Cancer rehabilitation with a focus on evidence-based outpatient physical and occupational therapy interventions

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 May;90(5 Suppl 1):S5-15. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31820be4ae.


Cancer rehabilitation is an important part of survivorship as a distinct phase of treatment. Although cancer rehabilitation may involve many disciplines, this article specifically covers evidence-based treatment in physical and occupational therapy. Patients may need physical and occupational therapy services for a variety of cancer-related or cancer-treatment-related problems, including pain, fatigue, deconditioning, and difficulty with gait. They may also have problems resuming their previous level of function, which can impact on activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, return to previous home and community activity levels, and return to work. This review discusses the role of physical and occupational therapy in helping cancer patients improve pain and musculoskeletal issues, deconditioning and endurance effects, fatigue, balance and falls, and lymphedema and psychosocial problems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Occupational Therapy / organization & administration*