Where Can I Go for Cancer Rehabilitation?
The issues resulting from cancer and its treatment are many. They may include weakness, pain, sensory abnormalities, diminished cognitive function, and a host of other disorders. For instance, more than half of women with breast cancer will experience shoulder problems, including pain and restricted range of motion, following treatment. Others will develop lymphedema, nerve injury, memory problems, or joint aches.
Each type of cancer and its treatment are associated with a unique set of functional issues. Recognizing that post-treatment issues are not necessarily “normal” and often can be effectively treated or managed is a key first step on the journey to recovery.
The next step is most likely cancer rehabilitation. Cancer rehabilitation can help survivors obtain and maintain the best possible physical, social, psychological, and vocational functioning within the limits created by cancer and its treatments. Many clinicians specialize in cancer rehabilitation, including physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and neuropsychologists. Often, a team of clinicians is needed to achieve the best outcome since multiple problems requiring multiple skillsets can exist simultaneously.
Dr. Michael Stubblefield is the medical director of the Cancer Rehabilitation Program at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in northern New Jersey and the national medical director of Cancer Rehabilitation at Select Medical. A leader in the field of cancer rehabilitation, he uses his diagnostic and therapeutic medical skills to restore function and quality of life to cancer survivors.
This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, January/February 2017.