While Southeastern Med’s new John W. and Edna McManus Shepard Cancer Center is a world class, local destination for advanced cancer treatment options, it’s important to note that our services are truly multi-disciplinary, and that we consider the care and well-being of our cancer patients at every stage, from diagnosis through recovery. This includes providing patients access to a team of physical therapists who have met the same guidelines for accreditation as our cancer services team. In other words, when your cancer treatments are complete, your road to regaining your strength, mobility, and fitness can also continue right here.
Breanna Hagen is a lymphedema specialist at Southeastern Med and works with cancer patients on a regular basis. In her experience, these PT treatments will always depend on each individual’s functional status and their personal goals. The details of what type of cancer they’ve had is far less significant than where they hope to go in their recovery.
“If a specific patient has been debilitated from their cancer treatments, most likely they will have a lot of weakness and endurance deficits,” Hagen says. “So we would start a general conditioning program which begins with more basic and tolerable activities. If the patient has a higher level of function and wanted to perhaps try to progress from walking 4 miles to running 4 miles, then we would start them at a higher level and progress with strength and conditioning to support this activity.”
Because every patient’s physical therapy regimen is catered to their circumstances, the program moves at a suitable pace that won’t overwhelm them nor short change their capabilities. Highly trained PTs are also able to help patients work on specific problem areas, rather than just running a generic program.
“If there was a patient who had cancer treatments and was now having shoulder pain due to the position of their body during radiation treatments, the physical therapist would specifically address the dysfunction at the shoulder with strengthening, stretching, and other PT techniques,” Hagen explains. “Similarly, some people may experience back pain as a cancer side effect, which can be caused by the demineralization of bone. A PT would treat the dysfunction at the back with techniques appropriate to this specific condition.”
Cancer care doesn’t end when the cancer is defeated. Our goal is to give each patient a chance to not only get cancer free, but to get back to feeling like themselves again . . . without having to go in search of physical therapist. It’s all available at Southeastern Med, and provided by experienced, licensed, and accredited professionals you can trust.