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The Future of Cancer Rehabilitation: Emerging Subspecialty

Gamble, Gail L. MD; Gerber, Lynn H. MD; Spill, Gayle R. MD; Paul, Kelly L. MD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: May 2011 - Volume 90 - Issue 5 - p S76-S87
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31820be0d1
Invited Reviews

In this article, the subject of the future for the field of cancer rehabilitation is embarked upon. Future practice innovation models must involve the appropriate and comprehensive evaluation of cancer patients' rehabilitation needs using better functional measurement tools, as well as the forging of new partnerships through the presence and initiation of physiatric coordinated rehabilitation teams, particularly during the acute phases of treatment. Partnering rehabilitation teams closely with oncology colleagues during surveillance years, through the development of outpatient survivorship clinics for diagnosis and treatment of many of cancer patients' ongoing symptoms and functional limitations, will allow for more comprehensive and coordinated follow-up cancer care. Integration of rehabilitation into palliative care and continued efforts to increase oncology's awareness and acceptance of rehabilitation benefits and expertise are needed. Future education models for medical school, residency, and postresidency training are discussed, as are future research goals to help in placing cancer rehabilitation at the forefront of acute cancer care and survivorship care.

From the Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Chicago, Illinois (GLG, GRS); George Mason University, College of Health and Human Services, Center for Study of Chronic Illness and Disability, Fairfax, Virginia (LHG); and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Indiana University School of Medicine, Bloomington (KLP).

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: Gail L. Gamble, MD, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 345 E Superior St, Suite 1124, Chicago, IL 60611.

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.