Cancer Rehab - Triangle Physiotherapy
Cancer Rehab

Cancer Rehab

Cancer Rehabilitation in Mississauga 

Cancer Rehabilitation in Toronto

As treatment improves for cancer, more and more people are living longer. Despite such advancements, many of those touched by cancer will experience treatment-related side effects that may greatly impact their quality of life and function.

Cancer rehabilitation can help you to lessen and overcome these side effects and help you to participate in all your meaningful daily activities. The goal of cancer rehabilitation is to thus improve your daily function and physical and mental well-being both during and after your cancer treatments.  

Triangle Physiotherapy has trained physiotherapists that provide cancer rehabilitation services to help manage the common side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.

Our Cancer Rehabilitation Services Can Help You.

 

 

Cancer Rehabilitation Img

Physiotherapists play a vital role in your cancer care team. Cancer and its treatments can cause you to experience many physical difficulties that can be addressed by a physiotherapist who is trained in cancer rehabilitation. Together, we will work with you to help you manage symptoms such as:

–       Pain

–       Weakness

–       Fatigue

–       Decreased range of motion

–       Limited flexibility

–       Scar tissue pain or restrictions

–       Balance difficulties and fear of falling

–       Numbness and tingling in your hands and/or feet

–       Difficulty with physical activities at home and at work

–       Dizziness and/or vertigo

If you are experiencing any side effects from your cancer treatments, the Cancer Rehabilitation team at Triangle Physiotherapy can help with all types of cancer and stages of recovery. Our role in your cancer journey is to help you regain your independence and maximize your function at home and at work. 

Your Initial Appointment  

Before your first appointment, you will be asked to complete a detailed questionnaire about your cancer history and treatment-related side effects. As every patient is unique, the questionnaire will help your therapist to identify your personal concerns and needs.

Your physiotherapist will then perform a comprehensive physical assessment, in order to provide you with an individualized rehabilitation plan best suited for you. Your therapist will discuss the findings of their evaluation and work with you to establish goals that you hope to achieve through physiotherapy.

What Does a Typical Treatment Look Like?

After reviewing your rehabilitation plan with you, your physiotherapist will use a variety of treatment techniques to address all of your needs and symptoms. Your physiotherapy interventions may include a combination of hands-on techniques such as myofascial release, soft-tissue mobilization and manual therapy, in addition to exercises, energy-conservation techniques, desensitization exercises, gait retraining, education on cancer-related swelling and techniques to reduce dizziness and vertigo.

Your physiotherapist may also provide you with a home exercise program to work on between your physiotherapy appointments to further improve your strength, movement, balance and coordination.

Do You Need a Referral?

As physiotherapy is considered a primary care service, you do not need a referral from your doctor or oncologist to book an appointment with us. However, keep in mind that some private insurance companies may ask for a referral to reimburse you for the physiotherapy treatments.

To book a consultation with one of our cancer rehabilitation physiotherapists, call us at 416.893.7426 or book online here.

Click on the links below to find out how Oncology Rehabilitation can help with different types of cancers and side effects of cancer treatment:

Cancer Rehabilitation – Bone Lesions 

Cancer can affect almost every area of the body including the bones. Some cancers start in the bones and some cancers start in a different part of the body but can spread to the bones and cause problems there. 

Problems can include:

–          Pain in the affected bone(s)

–          Swelling around the bone 

–          Difficulty with movements that require putting weight through the bone

–          The affected bone(s) may become very weak and fracture if stressed

–          Deformities or a change in shape of the bones

The most common location for cancer in the bones is the spine and pelvis and people with cancer in these bones are at a very high risk for serious injuries including a fracture of the spine or pelvis if they fall. Cancer physiotherapists are experts on how the body moves, even with cancer in the bones we can keep you as active as possible and teach you how to reduce your risk for falls and fractures.

Benefits of Cancer Physiotherapy

–          Exercise and move safely

–          Reduce your pain

–          Prevent falls

–          Improve your posture

Components of Oncology Physiotherapy

We will always consider your individual goals when deciding the right components of treatment. Treatment will also vary depending on which bones are affected and how much of the bone is affected by the cancer. Interventions may include:

–          Education about how to move safely and avoid injuries

–          Specialized exercises to strengthen supporting muscles

–          Balance training to prevent falls

–          Recommend assistive devices and/or braces if needed

–          Electrical stimulation to reduce pain in the bones

–          Acupuncture to reduce pain

What are the most common misconceptions about Physiotherapy for cancer in the bones?

