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Oncology Rehabilitation at The UVM Cancer Center
Regardless of the type of cancer and the time since diagnosis, cancer survivors often experience difficulty and limitations in many areas of their everyday life. These difficulties can be physical; such as pain, fatigue, lymphedema, impaired balance, and decreased endurance or stamina.
They can also impact mental function; such as concentration, word finding, short term memory, and multi-tasking. Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech-Language Pathologists can help decrease the impact of these limitations on your everyday life and help you get back to your everyday activities at home and work.
Pain, fatigue, balance deficits, and deconditioning
Various cancer treatments and cancer itself can lead to one or all of these concerns. These limitations can affect your ability to perform everyday tasks such as walking, standing and going up and down stairs. Research shows that oncology rehabilitation can improve fatigue, quality of life, and pain levels in cancer survivors. A physical therapist can thoroughly examine your strength, flexibility, and balance and prescribe exercise and treatment to address these issues.
Radiation, surgery, or trauma involved with cancer treatment can cause damage to the lymph system and lead to Lymphedema. Specially trained Physical Therapists can provide gentle massage, compression garments, skin care, exercises and education to help manage this problem.
Steps to Wellness
Steps to Wellness is a medically based Oncology & hematology rehabilitation program that serves the unique needs of Cancer Survivors. The program includes a physical therapy evaluation, medical assessment, individualized exercise prescription and education.
This program is a supervised, 12 week group exercise class for all cancer survivors regardless of type of cancer or time since diagnosis. In order to begin the program, a patient will be evaluated by a doctor and physical therapist in order to determine that they are safe both from a medical and physical standpoint to participate in the program.
This condition can include symptoms such as:
- Difficulty Concentrating
These are common side effects for many cancer medications and treatment, and can lead to difficulty with tasks such as self-care, work, and driving.
An Occupational Therapist can modify daily activities and environments, and help develop strategies to allow individuals to perform these activities safely.
A Speech-Language Pathologist works with patients to improve thought processing and organization, verbal and written communication skills, eating/swallowing difficulties, and assists in developing alternative communication strategies when necessary.