Cancer rehabilitation and lymphedema services
Cancer affects many parts of your life, from physical and social, to psychological and work-related. Cancer rehabilitation addresses the effects that cancer treatment can have on your health and well-being.
Lymphedema care is available for people with and without a cancer diagnosis. Lymphedema, the swelling of a body part, can happen after radiation or removal of lymph nodes.
What it is
Before you begin cancer treatment, rehabilitation can help you build strength and endurance.
While you are undergoing treatment, it can help you maintain physical well-being and reduce discomfort.
After treatment, cancer rehabilitation it can help you regain function and strength.
What to expect
Cancer rehabilitation and lymphedema services are provided by a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor or therapist. At your appointments, your team will look at your specific needs. Together, you’ll develop a plan to improve your physical functioning as well as improve your quality of life.
Good to know
A consultation with a physical medicine specialist is your first step. Then, you’ll work with your team to create a custom care plan.
Physical and occupational therapy referrals are made after you have been evaluated for weakness, pain, restricted mobility and lymphedema. Therapy is done one to five times a week.
Speech-language pathologists can help you with thinking and processing information. They will assess and treat any problems you might have with thought organization, memory, planning and problem solving to maintain safety in your environment.
Head and neck cancer
If you have a diagnosis of head and neck cancer there is a doctor, nurse coordinator and therapist who specialize in the unique problems you may face.
Speech-language pathologists are all certified in the use of VitalStim®, a form of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES). Electrodes send a small, carefully calibrated current to the motor nerves in your throat. This causes your swallowing muscles to contract.
A video swallow study will be ordered by your doctor or therapist. The study will be done by a speech-language pathologist and radiology staff. The speech services and radiology services for this study are billed separately.
Based on the results of the evaluation and video swallow study, you will receive speech-language pathology one to five times a week. This therapy is set up by the nurse coordinator. It will help you with the process of eating, swallowing and nutrition.
Speech-language pathologists will work with you if you need augmentative communication devices to help you produce or understand language.
Good for treating
Cancer rehabilitation can help treat some effects related to a cancer diagnosis, including:
- balance problems
- cognitive problems
- difficulty with eating, swallowing, swelling and weakness in the jaw, neck and shoulder
- issues with communication
- joint stiffness
- lymphedema (cancer and non-cancer)
- musculoskeletal pain
Good to know
Many of our physical and occupational therapists are certified lymphedema therapists. They also have expertise in neuromuscular conditions associated with cancer treatment.
Source: Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Reviewed by: Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
First published: 8/1/2018
Last reviewed: 8/1/2018