February is an important time for Physiotherapy and Cancer Rehabilitation as World Cancer Day is recognized on February 4th and as awareness for Cancer Prevention continues throughout the month. In recent years, the survival rate of Cancer has increased largely due to the education in Cancer prevention, Cancer protection and Cancer and the treatments available.

At Absolute Rehab, we can help Cancer Patients and Cancer Survivors with Physiotherapy to help make moving, easier. Physiotherapy and keeping active has been researched and proven effective in helping those with Cancer to stay moving, regain their independence, and live life as normally as possible.

What Happens To The Body With Cancer

As many know, Cancer is one of the many diseases that interrupt how the cells in your body work. In a healthy human body, there are millions of cells that are multiplying at rapid paces. With old cells dying and new cells replacing them, the cycle ultimately keeps the body in its best form. Cancer interrupts this process.

When Cancer is detected in the human body, it is a result of old cells that do not die, in addition to new cells that are multiplying and aren’t necessary, because they are not replacing anything. Instead, there is an abundance of new cells and dead cells in the body. This creates abnormal, cancer cells. And as all cells do, they can multiply, which is the reason it is important to seek Cancer treatment as rapidly as possible once it is detected. As these cells multiply, they can also form cancerous tumours—which are growths of tissue with cancer cells.

Types of Cancer and How Treatments Affect The Body

Cancer is the general umbrella term for a collection of various types of cancer, such as brain cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, Hodgkins Lymphoma and other Lymphatic cancers, Leukemia, neck cancer, etc. With early detection of cancer and the rate of survival increasing, patients seek treatments that not only rid cancer or decrease its presence, but they also seek treatments to return to their everyday activities and gain a sense of independence back in their lives.

With medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, the body and immune system become quite weak. Many patients are also left with pain that can make the simple task of getting out of bed in the morning, one that feels impossible for their body. With a variety of physiotherapy for rehabilitation, patients can find suitable treatments with our Kitchener physiotherapists. 

Three Types of Cancer Rehabilitation Physiotherapy Treatments

Lymphedema Control and Assistance

The lymphatic system is the vessels, tissues and blood that carry the liquid, lymph, throughout the body. When there are cancerous cells in lymphatic liquid, they can build up in vessels and nodes (areas that filter lymphs), or as tumours, causing pain and infections as cancer bodies continue to multiply. This includes lymphatic areas such as the tonsils, the thyroid, the spleen, breast tissue, the groin, under the arms, the neck, and areas bone marrow. Once the damage is caused in these areas either from cancer itself, or from radiation treatments, infections, and scarring, it is important that patients address the damage and help repair the body.

Physiotherapists can assist by draining lymphatic tissues and by increasing a patient’s range of motion. Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a procedure done by a Physiotherapist and includes two massage motions—one that clears the fluid and one that helps the body to reabsorb lymph.

Your Physiotherapist will place pressure in the area that needs drainage, slowly pushing the build-up out of the lymph area, creating an opening for new lymph to flow through. To get a system of flow back through the affected area, your Physiotherapist will start from an area furthest from the point of pain, and gently massage the muscles in an upward motion.

Neuropathic Pain Physiotherapy and Peripheral Pain Physiotherapy

Because Cancer can affect how nerves function, it is especially important that patients strengthen their nervous system once again so messages from the brain transmit properly to nerves throughout the body.  Neuropathic Physiotherapy rehabilitation can help repair muscle groups in the brain and spine areas to gain strength, to ultimately help the patient. This is especially important in aiding patients who also experience peripheral pain.

Peripheral Pain Physiotherapy is closely linked to Neuropathic Pain Therapy because it helps the extremities of the body, like the legs and arms, strengthen their nerves to better transmit messages from the brain. For patients that have weakness in the legs, knees, feet and arms as a result of cancer, it is important to seek physiotherapy rehabilitation.

Physiotherapy for both Neuropathic pain and Peripheral pain includes exercises that can help with basic movements like walking, standing and maintaining balance but also with vision and motor skills. Physiotherapists rehabilitate patients by helping them with exercises that target muscle groups that aid in these movements. These exercises can be as basic as standing on one leg but can be built up to include light cardio.

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy for Pelvic Cancers

After sustaining pelvic cancers, the muscles in the pelvic floor can be left quite weak for both women and men. Because the muscles in the pelvis are weakened from cancer and medical treatments, it’s important to rebuild them to avoid further pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and even Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Your Physiotherapist will work with you to target the muscles of the pelvic floor, muscles in the lower back, and in the upper legs to help with the pain and to get your pelvic organs the muscle they need to perform their best. While some exercises can be to strengthen the muscles, there are also those that will help the muscles relax which is especially important for muscles that have been damaged throughout the course of cancer. Treatments for pelvic patients will be provided in a private room so the patient is comfortable to perform physiotherapy exercises.

Discovering Physiotherapy Treatments for Rehabilitation

There are far more than just these three types of cancer rehabilitation treatments available to our Kitchener Physiotherapy patients. Our Physiotherapists can create a unique rehabilitation plan for patients that reflect their progress and their cancer treatments.

The overall result of physiotherapy for cancer patients and those in recovery is to give back a sense of strength and independence despite battling a difficult disease. If you or a loved one can benefit from Physiotherapy treatments, be sure to book an initial consultation with one of our Physiotherapists.