Wednesday 8 October 2014

Cancer Rehabilitation: An Update and Discussion on Future Care

Workshop by Dr. Julie Silver at American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine

Nicole Stout and Dr. Julie Silver at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine in Toronto Oct 8, 2014

Today at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, I was fortunate to have attended a workshop with Dr. Julie Silver, co-founder of Oncology Rehab Partners, an associate professor at Harvard and a breast cancer survivor. I have been reading her cancer rehab research over the past couple years and it was a thrill to hear her speak.

Her message to the medical professionals (oncologists, physiotherapists, physiatrists, nurses) in the room was simple. Cancer cases are expected to surge by 57% worldwide in the next 20 years. People are surviving cancer like never before, but many are living with impairments. Cancer rehabilitation should be provided to address these impairments and yet their needs are consistently not being met leading to disability that could have been prevented.

Nicole Stout Spoke on the Value of Cancer Rehabilitation to Policy Makers and Clinicians

The second speaker of the day, was Nicole Stout, a physical therapist and clinical researcher for the National Institute of Health. She is best known for the Prospective Surveillance Model for Breast Cancer patients. Once again I was awed to be in her presence as she has done so much to elevate the profession of physical therapy with her cancer rehab research and her involvement with policy development on many levels. She feels that the value of Cancer Rehabilitation is finally being appreciated by policy makers and clinicians across the USA, but we are still having difficulty operationalizing its delivery.

Highlights of the 2013 Institute of Medicine Report "Delivering High Quality Cancer Care" 

The 2013 Institute of Medicine report on “Delivering High Quality Cancer Care” concluded that we need to re-examine how we can work together to improve the quality of life and outcomes for people facing a cancer diagnosis. In Canada, it seems that Cancer Rehabilitation is often considered optional and it is time that we include it as part of our standard of care for all cancer patients. This would involve a shared model of care, where the every patient is screened for impairments along their continuum of care and the appropriate rehab intervention is provided in an effort to avoid chronic disability and instead return them to happy and productive lives.

Please contact one of our 62 Cancer Rehab locations across Canada. Links will direct to a Cancer Rehab provider in your area.

British Columbia
Saskatchewan & Manitoba
Nova Scotia


  1. I didn't know that most cancer survivors have impairments after they are treated for cancer. I usually hear about cases where there is nothing wrong with the patient after they were treated. In fact, I know a man who had no side effects after he was treated for cancer. I am glad they are starting to address the impairments received after treatment. It will really help many people.

  2. Last October, Rhode Island made history as the first state to mount a cancer rehab initiative, bringing STAR Program Certification to more than 20 facilities and thousands of survivors throughout RI, thanks to the financial support of The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation. Now, with the help of The Friends of Mel Foundation, Massachusetts, the state with the nation’s most progressive healthcare system, has taken the torch and is reaffirming its commitment to quality medical care for all by giving cancer survivors a healthier future through rehabilitation.
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