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Cancer Rehabilitation with a Focus on Evidence-Based Outpatient Physical and Occupational Therapy Interventions

Silver, Julie K. MD; Gilchrist, Laura S. PT, PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: May 2011 - Volume 90 - Issue 5 - p S5-S15
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31820be4ae
Invited Review and Analysis

Cancer rehabilitation is an important part of survivorship as a distinct phase of treatment. Although cancer rehabilitation may involve many disciplines, this article specifically covers evidence-based treatment in physical and occupational therapy. Patients may need physical and occupational therapy services for a variety of cancer-related or cancer-treatment-related problems, including pain, fatigue, deconditioning, and difficulty with gait. They may also have problems resuming their previous level of function, which can impact on activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, return to previous home and community activity levels, and return to work. This review discusses the role of physical and occupational therapy in helping cancer patients improve pain and musculoskeletal issues, deconditioning and endurance effects, fatigue, balance and falls, and lymphedema and psychosocial problems.

From the Harvard Medical School, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Boston, Massachusetts (JKS); and St Catherine University, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Minneapolis, Minnesota (LSG).

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: Julie K. Silver, MD, Harvard Medical School, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Countway Library, 2nd Floor, 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115.

Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.