Hello everyone. I hope this issue of Rehabilitation Oncology finds everyone doing well. The Journal has undergone tremendous changes over the past year. Some of these changes are very obvious, such as the cover. Others are not so obvious, such as the automated handling of manuscripts. The Journal editor Dr Lucinda Pfalzer, PT, PhD, FACSM, FAPTA, has worked closely with the new publisher to bring about many of these changes. Her innovative changes have resulted in a journal that has much improved content, wider dissemination, and greater accessibility. The Section is deeply appreciative of Dr Pfalzer's ongoing commitment to the Journal and to the Section.
Specialization continues to move forward, although perhaps not as quickly as many would like. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) has approved the individuals nominated by the Section for the Specialty Council (Nicole Stout, Chair; Cindy Pfalzer, Charles McGarvey, and Amy Litterini) and the recommended item writers. The Specialty Council will meet with the staff of ABPTS at the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in San Antonio, Texas, to learn more about the specialization process and how to manage it. Item writers will also gather prior to the beginning of CSM to learn the ins and outs of writing high-quality examination questions that will best assess the clinical skills and knowledge of those seeking specialization certification in oncology physical therapy. Derek Stepp, APTA's Director of Post Professional Credentialing, recently assured me that the Section is on track and on task!
Recently, the APTA launched a broad public relations effort to educate consumers about the opioid epidemic and urge individuals to consider physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative for managing pain. APTA Components have been invited to spread this message both publicly and privately. However, the Oncology Section has not formally committed to actively participate in this program at this time, in part, because no members have asked that the Section do so, but, equally significantly, this issue creates a conundrum for the Section. As noted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), cancer survivors are a special patient population in that opioids play a vitally important role in their pain management, certainly acutely and frequently across their entire spectrum of care. In arguing that cancer survivors should be largely exempt from regulations intended to restrict opioid access or limit doses, ASCO does support policies that balance opioid access with the need to curb misuse and abuse (http://www.asco.org/sites/new-www.asco.org/files/content-files/advocacy-and-policy/documents/2016_ASCO%20Policy%20Statement%20on%20Opioid%20Therapy.pdf).1 Given the complexity of cancer care, perhaps, the Section may need to more aggressively advocate for physical therapy as an adjunctive treatment option in association with opioid pain management. If you as a member of the Section would like to get more involved and develop a marketing plan for this message, please reach out to one of our leaders.
CSM is scheduled for February 15-18, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas. The Section is offering 2 preconference courses: one on balance impairments and fall risks, and the second on what outpatient therapists need to know about treating cancer survivors.
Finally, I would like to express the Section's appreciation to Charles McGarvey III, PT, DPT, MS, FAPTA, for his service on the Commission on Cancer, a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for patients with cancer through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive quality care. His work with this group has clearly brought oncology rehabilitation to their attention and this group to the attention of the Section. Mary Lou Galantino, PT, PhD, MS, will take over for Dr McGarvey, ensuring that physical therapy and oncology rehabilitation will continue to be well represented in this important body.
G. Stephen Morris, PT, PhD, FACSM