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Experts provide steps for physical rehabilitation after cancer treatment


November 18, 2021

Talitha Bennett

Experts provide steps for physical rehabilitation after cancer treatment

Following diagnosis and treatment of their cancer, survivors often face challenges related to declining physical functioning, which can affect their quality of life and independence.

This makes an active lifestyle and physical fitness an important topic for physicians to address with cancer survivors.

Literature review data from an article published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed strong evidence that moderate-intensity aerobic training alleviated anxiety, depressive symptoms and fatigue and improved health-related quality of life and overall physical function.

“Most individuals who have survived a bout of cancer and treatment have lingering adverse effects, be it from the disease, the treatment or both, that limit to some extent their physical function,” G. Stephen Morris, PT, PhD, FACSM, a distinguished professor in the department of physical therapy at Wingate University in North Carolina, told Healio in an interview. “It is increasingly important in the rehabilitation world that return to maximal functionality be recognized as an essential part of the management of cancer survivors.”

Morris added that physical therapists are important members of the cancer care team because survivors can often experience problems with gait, deconditioning, and residual functional deficits arising from surgical interventions, exposure to radiation and treatment with chemotherapeutic agents.

“The conclusion of treatment does not mean an end to the physical challenges fac