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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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Fatigue & Cancer

Patients undergoing cancer care can experience a decrease in functional abilities due to a variety of reasons – fatigue from chemotherapy or radiation, loss of range in motion in the shoulder after mastectomy or pain from chemotherapy induced nerve damage. Some patients find that performing what were once simple tasks – like hair brushing, keeping house or even bathing – are now performed with increased difficulty.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

In any one of these cases, a referral to a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, or physiatrist, may be helpful. Physical medicine and rehabilitation, also called physiatry, is a medical specialty that strives to maximize a patient’s functional abilities. A physiatrist can help by developing a rehabilitation treatment plan to improve overall physical function, reduce pain and maximize independence. The rehabilitation treatment plan may include diagnostic testing, medications, nutrition therapy, physical and /or occupational therapy, adaptive equipment, education and support services.

“Improving your Quality of Life”

Most everyone undergoing treatment will experience fatigue, and exercise can help battle this side effect. We encourage everyone to exercise. Exercise is an important part of regaining your strength and stamina as well as lessening fatigue and pain.

The type of surgery makes a difference, but most doctors encourage patients to exercise while in chemotherapy or radiation treatment unless they are at risk. Before getting started on an exercise regimen, it is important to talk to your doctor about what types of exercises you can do, how hard you can push yourself, what you should avoid, and what problems you may encounter and should watch out for.

If you are feeling fatigued, are listless with no energy, or have symptoms affecting your daily activities, ask your oncologist for a referral to see Dr. Holmes Marchman, physiatrist with the Longstreet Cancer Center. Or call the office at (770) 536-6300 if you would like an appointment or have any questions about how physiatry could help you to improve your quality of life.

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