As physical therapists, we are educated and skilled at helping people return to their baseline level of function after an injury or illness. We have treated many people with our professional help after knee surgeries, frozen shoulders, or lower back pain. We are skilled at observing body mechanics and understanding what underlying structures are contributing to a dysfunction. PTs use manual interventions, modalities, and therapeutic exercise to help restore a normal balance or homeostasis to a body which is in dysfunction.
Oncology rehabilitation encompasses a variety of post-cancer care concerns which afflict many people. Traditionally, a patient was not sent to physical therapy unless they had problems with swelling or lymphedema, leaving a large number of people with other negative effects and without any options for treatment. There are a number of symptoms, such as loss of joint motion, adherent scar tissue, balance, and gait-related disorders, cancer-related fatigue, and chronic pain which may not be addressed after the main cancer treatments have been completed. As physical therapists with a background in oncology, we are the perfect professionals to help improve and enhance survivorship outcomes. In a 2004 article published by the Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association, studies concluded that cancer-related fatigue was either successfully prevented or reduced to all patients who underwent oncology-based physical therapy for a graded exercise program (Watson et al). Exercise as an intervention for Cancer Related Fatigue. Watson, T., Mock, V. Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association. Pg. 742. Volume 84, Number 8. August 2004
Additional studies are emerging on physical therapy’s benefits on many of the health concerns mentioned above. These will continue to be investigated and researched, as the unique needs of our growing population of survivors are addressed.
We strive to consider every person’s unique needs and impairments. Having the research and appropriate training, we are able to provide greater treatment for the oncology population. Our main goal is aimed at restoring a patient’s level of function and overall quality of life. With the launch of SCPT’s specialized oncology rehabilitation program in Westborough, we are excited to now be able to offer such services to the community.
Please feel free to email me directly with any questions you may have about our program.
Jennifer Goyette, MSPT, CLT, STAR certified
Director of Oncology Rehabilitation