For someone undergoing cancer treatment, physical therapy may not be the first thought that comes to mind.
Early in the treatment process patients are busy meeting with oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, and nurses just to name a few. It is without a doubt these individuals are essential to the patient’s treatment team, but one should also consider the role physical therapy can play in cancer recovery.
Ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cancer in women and has the highest mortality rate. The term “ovarian” includes several types of cancer that arise from the cells of the ovaries in the female reproductive system.
As mentioned before, many would not think of adding a PT into their rehab team, but that is because a lot of people are unaware of how beneficial it can be to add to their current regimen. Research has shown that adding PT into a patient’s treatment plan can help improve daily function, quality of life, and overall health. Physical therapy can also be a great addition to current treatment, not just recovery.
The course of treatment for cancer is grueling, leaving many exhausted and having difficulties with simple daily tasks. This is where an individualized exercise program is crucial to meet the patient where they are and provide exercise and treatment that is safe and beneficial for them. Therapeutic exercise aims to reduce fatigue and improve function and overall well-being.
A patient’s treatment plan may consist of exercises to increase range of motion, flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular function. Simple exercises help to increase heart rate and muscle function to help boost the body’s tolerance to chemo and radiation treatments. These basic exercises and activities give patients a sense of physical and psychological control over their condition as it can provide an outlet for stress and anxiety relief.
Manual therapies such as manual lymphatic drainage can play a major role in lymphedema management allowing for an increase in ROM, pain relief, help with tissue regeneration and reduce the appearance of scars after surgery. Breast cancer-related lymphedema affects approximately 1 in 5 patients making lymphatic drainage and interictal part of the treatment team. Although upper extremity lymphedema is more prevalent does not mean it can’t affect other extremities (including the legs) following surgery.
Apex has both physical and massage therapists highly trained in treating this population.
It is never too late to utilize rehabilitation services such as physical therapy and massage for cancer recovery. If you find yourself having trouble with completing daily tasks or regaining your prior level of function and independence seek out the experts at Apex and let us help you regain your vitality.