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About Physiatry

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Functional Outcomes After Cancer Rehabilitation

Condition: “Functional outcome" is a term used to describe a patient’s capability to perform wide range of daily living tasks. “Cancer rehabilitation” is the process cancer patients go through after cancer treatment to build strength and endurance, reduce pain and stress, and regain independence.

Background: It is important to measure cancer patients’ functional outcomes, because this analysis offers valuable information about their prognosis and ability to tolerate toxic anticancer therapies. Clinicians rely on a number of tests to measure how well a patient is functioning after cancer treatment and during rehabilitation,

Risk Factors: Assessing functional outcomes does not impose a risk to the patient.  However, clinicians should have a good understanding of the limitations of each test when interpreting the results.

History and Symptoms: Clinicians need to carefully consider the patient when administering tests for functional outcomes.  During testing, It is important to take into account a patient’s perception of the difficulty of performing tasks (e.g. when the patient is in pain) as this may affect the test results.

Physical Exam: Physical examination may be performed as a component of testing; this will vary depending on the type of test utilized

Diagnostic Process: While functional outcome testing does not include blood tests or imaging tests, it provides the clinician with valuable information.

Rehab Management: The use of functional outcome assessments can help clinicians identify functional challenges that cancer patients experience.  Rehabilitation therapies may then be specifically directed to help address these challenges.

Other Resources for Patients and Families: The American Cancer Society has a wide range of resources to help patients, as well as caregivers and families. 


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