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Stanford Medicine

Cancer, Patient Care

A call for rehab services for cancer survivors

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?

Previously: Dramatic increase in number of older cancer survivors expected and A look at how best to care for America’s growing population of cancer survivors

2 Responses to “ A call for rehab services for cancer survivors ”

  1. Isabel van der Ven Says:

    There is a new cancer rehab programme available in the UK called LYLAC: Live Your Life After Cancer, to help people move forward after cancer, based on life coaching.

    It is innovative (no similar support programme is available) and effective (in 6 coaching sessions people will be able to manage themselves and have the ability to move forward based on their personal action plan).

    First preliminary results with a very limited number of individuals shows that the overall QLACS scores (Quality of Life in Adult Cancer Survivors)improved with 33% and the overall SES (Self Efficacy Scale) scores improved from an average B to an average D.

    More information available at

  2. Susan Gruffield Says:

    Let the rehabilitation be planned by the medical therapists – its cost effective and client centered.
    Let the doctors focus on life saving acts and let the rehab be managed by rehab-specialists i.e the physio, occupational, the chiro, the hypnotist, and let their be autonomous partnership with patient.


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