Oncology Rehabilitation at Western
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At CTCA at Western Regional Medical Center (Western), we want to increase your quality of life during your cancer care. In Western's Oncology Rehabilitation Department, therapists work with you to mitigate any physical or functional side effects that may accompany cancer treatment.
There are many goals associated with oncology rehabilitation, such as the following:
- Ensuring that you can perform typical daily activities
- Boosting your energy so you can stay active
- Teaching you how to combat certain side effects pertaining to cancer treatment
- Enhancing your self-image and mood
Helping You Feel Your Best
“Whether it’s running a marathon, playing with the kids, or getting the mail, we have targeted therapies to help cancer patients strengthen their bodies and reduce fatigue,” says Jane White, Director of Oncology Rehabilitation.
At Western, you can take advantage of physical, occupational, and speech therapy if your physician orders these services. Regardless of what therapy or combination of cancer therapies our experts use, the overarching goal is to get you back to functioning as you did before the cancer diagnosis.
"We have a variety of therapies that we tailor to the patient's needs, desires, and interests," says White. Among innovative therapies at Western, White notes that Wii Fit™ is very popular. This interactive game created by Nintendo® offers players the opportunity to engage in yoga, aerobics, and strength training.
Motion for Life
At Western we offer a program called Motion for Life, which will teach you how to combat cancer-related fatigue and other negative side effects stemming from cancer and/or cancer treatment. Experts in our Oncology Rehabilitation Department will develop a personalized exercise regimen for you and will coach you through your journey. They will teach you when and how to exercise with the goal of maximizing your energy, instead of depleting it.
White explains, "We show patients how to boost their energy through exercising. We monitor their fatigue during the process to ensure that they are improving their quality of life and not hindering it."
Our physical therapists work with you to restore physical function. You may focus on flexibility, strength, or coordination training. The goal of physical therapy is so that you can maintain the same daily routine you had before the cancer diagnosis. We want your quality of life to be the best it can be, and physical therapy is just one way our rehabilitation experts help you achieve your goals.
Speech and Language Pathology
This type of therapy may be especially useful for head and neck cancer patients. Sometimes cancer treatment to these areas can cause disruption of normal speech patterns or problems swallowing. We fight these side effects from the beginning at Western by having you work with rehabilitation experts to restore your quality of life and normal body functions.
Occupational therapists teach you how to improve cognition and coordination needed for everyday activities. They will show you how to minimize limitations and enjoy quality living.
Occupational therapy and physical therapy are sometimes thought to be one in the same, but White explains that they are actually quite different, “Occupational therapy focuses mostly on daily living such as getting dressed, showering, and other things related to motor-skills. On the other hand, physical therapists work more with balance, walking, and gait.”
Sometimes the surgical removal of lymph nodes around the underarm area may cause lymphedema. Particularly common in breast cancer patients, this condition can present discomfort and swelling due to a change in the way lymph fluids flow through the body. At Western, our rehabilitation therapists teach you range-of-motion techniques to rid this condition.
Massage therapy eases discomfort that may stem from cancer treatment, and simultaneously promotes relaxation. Dorion Simmons serves as Western's massage therapist as well as the acupunturist.