Get rehabilitation as part of your care plan
Getting the right care is important to help you recover and feel more like yourself again. When you choose rehabilitation services at Ascension sites of care, you get an experienced team of physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists. Every appointment with your care team starts with a compassionate conversation. We answer your questions and get to know you. So, you get a personalized cancer rehabilitation care plan. And with a plan, comes hope. We will help you navigate your care and will be by your side every step of the way, connecting the dots. Our goal is to help you get back to home, family, life and self sooner.
Oncology rehabilitation therapies may include:
- Physical therapy, to help improve strength and mobility
- Occupational therapy, to help make everyday tasks such as walking, bathing and dressing easier
- Speech therapy, to help you improve swallowing and speaking
Advanced physical medicine and rehabilitation care is available at some Ascension sites of care. Physiatrists are doctors who specialize in rehabilitation medicine. These specialists work with our rehabilitation care teams to deliver advanced care for restricted range of motion, lymphedema, balance disorders, chronic pain, fatigue, mobility problems, and memory and concentration concerns.
Physical therapy specialists focus on recovery after cancer surgery
Care is about more than healing. We are here to serve, listen and understand, with support for your physical health and wellness, as well as your mental and emotional health. At Ascension sites of care, physical therapists with additional training in oncology rehabilitation, including lymphedema and pelvic therapy, may be part of your care team. For example, after surgery, your muscles and joints may be stiff and swollen. Your physical therapist provides therapies and personalized exercises to help you rebuild your strength and promote healing. Whether your doctor refers you to physical therapy or you self-refer (it’s called direct access*), we’re here to help connect you to physical therapy care that’s right for you. Learn more about direct access.
If lymph nodes are removed or you have radiation therapy that targets cancer cells in your lymphatic system, a condition called lymphedema, which can cause swelling and pain, can affect your arms, legs and torso. Physical therapy and lymphedema care specialists at Ascension sites of care deliver specialized therapies to help manage fluid buildup and swelling that can limit body movement. Using combined decongestive therapy (CDT), also called lymphedema therapy, your physical therapist helps relieve discomfort with gentle exercises, lymphatic massage and medical compression bandages. Your therapist can also teach you these exercises and techniques so you can continue to do them at home.
Pelvic floor therapy
Tumors and scar tissue related to gynecologic cancer, bladder cancer or male genital cancer can affect your pelvic floor muscles. At some Ascension sites of care, we have physical therapists with advanced training in pelvic floor therapy to help you relieve pelvic pain and manage urinary or fecal incontinence.
Your pelvic floor is made up of a group of muscles in the pelvis. They help control your bladder and act as supportive muscles that connect to your lower back and abdominal muscles. Weakened or uncoordinated pelvic floor muscles don’t provide enough support for the bladder and can cause pelvic organ prolapse (bulging of the vagina), urinary incontinence (issues with bladder control), and fecal incontinence (issues with bowel control). Your therapist provides a thorough evaluation to determine if you have tight or weakened muscles. Understanding the cause of your symptoms helps your care team create a personalized rehabilitation care plan that helps you manage your symptoms and improve muscle strength.
Team approach helps navigate tests and support services
Along the way, your care may require other cancer support services as part of your cancer care plan, including nutrition counseling, spiritual care and supportive palliative care. You do not have to navigate your care alone. Your cancer care team will help you schedule appointments, connect with other services, such as Ascension at Home home health care, and answer your questions. From your first therapy appointment and throughout your ongoing care, your doctor will stay informed about your progress.
In some states, you may not need a physician order to start physical therapy. If you would like to start physical therapy but are not sure if you need a physician order, please contact a rehabilitation - physical therapy location at an Ascension site of care near you to discuss whether a physician order is needed.