The rehabilitation therapists at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) help you build strength and endurance, regain independence, reduce stress and maintain the energy you need to participate in activities that are important to you.
Our oncology rehabilitation team includes licensed physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language pathologists and massage therapists.
Throughout your cancer treatment, rehabilitation therapies can help you maintain your quality of life in several ways:
As part of your cancer treatment, our physical therapists can help you design an individualized and creative exercise program that combines range-of-motion training with resistance exercises. These therapeutic exercises aim to minimize your fatigue and optimize your physical function, safety and well-being. For patients who experience challenges with swallowing following radiation treatment, our physical therapists and speech pathologists work together, striving to improve quality of life, including offering therapy to support hydration and nutrition.
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. Some patients experience issues with thinking and memory during treatment for cancer. Our cognitive training program combines occupational therapy and speech therapy to help patients improve attention, focus, memory, problem-solving skills and ability to complete daily tasks.
Speech and language pathology
Many cancer patients benefit from speech and language pathology. Therapists address problems such as dry mouth, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), loss of voice and cognitive changes that can result from cancer treatment. For patients preparing for surgery in the head and neck region, our speech pathologists will partner with you and your surgeon before and after the surgery in order to optimize treatment results. Because each patient is unique, our speech pathology team will develop an individualized plan to meet your specific needs.
Our massage therapists can help reduce your cancer-related pain and improve your quality of life during your treatment.
This painless, non-invasive form of oncology rehabilitation, which involves stimulation of the auricle of the external ear, can help alleviate some of the side effects of cancer treatments, such as pain, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, and balance and coordination problems.
This method aims to improve peripheral neuropathy, a condition that causes pain, numbness, tingling, or loss of reflexes in different parts of the body. The technique involves an electronic stimulation to the area of peripheral neuropathy, such as the hands or feet, to increase tactile sensory and awareness.
Lymphedema prevention and treatment
Lymphedema is a condition in which excess fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling. Our oncology rehabilitation team combines gentle range-of-motion exercises and massage to either prevent lymphedema, or reduce the swelling associated with this condition. For some patients, we may also recommend surgical options for the treatment of lymphedema after non-surgical therapeutic approaches have been exhausted.
CTCA® offers a wide range of additional services/programs to promote a faster and more complete recovery for cancer patients receiving radiation therapy, surgery or drug-based treatments, including:
- Programs to address incontinence
- Weight management/movement program
- Support for sexual health
- Support for fatigue and sleep disturbances
- Prehabilitation to prepare your body for cancer before treatment
The rehabilitation team at Southeastern
Led by Director of Oncology Rehabilitation Karen Barber, the oncology rehabilitation team at CTCA at Southeastern Regional Medical Center (Southeastern) consists of caring and experienced physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech and language pathologists.
Upon your arrival at Southeastern, you will meet with a rehabilitation therapist who will create your physical Wellness Story. This is a screening tool that involves an evaluation of your current functional status as well as your ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs).
If oncology rehabilitation becomes part of your treatment plan, your therapist will use this Wellness Story, as well as recommendations from your care team clinicians, to develop a rehabilitation plan tailored to your specific needs.
“We believe in addressing any physical concerns before they occur,” says Barber. “That is why we create your Wellness Story from the beginning.”