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