnosis (e.g. breast, colon, lung) as necessary. To determine an appropriate starting point for therapy, we conduct a thorough evaluation of strength, balance, flexibility, gait, endurance, pain and fatigue levels. Then to further individualize the patient’s therapy program, we discuss current levels of function, goals and concerns with the patient and their care team as needed.
In the past, patients with cancer were told: “go home and take it easy.” This is no longer the case. More and more, research shows that exercise is an essential component of cancer treatment. Supervised, structured exercise programs have shown increases in aerobic capacity, leg strength, bone mineral density at the spine, and lean body mass when compared with individuals who have not had this type of care/rehab. Exercise is a safe and effective addition to a patient’s cancer treatment plan.
Research also shows that individuals benefit from targeted exercise prior, during, and following cancer treatments. Therapy prior can increase functional strength and endurance before undergoing an intense cancer treatment regimen. Therapy during can enhance cancer treatment approaches, tolerance to treatment, and reduce cancer-related fatigue. Therapy after can rebuild muscle strength, develop compensation strategies around neuropathy or limb loss, manage lingering pain, reduce cancer-related fatigue, and prevent recurrence.
Individuals who have completed or who are currently undergoing cancer treatments may also experience difficulty with recall, memory or focus: also known as “chemo brain.” Our speech therapists can perform a cognitive evaluation to determine deficits and create a treatment plan to help ease some of these symptoms.