Cancer Care Physical Therapy
Cancer and its treatment can cause debilitating side effects for patients, compromising their function and quality of life. Fortunately, research has shown that physical therapy during and after cancer treatment can help speed functional recovery, boost immune response, reduce fatigue and reduce risk of complications in people of any age.
Patients undergoing cancer treatment may experience one or more of the following side effects:
- Decreased muscle strength
- Decreased bone density
- Peripheral neuropathy related to chemotherapy
- Lymphedema or swelling disorders
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty sleeping
- Formation of scar tissue
- Postural changes
- Muscle imbalances
Read more about...
- Importance of Physical Therapy During Cancer Treatment
- Individual Assessment
- About PAMF's Cancer Care Physical Therapy Specialists
Importance of Physical Therapy During Cancer Treatment
Maintaining strength during cancer treatments helps to prevent or reduce the risk of complications, such as infection, as well as to enhance quality of life. Physical therapy helps patients and their caregivers regain a sense of hope and control over their health by teaching proper and safe exercise to rebuild function, endurance, and muscle and bone strength. Even a small amount of exercise can help patients decrease side effects and provide benefits such as decreased anxiety and an increased sense of control.
Comprehensive cancer institutes throughout the United States as well as the National Cancer Care Survivorship (NCCS) endorse exercise for cancer patients.
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Your cancer care physical therapist can provide individualized physical assessment and treatment for the following:
- Weakness secondary to disease, treatment or muscle atrophy
- Limited flexibility/range of motion
- Fatigue/decreased endurance
- Pain management
- Impaired balance
- Decreased cardiovascular fitness/deconditioning secondary to cancer and its treatment
- Scar tissue management after surgery
- Peripheral neuropathy -- numbness/tingling/decreased balance or walking
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About PAMF's Cancer Care Physical Therapy Specialists
Sharon Leslie P.T., DPT, is a physical therapist specializing in cancer rehabilitation. She helps patients cope with the side effects of cancer treatment. She received both her Master of Science degree and Doctorate in physical therapy (DPT) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO in 1998, where she studied with internationally renowned faculty in the field of musculoskeletal imbalance. She lectures throughout the Bay Area, helping physicians and patients gain more awareness of the importance of physical activity and rehabilitation as part of comprehensive cancer care.
"I see patients struggle with pain, musculoskeletal imbalance, deconditioning and fatigue resulting from surgery, adjuvant therapy and reconstruction," said Dr. Leslie. "My goal is to get them back to a healthy and active lifestyle, as well as potentially open them up to new possibilities to improve their health and well being through exercise and activity."
Rachel Peters, MSPT, is a 1997 graduate of Stanford University's Program in Human Biology, and a 2000 graduate of the Master's Program in Physical Therapy at Columbia University. Since returning to the bay area, she has worked in several private clinics providing care to both the orthopedic and ontological population. Rachel has taken advanced course work in manual therapy, lymphedema prevention and management, and rehabilitation of the injured athlete. Rachel has been certified to teach by the Pilates Method Alliance, and has been teaching Pilates within both the rehabilitation and fitness communities since 2004. A former dancer and gymnast, her professional interests revolve around helping patients attain the greatest level of function possible, whether that involves a return to pain-free daily activities, or to high-level athletics. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys distance running, cooking, and spending time with her husband and young son.
Palo Alto Center
795 El Camino Real
Clark Building Level 1
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Department Phone: 650-853-3355
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