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Cancer rehabilitation with an emphasis on physical and occupational therapy interventions
The role of cancer rehabilitation is still relatively unfamiliar to patients and healthcare providers. Many of them are unaware of what rehabilitation can do for patients concerning symptom control and quality of life. Interdisciplinary care for oncology patients and cancer survivors needs to become a part of the standard of treatment. Cancer became a chronic condition, requiring a lifelong care of patients, including rehabilitation and regular monitoring of their condition. Oncological rehabilitation extends beyond the treatment of symptoms, signs and their consequences, by including psychological, social and occupational rehabilitation. A modern rehabilitation approach primarily focuses on one’s functioning and a biopsychosocial concept of impairments, which also takes into consideration environmental and personal factors. Within the framework of interdisciplinary treatment, cancer rehabilitation and early intervention of therapy programs towards the returning or prolonging of a patient independent life are thus becoming increasingly relevant. The rehabilitation of cancer patients is a dynamic process, which may last their entire life. Its goal is to restore patients’ independent functioning and social reintegration, all within the limits set by the degree of their impairment. The impairment score ranges from mild impairments to severe impairments of cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and nervous system as well target organs. There are not many evidence based physical and occupational therapy interventions for cancer patients. However, most have been widely used over the years. Although many are not been validated in the oncologic setting, extensive experience confirms their clinical effectiveness. In the future oncology rehabilitation researches and evidence based physical therapy should come more to the fore.