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Cancer rehabilitation is a doctor-supervised program for people who have undergone treatment for cancer. It is designed to help patients return to activities of daily living. People who have survived cancer may have physical, emotional, and social issues that affect their quality of life, no matter what kind of cancer they have been treated for. Cancer rehabilitation programs can often improve function, reduce pain, and improve the well-being of cancer survivors.
Cancer rehabilitation programs can be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Many skilled professionals are part of the cancer rehabilitation team, including any or all of the following:
Other specialty doctors
A cancer rehabilitation program is designed to meet the needs of the individual patient, depending on the specific type of cancer and treatment. Active involvement of the patient and family is vital to the success of the program.
The goal of cancer rehabilitation is to help patients return to the highest level of function and independence possible, while improving the overall quality of life — physically, emotionally, and socially. These goals are often met by:
Improving bowel and bladder function
Improving nutritional status
Improving physical conditioning, endurance, and exercise performance
Improving social, cognitive, emotional, and vocational status
To help reach these goals, cancer rehabilitation programs may include the following:
Using medicines and pain management techniques to reduce pain
Exercise programs to help build strength and endurance
Patient and family education and counseling
Activities to improve mobility (movement) and decrease sleep problems
Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, handwriting, cooking, and basic housekeeping
Stress, anxiety, and depression management
Management of chronic illness or complications due to cancer treatments
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