Oncology Physical therapy helps cancer patients optimize physical function and their independence. Many feel that it improves the overall quality of life. This blog will explore the benefits of oncology physical therapy and staying in motion.
“Any level of exercise during and after cancer treatment can reduce side effects, help your body recover, and fight depression. Research from the American Society of Clinical Oncology has shown that physical activity can also lower the risk of cancer returning.” –Duke Health
The Impact of Chemotherapy
Each year, more than 1.7 million Americans receive a new cancer diagnosis. At that rate, 34% of Americans will face cancer.
There is no doubt that chemotherapy and the range of cancer treatments have improved over the past decades. Diagnostics and therapies are saving lives. The negative of current cancer therapies includes the onset of a new list of physical and mental conditions. Here is a list of symptoms and conditions that cancer therapy patients face:
• Mobility Issues and Loss of Balance
• Inflammation and Swelling
• Cramps and Spasms
The good news is that the science of oncology physical therapy is providing relief from chemotherapy treatment symptoms and staying in motion.
From The Therapy Network's Mandi Dowdy, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT
"In addition to specializing in spinal conditions, I specialize in Oncology and Physical Therapy. Living through my mother's experience with cancer inspired my passion for helping patients with chemotherapy and radiation-induced fatigue syndrome. Oncology patients improve their energy, strength, and function when involved in a structured, positively enforced rehabilitation program. Diverse cancer types, ever-changing information, and new treatment plans keep me engaged in finding new ways to provide excellence in care for my patients."
Five Benefits of Oncology Physical Therapy
Oncology physical therapy can benefit individuals undergoing cancer treatment or surviving cancer. Some of the potential benefits of oncological physical therapy include the following:
- Improving physical function and mobility: Oncology physical therapy can help individuals maintain or improve their physical function and mobility. The therapy can be essential for individuals undergoing cancer treatment who may be experiencing side effects such as fatigue or muscle weakness.
- Reducing pain and discomfort: Physical therapy can help reduce pain and discomfort associated with cancer or its treatment. Therapy can include managing chronic pain related to cancer or side effects such as neuropathy or lymphedema.
- Improving cardiovascular and respiratory function: Oncology physical therapy can help improve cardiovascular and respiratory function, which can be important for individuals undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy who may be at risk of developing complications such as pneumonia.
- Improving the quality of life: Oncological physical therapy can help improve an individual's overall quality of life by enabling them to maintain or improve their physical function and mobility and by reducing pain and discomfort associated with cancer or its treatment.
- Facilitating cancer rehabilitation: Oncological physical therapy can play an essential role in reducing cancer rehabilitation, which can help individuals return to their previous level of functioning and improve their overall quality of life following cancer treatment.
Stay in Motion: What to Expect
Oncology physical therapy is helpful before, during, and after treatment. At The Therapy Network, you will work with a therapy specialist at one of our six locations in coastal Virginia.
During your initial visit to TTN, your therapist will review your current and any previous cancer diagnoses, your treatment plan, and your cancer survivorship plan—all established by your cancer specialist physician or oncology team. The TTN therapist will also ask you about your current symptoms, such as, "When did your symptoms start?" and "What makes your symptoms better or worse?".
After reviewing your cancer treatment and recovery plan and discussing your current symptoms, the therapist will custom-create a physical therapy plan to fit your needs. Your therapist will become part of your cancer recovery team.
Your Oncology Physical Therapy Plan
Your therapist will set a physical therapy schedule within your plan. Your sessions at The Therapy Network may include the following goals:
- Strength and flexibility exercises
- Balance and fall prevention strategies
- Breathing and relaxation exercises
- Massage and manual therapy
- Cardiovascular Fitness
- Nutrition Guidance
- Job duty re-training
Your therapy plan will include guidance through cancer treatment and beyond. If you and your cancer specialist team decide it is time to return to work, The Therapy Network will ensure that you are ready. Or we will aim to provide the strength, flexibility, and fitness to enjoy daily life with family and friends.
The Therapy Network in Coastal Virginia
If you live in the Hampton Roads, Virginia region, there is a Therapy Network location near your neighborhood. Appointments are available today. Our professional team will also assist with insurance paperwork and communication with your oncology specialist.
How can we help you today?