The McKay-Dee Hospital Cancer Center offers resources to help each cancer survivor recover completely. This includes rehabilitation; anything from counseling to exercise and nutrition changes. The Dieticians, Exercise Rehabilitation Specialists, Social Workers and American Cancer Society Patient Navigator all work together in this rehab process.
Depending on the type and severity of cancer treatment, nutrition can be a big problem. Some patients experience malnourishment due to side effects, while others experience weight gain because of cancer treatment steroids. A dietician should always be consulted to make a nutrition plan. Cancer treatment takes a severe toll on the body so it’s necessary to give it proper nutrition to avoid additional health problems.
Many cancer patients experience fatigue during treatment and find it difficult to return to physical activities. Aerobic exercise and resistance training during and after treatment can help. Depending on the type, location and treatment plan of the cancer, there may also be range of motion problems. A physical therapist and/or exercise rehabilitation specialist can create an exercise regimen that increases range of motion and physical strength/endurance. Keeping the body healthy and physically fit is essential in reducing the chances of cancer reoccurrence, not to mention to ward off other possible illnesses that might come due to heredity, lifestyle or treatment side effects.
Lymphedema is cellular waste or buildup in the lymph vessels that causes swelling, pain and limited functionality of the affected area. Cancer patients are at risk for it if they’ve received surgery or radiation therapy that’s damaged the lymph vessels. It occurs most often in breast cancer patients. Proper exercise therapy and nutrition can help prevent lymphedema. If a person already has lymphedema, exercise rehabilitation and nutrition are essential to reducing the symptoms and lessening the effects. Lymphedema may not occur until years after cancer treatment so it’s important to continue the exercise and nutrition plan.
Depression and emotional distress often accompanies a diagnosis of cancer, and that can even continue past treatment. Luckily, there are multiple resources to help a person get through this difficult time. McKay-Dee Hospital Cancer Center provides an American Cancer Society Patient Navigator to connect the patient with community resources and support groups. Survivors are always welcome to continue the cancer support group free of charge and they are encouraged to connect with other cancer survivors. There are also several internet resources available.