Many patients, friends, and family ask this question of me and my colleagues at Be Strong Therapy Services. It’s one we love to answer because it is our passion! In fact, cancer rehab is the primary reason my partners and I started Be Strong Therapy Services.
Cancer (oncology) rehab is the process of helping people who have been diagnosed with cancer get back to living the life they want to live. Cancer treatments simultaneously save your life and deplete your strength, energy, and trust in your body and health. We will work together to achieve physical and mental goals using a variety of therapeutic treatment options.
The Healthcare Team
Cancer rehab typically involves physical, occupational, and speech therapists. However, it also includes your family and friends, and other healthcare professionals such as counselors, massage therapists, and nutritionists, among others. Your healthcare team plays a vital role in helping you restore your ability to fully engage in life after cancer. The physical and occupational therapists at Be Strong Therapy are certified in oncology rehab and have specialized training to help this unique population.
Starting the Process
Cancer rehab can be implemented at any point in the cancer treatment process. We can start as early as the time of diagnosis, and help you become and stay strong enough to tolerate chemotherapy. We will work with you to prevent and limit the side effects of surgery and radiation. Our work can continue long after you’ve completed traditional treatments. To best help you regain your strength, endurance, and range of motion we design the treatment plan specific to each patient. In general, cancer rehab should include exercise and wellness options that last far beyond the end of traditional cancer treatment options.
What to Expect
Your first appointment with your therapist will involve a question-and-answer session centered around your functional goals. Examples of these questions include:
- Do you have any limitations in your ability to reach or move your body like you did prior to your cancer treatment?
- Do you have the strength and endurance to complete the tasks you want and need to do throughout your day?
- What role do you play in your family and/or at work? Can you still play that role?
- Are you strong enough, healthy enough, and do you have enough energy to do what you want and need to do?
The answers to the questions listed above will help guide you and your therapist in developing a treatment plan specific to your personal goals. No two patient’s treatment plans will look alike. Some people will want a more hands-on approach involving frequent appointments and some will want or need a more hands-off approach, such as monthly check-ins.
At Be Strong, we believe that living your life to the fullest means living your life without limitation, whether physical or mental. If you or one of your loved ones have been diagnosed with cancer, it is time to invest in your health.
A cancer diagnosis will change your life, but we want to help make certain it does not define your life.
Dr. Megan Bradley, PT, DPT, CLT-LANA, is a co-owner, personal trainer, and treating physical therapist at Be Strong Therapy Services. Since moving to the Tallahassee area with her husband in 2016, Megan has focused her practice on the lymphedema and cancer population. She has since specialized in oncology (cancer rehab) in order to better serve her patients. You can contact her at BeStrongTherapy@gmail.com.