Stacey Hicks: Cancer Rehabilitation

By Stacey Hicks, Carlisle Place Physical Therapy and Wellness Center

As many people can attest, cancer takes a toll on both physical as well as emotional health.

Patients undergoing treatment for cancer may experience an impact on daily function and even quality of life throughout survivorship.

These limitations are not limited to cancer-related fatigue, nerve pain, lymphedema and possible incontinence. Cancer survivors are almost three times more likely to report fair to poor health and multiple physical limitations. These limitations often can make return to work nearly impossible.

A physical or occupational therapist trained in this area can play a vital role evaluating and designing a rehab plan of care with the patient.

This allows the patient to be an active participant in the recovery process. This can be very empowering as they wean from being the passive recipient during both chemo and radiation therapy.

Exercise builds endurance, improves cardiovascular function, strengthens bones, builds muscle, improves balance and increases self-esteem.

There is strong evidence that exercise can improve survival in both breast and colorectal patients (Holmes, Chen, Feskanich, Kroenke and Colditz, 2005; and MyerHardTetal, 2006).

Exercise is also the No. 1 non pharmacologic intervention in treating cancer-related fatigue. Cancer-related fatigue is experienced by 9 percent of patients treated with radiation and 80 percent of patients getting chemotherapy.

It is never too late to use rehabilitation services for cancer recovery.

If you find that you are having trouble accomplishing day-to-day tasks or functioning at your prior level seek out a rehab team like the one at at Carlisle Place in Jefferson to help get you back on your feet.

Stacey Hicks is the owner of Carlisle Place Physical Therapy and Wellness Center in Jefferson. She attended University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, graduating with a bachelor of science in physical therapy in 1996. In addition to her certification in the McKenzie Method of mechanical diagnosis, she is also a nationally certified lymphedema therapist. We can be reached at (603) 586-4100, by fax at (603) 586-0084, or go to

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