You’ve Beat Cancer. Now What?
Specialized rehab for cancer survivors focuses on care beyond treatment.
“You’re cancer free,” your doctor says, finally saying the words you’ve waited so long to hear.
Exhale. Now what?
Your journey to now has no doubt taken you through endless doctor appointments, lifestyle changes, financial challenges and changes to your roles at home, in social circles and at work. The same treatments that saved your life have likely left lingering effects, physical and mental. You may fatigue easily or have pain, weakness or other problems limiting your ability to work, play or care for yourself.
So how do you rebuild your life and your quality of life?
A great place to start is connecting with cancer-survivorship resources in your area, including cancer rehabilitation programs.
What is Cancer Rehabilitation?
Designed to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life, cancer rehabilitation is an important piece of the integrated-care puzzle.
Effective treatment plans are customized based on each survivor’s unique circumstance and health goals. Plans can include a combination of specialized services such as counseling; physical, occupational and speech therapy; nutritional counseling; massage therapy; and exercise and wellness classes, led by professionals with advanced training in cancer treatments and their side effects.
The goal is to help patients build strength and endurance, experience less pain, and really, just feel better overall, so they can get back to doing the things they love sooner. Other rehab benefits include improvements to:
- Memory, concentration and other cognitive capacities
- Mood and quality of life; reduced stress and anxiety
- Energy level and endurance
- Balance, flexibility and range of motion
- Swelling from lymphedema
- Swallowing and eating ability
Choosing the Right Cancer Rehab Program
Choosing an oncology rehabilitation center that fits your needs and goals helps ensure success in reaching your wellness goals. Consider these questions when weighing your options for cancer rehabilitation programs and services:
- Do you have confidence in the rehab team? They must be knowledgeable, not just about cancer, but about your cancer and your They should have advanced training and knowledge of the specific medical, surgical and pharmaceutical treatments you’ve endured and how those treatments have impacted your function and well-being.
- Do the therapists use “active listening?” Do they take time to listen to you and work collaboratively to develop a personalized, goal-oriented care plan for you?
- What type of training and continuing education have they had? Rehab therapists develop advanced competencies through experience, mentoring, attending formal continuing-education training and frequent review of new research findings.
- Which specialized certifications do they have? With multiple certifications available for therapy professionals, effective oncology-rehab therapists continually educate themselves on current best practices and the latest therapy tools and techniques.
- Do they offer unique services that appeal to you? Pet therapy, music therapyand mind-body exercise programs have unique benefits and have been proven to boost rehab patients’ recovery.
At Sarasota Memorial’s Cancer Institute, the Rehabilitation team aims to help cancer patients and survivors to not only survive, but to thrive. For information on the program, click here. For more information on cancer rehabilitation and other survivor resources in our area, call 941-917-7827.