Traps for the unwary

November 2010


Patients living with cancer

The role of rehabilitation

Volume 39, No.11, November 2010 Pages 844-846

Anupam Datta Gupta

Sue Lewis

Russell Shute


Patients are surviving longer with cancer due to early detection and improvements in treatment. With longer survival, quality of life becomes very important. While improvements in treatment add years to the life of patients diagnosed with cancer, rehabilitation can add life to those years.


This article highlights the role rehabilitation can play in enhancing the quality of life for patients living with cancer.


There are an increasing number of cancer survivors, creating the imperative to look beyond just survival. Potentially remediable problems may include pain, deconditioning and functional impairments. Patients with cancers of the breast, head and neck, musculoskeletal, central nervous system and peripheral nervous system, prostate, and metastatic cancer of the spine may particularly benefit from rehabilitation. Active engagement of oncologists, palliative medicine, general practitioners and rehabilitation specialists can be useful to assist in the rehabilitation needs of patients. In appropriate situations, patients with cancer should be offered rehabilitation services if they are likely to benefit.

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