Colorectal Cancer Oncology Rehabilitation
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Video: Oncology RehabilitationOncology Rehabilitation
Oncology rehabilitation can help cancer patients stay physically strong so they can tolerate treatments such as chemotherapy and continue to participate in everyday activities. Listen to some our Directors of Oncology Rehabilitation talk about the Oncology Rehabilitation Program at CTCA.
Oncology Rehabilitation for Colorectal Cancer
Oncology rehabilitation, including physical therapy and occupational therapy, can help improve your quality of life as you undergo colorectal cancer treatment. Your care team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) will integrate oncology rehabilitation into your colorectal cancer treatment plan.
Colorectal Cancer Oncology Rehabilitiation Therapies
Your rehabilitation therapist will help you build strength and endurance so you can maintain the energy you need to perform daily tasks. He or she will also show you how to apply energy conservation and work simplification techniques so you can complete tasks without becoming overly fatigued.
Individualized exercise program
At CTCA, you can work with an oncology rehabilitation therapist (e.g., physical therapist, occupational therapist) to design an individualized exercise program that combines range-of-motion training with light resistance exercises.
The exercise program aims to help you maintain your strength and muscle mass during colorectal cancer treatment. It can also:
- Minimize fatigue
- Optimize physical function, safety and well-being
- Boost the immune system
- Improve bowel habits
- Improve flexibility
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Minimize depression
- Enhance your self-image
If you undergo colorectal cancer surgery, your rehabilitation therapist will help you through the recovery process. He or she will work with you to develop a personalized rehabilitation plan to help you regain strength, mobility and independence.
Your oncology rehabilitation therapist will follow your progress throughout your recovery, gradually adjusting your plan as you grow stronger. Should you need chemotherapy or radiation treatment, your therapist will also provide a plan to help you decrease fatigue and regain strength and endurance.
At CTCA, our oncology rehabilitation therapists also employ therapies to offset side effects of colorectal cancer treatment and make you more comfortable during colorectal cancer treatment. These include the following:
ReBuilder® – If you experience chronic pain due to peripheral neuropathy (i.e., numbness or tingling in the hands and feet), your rehabilitation therapist may use an innovative tool called the ReBuilder to relieve the pain. Chronic neuropathic pain can be a side effect of colorectal cancer chemotherapy. The ReBuilder sends mild electrical pulses to your feet and legs. This can minimize neuropathic pain and help nerves in your limbs function better.
Acupuncture – Acupuncture can promote natural healing and improve functioning of the body. To administer this therapy, acupuncturists insert very thin needles through the skin at precise points on the body. This is done to stimulate the flow of energy throughout the body, and in turn, the immune system.
Acupuncturists at CTCA can work with you to:
- Manage fatigue
- Alleviate nausea and vomiting
- Resolve constipation or diarrhea
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Lessen pain and discomfort
- Aid in preparation for and recovery from colorectal cancer surgery
- Combat altered nerve sensation and decreased movement
Auriculotherapy – This type of acupuncture uses electrical stimulation instead of needles. Your oncology rehabilitation therapist will use a device to stimulate specific points on the outer portion of your ear with a painless electrical current. These points correspond to locations in your body.
Auriculotherapy may provide some relief from side effects of colorectal cancer chemotherapy such as:
- Low energy
- Loss of balance
- Loss of appetite
Lymphedema Management – Patients with colorectal cancer who have lymph nodes removed during a surgical procedure may experience lymphedema. This condition causes swelling in the legs or arms as a result of a buildup of lymphatic fluid in tissues in these areas.
Oncology rehabilitation therapists at CTCA can help alleviate the swelling, pain and discomfort associated with lymphedema. Should you experience lymphedema, your rehabilitation therapist may use special massage techniques; compression bandaging, garments or pumps; and gentle stretching exercises to reduce swelling. These measures can also be used to help prevent lymphedema.
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