Physiotherapy plays important role in, both MALIGNANT and NON-MALIGNANT CANCER. Rehabilitation for both groups of patients is now recognized as an essential part of the clinical pathway, as earlier diagnosis and new treatments are enabling patients to live longer. It is important to optimise their QUALITY OF LIFE, regardless of their life expectancy. By working as part of a multi-disciplinary team, the Physiotherapist’s core skills – especially their ability to set realistic goals and their patient-centred, problem solving approach – can help people adapt to their changing condition.
The Physiotherapist’s role is to anticipate and prepare for potential disease progression and to facilitate and support independence and successful discharge from the acute sector for the patient and their careers.
Lymphoedema is a chronic, incurable condition observed as swelling of the body tissues (usually in the arms and legs) caused by failure of the lymphatics either as a result of localised trauma e.g. postbreast surgery.
Interventions includes – massage, pressure garments, exercises specially designed for reducing swelling, lymphapress.
Cancer-Related Fatigue (CRF) is recognised as one of the most common and distressing symptoms of cancer, affecting 70-100% of patients during and post anti-cancer treatments. Certain level of fitness is to be maintained by cancer patients & survivors throughout life.
A range of interventions can be utilized by the Physiotherapist and include therapeutic exercise, graded and purposeful activity, postural reeducation, massage and soft tissue mobilization, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and simple heat and cold packs.
Intractable breathlessness can be a devastating and common symptom in advanced cancer and a number of non-malignant conditions, such as chronic lung disease, heart failure and neuro-muscular disorders. Interventions includes techniques like use of a hand-held fan, relaxation techniques, positioning, advice regarding pacing and activity and anxiety management tools, together with the appropriate use of breathing techniques.
PARALYSIS & MUSCLE WEAKNESS
Physiotherapy helps in assessing and teaching exercises to people with muscle weakness and paralysis caused by brain and spinal tumors. Interventions include Range of Motion exercises, Stretching & Strengthening exercises, Balance & Co-ordination exercises, use of assistive devices eg: canes, crutches, walker etc. & making their life independent to great extent.