Physical Therapy’s Role in the Fight Against Cancer

A person’s fight with cancer can be long, grueling, and taxing – and can leave lasting physical challenges. While we might hear “cancer survivor” and think that the worst is behind, in fact it may take even more work to truly return to a sense of health and physical well being. Recently, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), published a piece about the vital role physical therapy is playing both in cancer survivors and those who may never beat their disease.

Helping Survivors Recover

The APTA article discussed how early physical therapy can make a tremendous difference for those recovering from their battle with cancer. The disease process as well as the treatment can cause a huge variety of mobility and movement issues. For example, physical therapists can help patients strengthen muscles wasted by treatment, improve balance in those who are dealing with nerve issues secondary to treatment, help patients improve movement in limbs affected by the disease, and much more. The APTA article discusses how beneficial physical therapy was for some pediatric cancer survivors who were later able to rebound after treatment and regain mobility and movement after early and consistent physical therapy.

Improving Quality of Life

Even for cancer patients who may not ultimately beat their disease, physical therapy plays a critical role. The APTA article discusses cases in which the physical therapist was able to help patients reach specific goals and “bucket list” items. One example was how PT helped a metastatic breast cancer patient return to running, which was an activity that had played a significant role in her life. Although she eventually lost her fight with cancer, she was able to maintain a quality of life through physical therapy that was important to her. By helping cancer patients, regardless of outcome, physical therapists play an important role in overall disease treatment.

A Growing Trend

According to the APTA article, more physical therapists are training and specializing in working with cancer patients and survivors. Cancer patients can be complex, with issues like: multi-organ dysfunction, balance and strength issues, range-of-motion problems, and have a fall-risk. They may have one, more, or all of these in addition to other conditions. Many medical groups are also endorsing physical therapy as an important addition to cancer treatment, with one even talking about the role of PT in pre-habilitation treatment, before the patient even undergoes treatment for the cancer. Recommendations also include assessing older adults for risk factors before starting chemotherapy treatment.

Cancer is a big deal, and the side effects of your fight with a serious disease process can also be life changing. Body One Physical Therapy would love to be in your corner. We’re locally-owned and operated, with four locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Our team of experienced, compassionate physical therapists works with clients of all ages, health status, and activity level, and we’d love to help you, too. No matter where you are on your journey toward healing, we want to help get you moving in the right direction. Call Body One today!