Monday 9 September 2013

Physiotherapy Can Help Childhood Cancer Patients Regain Quality of Life

Physiotherapy can help childhood cancer patients regain quality of life

Cancer Rehabilitation Can Help Childhood Cancer Survivors

It is important to recognize the role rehabilitation can play in helping childhood cancer survivors overcome the damage to their growing bodies from cancer treatments. Although childhood cancer survival rates have improved from 71% to 82% over the last 30 years, the impact of long-term effects of treatment can also be lessened through cancer rehabilitation.

Adverse Effects Related to Childhood Cancer Treatment Experienced Later in Life

There are currently 10,000 children living with cancer in Canada. As documented in the publication Cancer in Children in Canada, about 800 new cases of childhood cancer are diagnosed in Canada every year, with treatment consisting of a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. The report states that "approximately two-thirds of survivors experience adverse effects related to treatment later in life known as late effects."

Greater Awareness of Physiotherapy Needed for Childhood Cancer Survivors

Because cancer treatments have such negative effects on growing organ systems, childhood cancer survivors often develop chronic conditions that lead to being less active later in life. Rehabilitation techniques such as physiotherapy, chiropractic and occupational therapy can help to address the neurological, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular "late effects" in childhood cancer survivors. Cancer rehab can help cancer survivors get back to normal. The goals of physiotherapy are to develop, restore or maintain normal function as much as possible, teach ways of coping when normal movement cannot be restored, and adapt survivors' environments so that movement can occur as much as possible.

In a study Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Use Among Childhood Cancer Survivors with Chronic Disease: Impact on Health-Related Quality of Life, it was reported that long-term childhood cancer survivors do not seem to make use of rehabilitation services to increase physical function. This could be changed through greater awareness of cancer rehabilitation. The potential for active rehabilitation to restore movement so that childhood cancer survivors can participate more fully in daily life is still largely unrealized.

To locate a Cancer Rehab location near you please see our British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia locations.