A common misconception is that there is nothing that can be done about pain or other problems related to cancer of the bones, and a person is bound to suffer with pain and disability. Fortunately there are many things we can do to help and most patients will have a good response to a structured rehabilitation program.

Another common misconception is that Physiotherapy requires doing exercises that are painful. Physiotherapists are highly trained professionals able to independently diagnose and treat many different problems with pain or movement. In fact most of the work you will do with your physiotherapist will involve education and treatments to help you move better and live with less pain.

What does a typical session look like and how often do I need treatment?

Your Physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment of the issue. This will include asking questions about your cancer treatment and the problems you’re having, other relevant medical information, and questions about your goals for therapy. Your Physiotherapist will do a physical assessment of the problem which will usually include assessing movements and sometimes specific muscle or nerve function. Once this is completed, your Physiotherapist will clearly communicate all of their findings to you and describe their proposed treatment plan.

There is no one recipe for the number of treatment sessions. Some patients will require only a few sessions while others may require ongoing treatments over several sessions. It will also depend on other factors related to the cancer in the bone (surgery or radiation therapy for example). Whatever your prognosis, your Physiotherapist will clearly communicate expected timelines with you.

What if I already have a fracture in the bone(s) from cancer?

If you already have or had a fracture(s) in the bone(s) because of the cancer, whether surgically repaired or not, then we recommend you get a prescription or note from your surgeon or doctor ensuring it is appropriate to start physiotherapy at this time. Usually after surgery to repair fractures from cancer in the bone(s) a person will require physiotherapy as an essential part of the recovery. Due to the complexity of these fractures it is important that you have a physiotherapist who understands the healing process, the risks, and is ready to work closely with your surgeon and doctors to optimize your recovery.

To book a consultation with one of our cancer rehabilitation physiotherapists, call us at 416.893.7426 or book online here.

 

Cancer Rehabilitation – Breast Cancer

After a breast cancer diagnosis, many women are left to face new challenges caused by the side effects of their cancer treatments. While some side effects tend to disappear on their own over time, many side effects can have long lasting physical and emotional consequences.

For instance, breast surgery, such as a mastectomy, lumpectomy and reconstruction, can cause many women to experience pain and physical limitations such as difficulty moving their arm, weakness, swelling and scar tightness. In addition, some women may also develop pathologies such as post-mastectomy pain syndrome and axillary web syndrome following surgery.

Furthermore, both chemotherapy and radiation therapy also have their side-effects, including fatigue, tingling and numbness in the hands/feet (chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy), and radiation fibrosis, among many others.

These physical and psychological side effects of breast cancer treatments can significantly impact your daily functioning and independence both at home and at work. Research shows that both physiotherapy and exercise can help to alleviate many of these side effects and play an essential role in your recovery during and after breast cancer.

Benefits of Breast Cancer Rehabilitation

Physiotherapy interventions can help you to:

–          Restore your arm movement

–          Improve your shoulder, trunk and abdominal strength

–          Decrease your pain

–          Improve your flexibility

–          Improve your energy and endurance

–          Reduce your risk of developing lymphedema

–          Improve your posture and body awareness

In addition exercise is also known to address many side effects, such as bone density issues related to hormonal medication, reducing your risk of developing lymphedema, improving cancer-related fatigue in addition to also reducing your risk of reoccurrence. Physiotherapists are exercise specialists who will work with you to provide a safe and effective exercise program.

 

At Triangle, we committed to helping women improve their health and well-being during each stage of their cancer recovery.

Components of Breast Cancer Rehabilitation

Every woman undergoing breast cancer treatment is different and hence will have unique rehabilitation needs. Your physiotherapist will use a combination of treatment techniques best suited for your condition. Interventions may include:

–          Manual (hands-on) techniques such as soft-tissue mobilization and myofascial release to improve your flexibility and manage conditions such as radiation fibrosis and axillary web syndrome.

–          Scar Massage 

–          Exercises to improve your shoulder movement and strength

–          Exercises to improve your endurance and overall energy levels

–          Individualized education regarding risk reduction and early detection of lymphedema

–          Energy conservation techniques

–          Education on how to return to physical activity

–          Home exercise program

What are the most common misconceptions about Breast Cancer Rehabilitation?

