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Cancer Rehabilitation

At Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, we are dedicated to helping you before, during and after a cancer diagnosis. Some cancer treatments can result in functional deficits, which can affect the quality of daily life. Our cancer rehabilitation team can help.

Our therapists work closely with you and your oncology team to make sure your cancer rehabilitation plan is tailored to meet your individual needs.

What Can I Expect From Banner’s Cancer Rehabilitation Programs?

Everyone’s cancer diagnosis is different. Banner MD Anderson’s Cancer Rehabilitation programs address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of all cancer patients and their families. We offer the following rehabilitation programs:

Lymphedema Rehabilitation Treatment

Lymphedema is a painful swelling that can occur when there is an interruption of normal lymphatic flow in the body. Lymphatic fluid is protein-rich and can act as a magnet for swelling. The protein serves as a food source for infection, therefore making it difficult to treat.

After evaluation by a certified lymphedema therapist, patients can receive individualized lymphedema therapy to relieve symptoms. Lymphedema therapy may consist of:

  • Exercise: Stretching or other special lymphedema exercises to help move the fluid
  • Skin Care: Proper skin care to keep the skin moist and less prone to cracks, cuts and blisters that increase the risk of infection
  • Massage: Manual lymph draining is a gentle form of massage. A lymphedema massage helps mobilize the fluid and direct it to other pathways in the body
  • Compression garments: Elastic fabric garments, similar to support stockings, apply pressure to the affected area to help move fluid to reduce swelling

Physical Therapy for Cancer Rehabilitation

Cancer physical therapy can help patients improve their strength, flexibility and functional movements, including mobility, walking and balance. The rehabilitation staff at Banner MD Anderson will work with you to determine the specific therapy you may need. We offer the following therapies for cancer rehabilitation:

Cancer-Related Fatigue Therapy

Cancer-related fatigue is a common issue for patients with cancer and is a normal complaint from cancer survivors. By definition, cancer-related fatigue is a distressing, persistent, subjective sense of physical, emotional or cognitive exhaustion related to cancer treatment. Cancer-related fatigue can affect every part of a patient’s daily life and can be a barrier to healing. Physical therapy and cancer rehabilitation can help relieve some of this fatigue that is typically caused by:

  • Anemia
  • Comorbid conditions
  • Deconditioning
  • Emotional distress
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Infection
  • Medication side effects
  • Pain
  • Poor sleep quality and quantity
  • Poor nutrition

Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation

Pelvic floor rehabilitation is a non-surgical approach to rehabilitation of pelvic dysfunctions that contribute to bladder issues and pain. Patients with pelvic pain can suffer from issues of urge incontinence or urgency as well as pain that can restrict their mobility away from home.

Occupational Therapy

Banner MD Anderson’s occupational therapy for oncology patients helps emphasize independence at home and work. Our occupational therapy rehabilitation staff can assist you in improving and learning new ways to carry out basic activities of daily living.

Following a careful assessment of strength, coordination, body mechanics and pain, our rehabilitation experts will develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient.

Our occupational therapists can provide the following services:

  • Hand therapy: This type of therapy will help restore and improve upper extremity strength and function. Treatment plans can be developed to improve sensation, range of motion and coordination of hands, arms and shoulders
  • Splint Manufacturing: We provide custom splints that are fabricated and adjusted on-site for stability and improved function of hands and upper extremities
  • Energy conservation strategies: Our therapists can teach new ways to complete daily tasks to avoid fatigue and maximize independence
  • Use of adaptive equipment: Our therapists can recommend and instruct you on the use of special equipment to make daily tasks easier and safer

Speech Therapy

The speech pathologists at Banner MD Anderson have extensive experience in head and neck cancer. These therapists provide highly skilled and individualized speech therapy for cancer patients, including:

Cognition Therapy

Our therapists with you to improve memory, problem-solving, sequencing, attention and organization to increase safety and independence for the home and work environment.

Laryngectomy Rehabilitation

After a total laryngectomy, our speech pathologists work with patients to resume communication through Tracheoesophageal Voice Prosthesis (TEP) and the use of an electrolarynx. Our therapists also work closely with physicians to determine when it is safe to eat and drink to monitor how well patients are tolerating their diet.

Speech/Articulation Therapy

Sometimes, cancers involving the head and neck can impact a patient’s ability to speak and produce sounds normally. Speech therapy for head and neck cancer can help improve strength and range of the lips, tongue, mandible and soft palate.

Swallowing Therapy

The therapists at Banner MD Anderson provide a thorough assessment and intervention to maximize a patient’s ability to eat and drink safely. Our therapists will work closely with dietitians to ensure nutritional needs are met through cancer treatment and beyond.

Voice Therapy

Voice disorders can sometimes develop after cancer treatments. Our therapists will instruct patients on how to maximize their ability to use their voice and work to improve vocal quality.

For more information about Banner MD Anderson’s rehabilitation programs, please call (480) 256-5387.