Cancer Rehabilitation & Therapy

Treatment

What Is Cancer Rehabilitation & Therapy?

Side effects from radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery and other cancer treatments can make daily activities or work more challenging. At Mercy, we offer a wide range of rehabilitation therapies and pain management services to help you return to a full and active life. Whether you’re currently receiving or have completed cancer treatment, we can help you effectively manage pain, fatigue, weakness and other side effects.

These services offer several advantages to people affected by cancer, including:

 

  • Reduced pain and other side effects
  • Faster return to normal activities
  • Improved quality of life
  • Lower stress levels
  • Nutritional support

Cancer & cancer treatment often cause physical, psychological and cognitive problems. Cancer rehabilitation and therapy can address many of these problems including:

Lymphedema

Lymphedema is the excess lymphatic fluid buildup under the skin that causes swelling (edema), often in the arms and legs. Cancer surgery and other treatments can cause lymphedema. While lymphedema can't be cured, it can be effectively managed through therapeutic exercises, compression therapy and more.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage that can be caused by chemotherapy, resulting in numbness, pain or tingling in the hands and feet.

Cancer-Related Pain

Cancer tumors can cause pain as they destroy tissue or grow into bones, nerves and organs. Cancer surgery can also cause pain, such as post-mastectomy pain syndrome (persistent pain in the chest wall, armpit or arm after breast cancer surgery).

Incontinence

We provide therapies that address a variety of pelvic floor problems, ranging from pain to bladder or bowel incontinence.

Balance Issues

Fatigue, dizziness and low blood counts are common with cancer and may cause balance issues or falls.

Speech & Swallowing Issues

Head and neck cancers and their treatments can cause speech impairment and/or swallowing difficulty (dysphagia).

Mobility Issues

Cancer can cause muscle and joint problems due to tumor growth, medications, chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Soft-tissue sarcoma (cancer in the body’s soft tissues) may also affect mobility.

Fatigue & "Chemo Brain"

Tiredness (fatigue) and mental cloudiness (chemo brain) can occur before, during or after cancer treatment.

People with cancer experience changes in their bodies that can affect movement, speech, nutritional needs, balance, fluid regulation, pelvic-floor strength and overall well-being. Our cancer rehabilitation team uses innovative, non-invasive technologies to address these physical, mobility and cognitive difficulties & help you regain strength & quality of life. Our cancer rehabilitation and therapy services include:

Physical Therapy

Our physical therapists use a variety of physical therapy techniques to improve strength, flexibility and range of motion. PT for cancer patients includes exercise, joint manipulation and massage.

Occupational Therapy

Mercy occupational therapists help people experiencing cancer side effects resume activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, cooking, eating and driving.

Speech Therapy

Mercy speech-language pathologists evaluate and treat speech impairments caused by cancer or its treatment.

Nutrition Therapy

Eating well when being treated for cancer may help your tolerance level of treatment side effects, lower infection rate and expedite recovery. Mercy dietitians assess the nutritional status of people affected by cancer and recommend ways to optimize nutrition.

Vestibular Therapy

Mercy physical therapists provide exercise-based vestibular therapy to reduce dizziness and improve balance.

Lymphedema Therapy

Mercy physical and occupational therapists help reduce lymphedema pain and swelling using specialized massage techniques, exercises and other therapies.

Pelvic Floor Therapy

Mercy physical and occupational therapists use strength training, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, manual therapy and behavior modifications to promote pelvic-floor health.

Integrative Therapy

Mercy's integrative therapy services offer a range of complementary and alternative therapies to enhance well-being, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, healing touch, reflexology and more.

Effective pain management is an important part of your cancer care. Left untreated, pain can affect your mood, sleep, work, activity level and quality of life. Mercy can help you create a personalized pain management plan. It could include treatments such as pain relievers, prescription medications or other rehabilitation therapies. We’ll help control your pain while minimizing side effects. And when your pain improves, we’ll help you safely reduce or stop your medications.

 

Talk with your Mercy cancer care team to learn more about pain management options.

Your rehabilitation team tailors therapies and services to your unique needs, helping you regain strength and reduce pain. Our services are available to Mercy patients with any cancer diagnosis throughout treatment and survivorship. Based on your current health and the cancer care you received, your Mercy rehabilitation team may include:

 

  • Physical therapists (PTs)
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Dietitians
  • Other professionals

 

Like all members of your Mercy cancer care team, our rehabilitation specialists focus on treating the whole you ― body, mind and spirit.

How Therapy Services Can Help With Cancer Recovery

Taryn Ellis, DPT, CLT

Mercy's rehabilitation specialists support you at every stage of cancer care, helping you ease pain, build stamina, restore confidence and feel like yourself again.

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