by Daniel Santa Mina, PhD; Andrew G. Matthew, PhD
Read the original paper in Current Oncology here.
Any comprehensive (and arguably introductive) discussion of strategies to optimize cancer survivorship considers the role of exercise. Following a diagnosis, exercise has been shown to improve pre-, peri, and post-treatment physical and psychosocial outcomes in many cancers and their related treatments. The breadth of the existent evidence that describes these benefits continues to grow at an unmatched rate in the field of complimentary therapies in oncology. As such, reviews of the literature have been published multiple times per year over the past few years. Certainly, one would assume that with this rapidly expanding volume of evidence, a movement towards clinical integration of exercise in oncology would follow in haste. Unfortunately, this has not been the case as community-based or clinically-integrated cancer exercise programs remain the exception rather than the norm, even amongst larger tertiary care institutions. However, there are signs that we are on the cusp of a new era in survivorship where exercise is considered an essential adjunct therapy and is recommended to a majority of patients with some facilitation of a safe and effective exercise prescription.
“As a breast cancer survivor and fitness specialist, I wanted to share this rehabilitation work out with you. Use it as often as you like, and pass it on to others in need.” Download the free video
Creator of the Esmonde Technique
Miranda Esmonde-White creator of the Esmonde Technique, began her career dancing at the National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto. Following her formation as a ballet dancer, she performed around the world with the National Ballet Company of Canada. Shortly after leaving the National Ballet Company she opened her own dance & fitness center in Montreal, Canada. In her mid thirties Miranda joined the ranks of millions of people who suffer from chronic back pain. Determined to rid herself of the pain she tried everything from physiotherapy, massages, acupuncture and visits to chiropractors. All temporarily relieved the pain but nothing got rid of it permanently. Simultaneously to suffering from back pain she began creating a stretch-based fitness program. Much to her surprise her own program cured her of her own back pain. That program sowed the seeds to what is now known as the Esmonde Technique which includes both Classical Stretch and ESSENTRICS.
Using this technique, Miranda has trained many high-performance athletes, becoming one of the most sought after stretch trainers in Canada. She is well known for her work with Olympic Medalist Diver Alexandre Despatie, World Champion squash player, Jonathon Power, Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist goalie Kim St Pierre Canadian Skating Champions Joannie Rochette, Jessica Dube and Bryce Davidson. In addition to her daily exercise show aired on the PBS Network since 1999, she has written several books on stretching including a University certification course and is the host of a series of Classical Stretch DVDs. She also holds regular workshops for Level 4 sports coaches as well as at universities and colleges and travels internationally giving lectures on Breast Cancer rehabilitation, anti-aging and health.
by Deborah J. Doherty, PT, PhD, CEAS
With thanks to Priyanka Parab
Oncology rehabilitation is one of the fastest-growing fields in oncology, and it is desperately needed across the continuum of care. The quality of life of cancer survivors is now a major focus as survivorship numbers grow rapidly. Whether in prevention, pre-op care, post-op in-patient care, out-patient care, supervised group exercise or palliative and hospice care, Oncology Rehabilitation has a role.
by M. R. Chasen, MBChB MPhil (Pall Med) and A.P. Dippenaar
by Cynthia Barbe , MS, PT, DPT
Historically, patients diagnosed with cancer have been instructed to minimize physical activity, conserve energy, and ask for assistance with activities of daily living due to the fatigue associated with cancer and its treatment side effects. 1,2 This “prescribed” immobility has physiologic consequences including a decrease in cardio-vascular/pulmonary capacity, lean body mass, bone density, muscle strength, ability to fight infections, and memory, and an increase in pain and adipose tissue- leading to a synergistic effect on fatigue.2,3
Cancer Rehabilitation – An Introduction
By Julie Silver, MD
Here at the Cancer Knowledge Network, we are excited to bring you information about cancer rehabilitation. Cancer rehabilitation is an important part of the oncology care continuum. This is an area of medicine that has dedicated healthcare professionals such as board certified physicians (called physiatrists) and licensed allied healthcare providers (e.g., physical/occupational/speech therapists, nurses, etc.). Mental health professionals are also key members of the “rehabilitation team”. Frequently, others may be included as well (e.g., yoga instructors, massage therapists, orthotists, etc.).
Ideally, cancer rehabilitation services should be offered to survivors when they have problems functioning. Indeed, the rehabilitation professional’s code is “focus on function.” Medically speaking, this means intervening when individuals are suffering from problems such as weakness, fatigue, pain, lymphedema, difficulty speaking or swallowing, decreased attention or memory, and a host of other issues. Rehabilitation medicine interventions can significantly help survivors with a broad range of problems that they may be experiencing due to cancer and/or cancer treatments. The goal is always to help them function at a higher level—with as little pain, fatigue and disability as possible—regardless of what type of cancer they have or had.
Cancer rehabilitation interventions have been studied fairly extensively, and Cancer Knowledge Network will be highlighting what is often called “evidence-based” medicine. Part of insuring that cancer survivors receive the best possible care is to understand the research that has been done to date in the field of cancer rehabilitation. The next step is applying this research to clinical practice in order to help cancer survivors have the best quality of life possible.