There is a common misconception that for months or years after breast cancer surgery or radiation therapy women should not use the arm on the affected side for lifting or working because they might get lymphedema or other problems. Research tells us this is FALSE, in fact with a proper physiotherapy program most women can achieve greater strength and function in the affected arm than what they had before surgery; with no increase in the chances of getting lymphedema.

Another misconception is that Breast Cancer Physiotherapy is the same as an exercise program. Physiotherapists are highly trained professionals able to independently diagnose and treat problems with pain or movement using a wide range of assessment methods and treatments, of which a specialized exercise program is one piece.

 

 

What does a typical session look like and how often do I need treatment?

Your Physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment of the issue. This will include asking questions about your cancer treatment and the problems you’re having, other relevant medical information, and questions about your goals for therapy. Your Physiotherapist will do a physical assessment of the problem which could include assessing movements, strength and fitness, scar tissue, nerve function, and/or injuries from radiation or surgery. Once this is completed, your Physiotherapist will clearly communicate all of their findings to you and describe their proposed treatment plan.

There is no one recipe for the number of treatment sessions or the length of time required for full recovery. Some conditions will require only a few sessions while others may require more intensive treatments and several sessions. Whatever your prognosis, your Physiotherapist will clearly communicate expected timelines with you.

To book a consultation with one of our cancer rehabilitation physiotherapists, call us at 416.893.7426 or book online here.

 

Cancer Rehabilitation – Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

 

Have you been experiencing pain and tingling and/or numbness in your hands and/or feet since you started chemotherapy? …. If so, then you most likely have developed chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN); a common side-effect of certain chemotherapy drugs.

Signs and Symptoms of CIPN

Certain chemotherapy agents can cause damage to your peripheral nervous system – the system that controls the sensation and movement of your limbs. As a consequence of damage to these nerves, one will develop a variety of sensation and sometimes movement symptoms most commonly experienced in the hands and/or feet, such as:

–          Pain: shooting, burning, cramping, electric or sharp

–          Numbness and/or tingling

–          Loss of sensation

–          Altered sensation to hot and cold

–          Hypersensitivity

–          Weakness

–          Decreased balance

–          Difficulty walking

Symptoms of CIPN can often translate to difficulties performing self-care tasks and physical activities both at home and at work. Those who experience CIPN mostly in their feet, will often mention that they have trouble walking and that they frequently trip, stumble, or even fall. Whereas, CIPN in the hands will cause one to experience difficulty while grabbing and holding objects, thus affecting their ability to dress, cook and work.

In some cases, CIPN will resolve on its own after chemotherapy treatment. However, for some people, symptoms may linger for months to years post treatment and can greatly affect their quality of life. If you are experiencing any signs and symptoms of CIPN, we strongly recommend booking an appointment with one of our physiotherapists.

 

Benefits of Physiotherapy

Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy can be managed by a physiotherapist trained in cancer rehabilitation. With the use of a variety of treatment techniques, physiotherapy aims to improve your function and independence by reducing your pain and normalizing the sensation in your hands and/or feet.

Components of Physiotherapy for CIPN

Physiotherapy interventions for CIPN may include:

–          A sensory re-education or desensitization program

–          Balance and strengthening exercises

–          Gait re-training and recommendations for an assistive device, as needed

–          Pain relief techniques

–          Education on proper skin care and inspection

Speak to one of our physiotherapists trained in cancer rehabilitation for a personalized intervention plan to help you manage your CIPN symptoms.

What are the most common misconceptions about CIPN Rehabilitation?

There is a common misconception that there is very little that can be done about CIPN and patients must suffer until symptoms improve over a very long period of time. For people with intense pain and functional problems including balance problems this is very distressing to hear. Thankful rehabilitation programs are often successful at both reducing pain and improving function (including balance) for people with peripheral neuropathy.

What does a typical session look like and how often do I need treatment?

Your Physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment of the issue. This will include asking questions about your cancer treatment and the problems you’re having, other relevant medical information, and questions about your goals for therapy. Your Physiotherapist will do a physical assessment of the problem which could include assessing movements, muscle strength, balance and coordination, nerve function, gait and/or injuries from radiation or surgery. Your Physiotherapist may also assess your ability to perform certain functional tasks, such as holding an object, writing, climbing stairs, etc. Once this is completed, your Physiotherapist will clearly communicate all of their findings to you and describe their proposed treatment plan.

