Oncology rehabilitation for brain cancer
Brain cancer and its treatments can cause cognitive and physical impairments. Depending on which part of the brain or nervous system is involved and the functional system it affects (e.g., motor, sensory, language, etc.), many brain cancer patients experience the following:
- Memory problems/poor concentration
- Difficulty thinking clearly/processing information
- Difficulty finding words to express thoughts
- Speech problems
- Weakness or numbness
- Balance and coordination problems
- Visual problems
- Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
Changes in neurological function, including your ability to communicate with others and perform everyday tasks, can be upsetting, frustrating and scary. Also, being able to maintain your mobility is essential to getting through treatment without complications like pneumonia, other infections or even paralysis.
Throughout your brain cancer treatment, your oncology rehabilitation therapist will consult regularly with you and your care team to help improve your physical functioning, energy level and sense of well-being. Your rehabilitation plan will be based on your individual goals, which can mean anything from daily walks to just being able to use the bathroom or get out of bed.
We also provide an educational component to help you understand the physical and psychological benefits of physical restoration, and to help prepare you and your family for continuing the program at home.
What is oncology rehabilitation?
Oncology rehabilitation describes a wide range of therapies designed to help you build strength and endurance, regain independence, reduce stress and maintain the energy you need to participate in daily activities that are important to you. Here are the rehabilitation therapies we offer patients:
Physical therapy: As part of your cancer treatment, our physical therapists can help you design an individualized exercise program that combines range-of-motion training with light resistance exercises. These therapeutic exercises aim to reduce fatigue and optimize physical function, safety and well-being.
Occupational therapy: Our occupational therapists can help you with daily living activities that are important to your routine and quality of life, such as dressing, showering and eating.
Speech and language pathology: Many cancer patients benefit from speech and language pathology. Therapists address problems you might experience, including dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, loss of voice and cognitive changes that can result from cancer treatment.
Manual therapy: Our massage therapists can help reduce your cancer-related pain and improve your quality of life during your cancer treatment. Some manual therapy options include:
- Traditional massage
- Stone therapy
- Myofacial release
- Soft tissue manipulation with passive stretching
- Effleurage massage
- Trigger point therapy
- Chiropractic care
Our chiropractors perform adjustments to treat bone, muscle or joint pain without the use of drugs or surgery. Chiropractic care can also help to relieve symptoms such as neuropathy, nausea and headaches.
Auriculotherapy: This painless, non-invasive form of oncology rehabilitation stimulates the auricle of your external ear to help alleviate side effects of your cancer treatment, such as pain, nausea or fatigue.
ReBuilder: This therapy may be used if you experience peripheral neuropathy, a condition that causes pain, numbness, tingling or loss of reflexes in the hands and arms or legs and feet. ReBuilder is designed to increase tactile sensory and awareness with electronic stimulation to the affected area.
Lymphedema prevention and treatment: Lymphedema occurs when fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling. Our oncology rehabilitation team provides various non-surgical options to prevent lymphedema or reduce the swelling associated with it. After non-surgical therapeutic approaches have been exhausted, we may also provide surgical options to treat lymphedema.
Additional services/programs: We offer several additional services/programs to promote recovery and improve your quality of life after radiation therapy, surgery or drug-based treatments. They include:
- Programs to address sexuality concerns
- Programs to address incontinence
- Weight management/movement program
- Healthy lifestyle coaching
- Support for fatigue and sleep disturbances
Experienced care team
Rehabilitation therapists are an important part of our care teams. With experience in all of the above treatment options, these therapists offer a variety of services to help you manage side effects and improve your quality of life. Our therapists include licensed physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech pathologists.
Personalized treatment approach
We personalize treatment plans to the individual based on each person’s goals and experiences. Your care team would help you decide which oncology rehabilitation therapies would help achieve your goals. You may have one or more of the above therapies during the course of your treatment.