Cancer Rehabilitation Services
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Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has specialized rehabilitation services for people living with cancer diagnosis. As part of the Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute, the oncology rehabilitation program helps you reach your goal to return to a healthy, active lifestyle and looks to improve and restore your physical, emotional and cognitive well-being prior to, during and after cancer treatment.
Your oncology rehabilitation team
We understand living with a cancer diagnosis can bring many challenges during and after your cancer journey. Our team of caring therapists is ready to help you overcome these challenges.
We are focused on providing individualized evidence-based care. Dedicated to clinical excellence, our oncology rehabilitation team is staffed with certified lymphedema therapists through the Lymphology Association of North America. Additionally, our certified lymphedema therapists have earned advanced certification in management of lymphedema affecting the head and neck.
Our multidisciplinary care team works collaboratively with a focus on the following care-related challenges:
- Promote movement
- Improve balance
- Decrease pain
- Fight fatigue
- Enhance activities of daily living
- Combat “chemo brain”
- Promote energy conservation
- Improve communication
- Restoration of voice quality
- Explore alternative communication strategies using technology
- Facilitate eating and swallowing
Our therapists' expertise, partnered with specialized programs and advanced technologies, helps patients achieve optimum functionality, mobility and independence.
Cancer-related fatigue: Many people with cancer experience extreme fatigue, either as a result of their illness or from the treatments they receive. As part of our oncology rehab services, we’ll help you learn how to fight fatigue in order to return to those activities that are important to you.
Lymphedema therapy: Many cancer patients are at risk for developing lymphedema because of surgical interventions, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Lymphedema causes symptoms that may include severe swelling in affected areas, including head/neck, legs, arms, breast area, truncal area and genitals. Lymphedema specialists design a treatment plan based on your unique needs and goals.
Head and neck lymphedema therapy: We have lymphedema therapists who are specifically trained and certified in head and neck lymphedema. For this specialized area, treatment includes garment fittings to help with swelling and soften tissue, manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage to assist in movement of fluid and to soften hard tissue after treatments, and neck and facial exercises to promote increased range of motion (ROM), decrease pain and improve ability to open the mouth for functional tasks such as speaking and eating.
Breast cancer surveillance rehabilitation program: This program is designed to assist you with potential problems that may arise during and after your cancer journey and to provide services to address any issues that may be of concern. Patients are recommended to return every three months after the initial visit for the first year to monitor any changes and to address needs related to potential side effects of treatment. Patients often are provided:
- Risk reduction strategies/education
- Home exercise program
- Compression garments as needed
Combating “chemo brain”: Sometimes people with cancer become frustrated by what they describe as mental cloudiness that they might notice before, during and after cancer treatment. These mental changes can make people unable to perform usual activities such as those at school and work or socially. Cognitive therapy includes activities to improve brain function, such as learning how the brain works, ways to take in new information, performing new tasks and using tools to help stay organized.
Throughout the rehabilitation process, we encourage caregivers and family members to engage in the sessions whenever possible and to continue to support and promote the patient's progress while at home.