 

There is no one recipe for the number of treatment sessions or the length of time required for full recovery. Some conditions will require only a few sessions while others may require more intensive treatments and several sessions. Whatever your prognosis, your Physiotherapist will clearly communicate expected timelines with you.

To book a consultation with one of our cancer rehabilitation physiotherapists, call us at 416.893.7426 or book online here.

Cancer Rehabilitation – Head and Neck Cancer

After treatment for cancer of the head or neck region, many people are left with functional problems of the jaw, face, neck, or shoulders. These can range from very mild to very severe pain and limitations in movement.

For instance, neck surgery or radiation can cause people to experience pain and physical limitations such as difficulty moving their head fully to one side, weakness in the arm or shoulder, swelling and scar tightness in the jaw or neck. In addition, some people may also develop problems such as an extremely dry mouth which makes it difficult to eat certain foods or have conversations. If a surgery involving a tissue graft from the arm or leg is performed there is also the possibility of weakness or other issues at the “donor site” on the arm or leg.

Furthermore, both chemotherapy and radiation therapy also have other side-effects, including fatigue, tingling and numbness in the hands/feet (chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy), and radiation fibrosis, among many others. Some people may suffer from injury to the nerves close to the neck which can cause the shoulder on the same side to become very weak and not move properly.

These physical side effects of cancer treatments can significantly impact your daily functioning and independence both at home and at work. Research shows that physiotherapy, especially when initiated early on after treatment, can help to alleviate many of these side effects and play an essential role in your recovery. So much so, that in other provinces of Canada they have made it automatic that all patients receiving head and neck surgery for cancer are referred to a physiotherapist as part of the standard of care.

Benefits of Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy interventions can help you to:

–          Restore movement of your jaw, neck, shoulder and other joints

–          Improve your ability to eat 

–          Decrease your pain

–          Acupuncture (offered by some of our physiotherapists) to improve dry mouth

–          Improve scar tissue tightness

–          Improve your energy and endurance

–          Improve your posture and body awareness

–          Reduce swelling in the neck and jaw

In addition, exercise is known to address many side effects, such as weakness and fatigue after cancer treatment. Physiotherapists are exercise specialists who will work with you to provide a safe and effective exercise program.

At Triangle, we committed to helping people improve their health, knowledge, strength, and well-being during each stage of their cancer recovery.

Components of Head and Neck Cancer Rehabilitation

Every person undergoing head and neck cancer treatment is different and will have unique rehabilitation needs. Your physiotherapist will use a combination of treatment techniques best suited for your condition. Interventions may include:

–          Manual (hands-on) techniques such as soft-tissue or joint mobilization and myofascial release to improve your flexibility and manage conditions such as radiation fibrosis of the neck or trismus (very limited mouth opening)

–          Scar Massage 

–          Exercises to improve your jaw, neck, and shoulder movement

–          Devices/orthotics to help with mouth opening

–          Strategies to reduce swelling in the neck, jaw, and face

–          Electrical muscle stimulation (for nerve injuries)

–          Exercises to improve your posture, endurance, and overall energy levels

–          Education and training for return to physical activity and work

–          Acupuncture

What are the most common misconceptions about Head and Neck Cancer Rehabilitation?

The most common misconception is that cancer Physiotherapy is the same as an exercise program. Physiotherapists are highly trained professionals able to independently diagnose and treat many different problems with pain or movement using a wide range of assessment methods and treatments, of which a specialized exercise program is one piece.

What does a typical session look like and how often do I need treatment?

Your Physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment of the issue. This will include asking questions about your cancer treatment and the problems you’re having, other relevant medical information, and questions about your goals for therapy. Your Physiotherapist will do a physical assessment of the problem which could include assessing movements, swelling, scar tissue, nerve function, and/or injuries from radiation or surgery. Once this is completed, your Physiotherapist will clearly communicate all of their findings to you and describe their proposed treatment plan.

