4 Options for Cancer Rehabilitation Therapy at Baptist

Feb 8 • 2016

When people think about cancer care, they often think of common treatment options like chemotherapy and radiation. However, cancer care also provides methods for managing the side effects associated with cancer. At the Baptist Cancer Center, we recognize that cancer and the treatment of cancer can impact your life in more ways than you ever thought possible. Because we focus on comprehensive cancer care, we have a variety of therapies available that can help improve pain management, strength, endurance, range of motion, daily life skills, scar management, edema control, social skills, relaxation, and more. These cancer rehabilitation therapies, including physical, occupational, speech, and lymphedema therapies, are aimed to maximize the patient’s functional ability and independence.

Physical Therapy
Cancer and its treatments can make typical daily movement more difficult. Physical therapy can improve this by strengthening your body, boosting your immune system, and decreasing pain and fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these issues, you may want to speak with your doctor about the possibility of physical therapy, which can help improve:

  • Cancer-related fatigue and decreased endurance
  • Difficulty balancing, loss of flexibility, difficulty walking
  • Radiation fibrosis
  • Overall pain
  • Muscle weakness or joint stiffness
  • Changes in posture
  • Scar tissue bonds

Occupational Therapy
Another cancer rehabilitation therapy option offered at the Baptist Cancer Center is occupational therapy. This typically consists of exercise programs that help to improve the patient’s strength, mobility, and overall endurance. Additionally, therapists can make personalized recommendations for changes to your living environment and daily activities that can make it easier to complete tasks.

If you have any of these issues, you may want to consider occupational therapy:

  • Difficulty dressing, grooming, or bathing yourself
  • Limited range of motion
  • Weakness in your arm or hand
  • Limited fine motor skills
  • General pain
  • Occurrence of fatigue during daily activities

Speech Therapy
Many cancers, especially head and neck cancers, can impact how well you can speak or swallow. Speech therapy can help you improve these abilities and is made up of physiotherapeutic exercises, training, and stretching. This might be the right therapy option for you if you find yourself struggling with:

  • Problem solving
  • Short attention span
  • Memory loss
  • Swallowing
  • Weakness in facial muscles
  • Changes in speaking voice

Lymphedema Therapy
For some cancer patients, lymphedema can become an issue. This is an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich fluid that may develop in the head, neck, chest, arms, or legs. It is often a result of removing lymph nodes during surgery or radiation to treat cancer in the neck, head, breast, prostrate, or gynecologic area.

You may be experiencing lymphedema if you notice:

  • Rings, bracelets, shirt sleeves, or pant legs feeling tight
  • Heaviness in the arms or legs
  • Feeling of pooling fluid or thickness under the arm
  • A swelling sensation in the throat

Lymphedema therapists will take the necessary steps to treat this, as well as fit patients with the necessary compression garments after treatment.

If you’re interested in learning more about the cancer rehabilitation therapy options at Baptist Cancer Center, speak with your doctor to find out which version might be right for you and receive a referral.