In a recent Huffington Post column, clinical psychologist Joseph Nowinski, PhD, echos what many have been saying about post-cancer life – that is, that more quality survivorship programs are needed. He tells the story of one patient and poses an interesting question:
When Dr. [Julie] Silver was a 38-year-old physician and a mother of three, she had breast cancer. After surgery and chemotherapy, she was discharged from treatment with no follow-up care plan. When she looked to our health care system for support, there were no rehab programs in place to help her with her recovery.
Dr. Silver, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, was faced with post-treatment symptoms that left her too sick to care for her family or return to work. She began to wonder why the same principles of rehab that are widely recognized as beneficial in fields such as cardiac and orthopedic medicine, were not being applied to oncology. Why weren’t cancer patients offered rehab services similar to those that had become the standard of care for survivors of other serious illnesses and injuries?