It’s a punch to the gut when you hear that you or someone you love has cancer. This is a disease that we are all too familiar with. No matter the exact diagnosis, we know that fighting cancer will be an uphill battle. It will require much of the patient, as well as those who help care for the patient. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and, in this blog, we will discuss the value of physical therapy being a part of the overall cancer treatment plan.
There are a variety of treatment options depending on the type of cancer, the stage of the disease, age, etc. Each patient has a different makeup, and the doctor will work with you to develop the best plan of treatment. But one thing that probably all doctors can agree on is that physical therapy can be helpful in combatting some of the negative or adverse effects one may have.
Every year millions are diagnosed with cancer in the United States alone. With advances in technology, screening, and early detection, more and more are becoming cancer survivors. But many of those same survivors are living with impairments that will affect their lives for a very long time, if not permanently. In fact, those who survive are almost three times more likely to report fair to poor health after finishing treatment and two times as likely to have social disabilities and physical and functional limitations as persons without cancer or chronic illness. Enter physical therapy. With ongoing physical therapy sessions, cancer patients and survivors can restore physical function, as well as increase strength and mobility, allowing the opportunity to live more productive lives.
How Physical Therapy Can Help
One of the more positive outcomes of physical therapy is the patient becoming a participator in their own care versus only being a passive recipient in their treatment from others. This alone can be a game changer in self-confidence and can educate them on how to live a healthy lifestyle moving forward. In this challenging time, working with a physical therapist can be exactly what is needed to maintain some similarity to your pre-cancer life.
We all know that exercising and being active are an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle. But in particular, the benefits of physical activity while receiving cancer treatment and beyond are worth noting.
- Gives you energy and helps decrease the feeling of being tired or fatigued
- Better sleep
- Maintains or helps build up muscle strength, bone health and range of motion
- Increases appetite
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Can help reduce overall treatment side effects
- May help decrease the likelihood of other chronic diseases and the risk of a second cancer
Being Active Post-Cancer Diagnosis
Exercising and being active may look a bit different than what it did before the cancer diagnosis. Your body is undergoing many changes due to the disease and the treatment. It may be that you need to take it easier in terms of speed or intensity. A physical therapist can work with you to identify and establish an exercise plan that will benefit you and work to meet the goals that were agreed upon at the outset.
If you or a loved one has cancer and need the expertise that a physical therapist can bring, call nMotion Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment. Our team of physical therapists and staff are here to support you with knowledge, experience, and compassion during this difficult season you find yourself in.