The In-Between: You Empower Cancer Patients between Diagnosis and Treatment

The ‘in between’ time, that time between being diagnosed with cancer and the start of treatment, can be agonizing.

Waiting for treatment to begin can induce many unknowns, worries and concerns. Often cancer patients who receive chemotherapy or radiation experience extensive physical limitations during and after treatment, but the severity of these side effects can vary from patient to patient.

Your support for cancer care at Island Hospital empowers cancer patients to preemptively address possible side effects of treatment through prehabilitation physical therapy. Prehabilitation is the care-process that happens in between diagnosis and the start of treatment. It includes physical assessments that establish a baseline functionality level, identify impairments, and provide interventions that promote physical and psychological health.

Because of your support, physical therapists, Sheryl Kyllo and Amy Harrington, received specialized training in physical therapy techniques that specifically address cancer treatment related impairments. Potential impairments from treatment include, but are not limited to stiffening or tightening of tissue near radiation sites that can lead to pain or limited mobility, nerve damage that can cause balance or dexterity issues, extreme fatigue, swelling, and incontinence.

Addressing the possibility of these side effects before treatment begins can ease concerns and empower patients to manage their symptoms during and after treatment. As Harrington says, “The goal is to reduce the incidence and severity of impairments caused by chemotherapy or radiation during treatment by addressing them before they begin. It’s preventative medicine.” Having this knowledge before treatment begins equips patients with an understanding of what may come and empowers patients to manage and possibly alleviate the side effects.

Because of you, prehabilitation is available to all cancer patients in your community with a doctor’s referral.

Did you know that Oncology Physical Therapy and Therapeutic Exercises can:

  • Reduce pain, fatigue or edema
  • Counteract diminished motion and strength
  • Reduce scar tissue restrictions
  • Improve impaired balance
  • Lessen chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Reduce infections and the risk of lymphedema
  • Decrease post-op complications