It is expected that most people will take 6-12 months (or longer) to recover from treatment for head and neck cancer, depending on how aggressive the treatment required. Until we have done a thorough assessment it is hard to predict how often therapy is needed, some patients will require only a few sessions of physiotherapy while others may require more intensive therapy done over several sessions and a longer period of time. Because of the complexity and very important functions of the neck and jaw some patients will unfortunately have more than one problem in need of rehabilitation at the same time; this usually requires more therapy then if we are addressing a single problem. 

To book a consultation with one of our cancer rehabilitation physiotherapists, call us at 416.893.7426 or book online here.

Cancer Rehabilitation – Radiation Fibrosis

Although radiation therapy is often an effective method for eliminating cancer, it can also damage nearby muscles, blood vessels, nerves, ligaments, and even bones and organs. Sometimes this tissue damage leads to a progressive condition of the tissue which can be referred to as Radiation Fibrosis. It often comes on slowly and usually happens months or years after a person has completed radiation therapy.  There is often pain, weakness, and tightening of the skin or underlying muscles in the area where radiation therapy was done (for example around the chest for someone who has had radiation for breast cancer or around the hip for someone treated for ovarian cancer). 

Symptoms of Radiation Fibrosis

–          Muscle spasms or cramping near the area of radiation

–          Tightness in the joints near the site of radiation and loss of movement

–          Tightness of the skin in the site of radiation

–          Changes to the texture of the skin; skin becomes firm like leather

–          Stabbing or burning pain near the area of radiation

People treated with higher doses of radiation or those receiving more than one course of radiation to the same area are more likely to develop Radiation Fibrosis. It is thought to be a problem of abnormal healing in response to radiation and if it is not treated the condition may worsen as the body continuously puts down pieces of scar tissue (called fibrin) into the skin or other tissues. It can cause areas of the body to become firm to the touch, like leather and greatly limit movement. Some cases will be more mild but some cases will have severe pain and movement restrictions having a very negative impact on a person’s quality of life.

Benefits of Physiotherapy

–          Restore movement of tightened areas of skin or muscle

–          Reduce pain

–          Reduce muscle spasms or cramping

–          Improve posture

–          Return to activities and work

 

Physiotherapists are experts at treating problems with movement, muscles, and pain. Research shows that specialized exercises, stretches, and myofascial techniques provided by trained physiotherapists are critical to restoring movement in joints affected by Radiation Fibrosis. If treated at the early onset of the condition most people will have very good outcomes from physiotherapy.  

Components of Physiotherapy for Radiation Fibrosis

Treatment may vary but will almost always include special stretches and posture exercises. Interventions may also include:

–          Manual (hands-on) techniques such as soft-tissue or joint mobilization and manual movement of the fascia or muscles.

–          Specialized stretching program

–          Posture exercises and strengthening

–          Orthotics to help with stretching muscles that have shortened

–          Home exercise program

–          Specialized massage  

–          Education about the condition

–          Acupuncture

What are the most common misconceptions about Physiotherapy for Radiation Fibrosis?

A common misconception is that there is nothing that can be done about Radiation Fibrosis or other problems related to radiation therapy, and a person is bound to suffer with pain and restricted movement. Fortunately most patients will have a very good response to a structured rehabilitation program and do not need to continue suffering.

Another common misconception is that cancer Physiotherapy is the same as an exercise program. Physiotherapists are highly trained professionals able to independently diagnose and treat many different problems with pain or movement using a wide range of assessment methods and treatments, of which a specialized exercise program is one piece.

 

 

What does a typical session look like and how often do I need treatment?

Your Physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment of the issue. This will include asking questions about your cancer treatment and the problems you’re having, other relevant medical information, and questions about your goals for therapy. Your Physiotherapist will do a physical assessment of the problem which could include assessing movements, swelling, scar tissue, and nerve function. Once this is completed, your Physiotherapist will clearly communicate all of their findings to you and describe their proposed treatment plan.

It is expected that most people will take 4-12 weeks of therapy to recover range of movement in areas affected by radiation fibrosis. Until we have done a thorough assessment it is hard to predict how often therapy is needed, most common treatment plans for Radiation Fibrosis require two visits each week.

Do you need a referral?

As physiotherapy is considered a primary care service, you do not need a referral from your doctor or oncologist to book an appointment with us. However, keep in mind that some private insurance companies may ask for a referral to reimburse you for the physiotherapy treatments.

To book a consultation with one of our cancer rehabilitation physiotherapists, call us at 416.893.7426 or book online here.