Rehabilitation helps you recover during and after cancer treatment. It can help you gain control over many parts of your life and stay as independent and productive as possible.
Your healthcare team may include the following professionals. They specialize in different areas and can help you recover in different ways.
Physicians that help with rehabilitation and manage your treatment include surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and general practitioners.
A physiatrist treats illnesses and injuries that affect how you move and function. They may also manage your pain.
A rehabilitation nurse helps people with a disability or injury recover physical function. They can help you be more independent and manage possible problems after cancer treatment. They can also help you adjust to changes in your environment or lifestyle.
A dietitian can help you maintain good nutrition during and after cancer treatment. They can give advice and information about nutrition and help you manage problems including loss of appetite, taste changes and weight loss or weight gain.
An occupational therapist helps you prevent and live with illness, injury and disability. They assess, treat and help you manage physical, mental and cognitive problems related to cancer or its treatment. They are trained to assess the layout of your home, school or workplace and suggest ways to improve your mobility and help you cope with daily activities.
A physiotherapist helps you get back to your previous levels of mobility and physical activity and prevent further problems. Physiotherapy is important if you have lost muscle tone, have trouble with balance, have a prosthesis or need to use a cane or other assistive device. Physiotherapists are also called physical therapists. Physiotherapy can also be called physical therapy.
A recreational therapist can help you learn how to manage stress, anxiety and depression through games, exercise, arts, crafts and music.
Social worker or psychologist
A social worker or psychologist talks with you and your family about emotional, mental and social health. They can talk to you about your experiences and help you develop coping plans for different situations. They can provide or refer you to support services like counselling, support groups and financial help.
An ostomy therapist helps you learn to live with and care for an ostomy. An ostomy is a surgical procedure to create an opening from an area inside the body to the outside. People with cancer may need an ostomy if an opening or passage in the body is blocked by a tumour or changed by cancer treatment. A tracheostomy, a colostomy and a urostomy are examples of an ostomy.
A speech therapist specializes in helping people cope with problems that affect communication. They assess, diagnose and help manage and treat problems related to speech, language, swallowing, voice and sensory awareness, and cognitive aspects related to communication. Speech therapists are also called speech-language pathologists.
Spiritual care worker
A spiritual care worker offers support and prayer according to your spiritual and religious needs.
Vocational rehabilitation counsellor
A vocational rehabilitation counsellor can help you return to your previous job or workplace. They can help you find other work if you have functional changes from cancer or its treatment. A vocational rehabilitation counsellor can support you if you are still working during and after treatment. They can also help you find work that may be more rewarding.
Making progress in the cancer fight
The 5-year cancer survival rate has increased from 25% in the 1940s to 60% today.