By Dr. T Santhanam, Psychology
During cancer treatment, one may have cognitive and psychological problems. These problems can make it difficult to cope with daily activities and also make it difficult for cancer survivors to return to work. These problems may result in a lasting effect on the mental health of survivors too. This is why psychological rehabilitation is an important part of cancer treatment and post-cancer treatment care. It can help cancer survivors overcome these problems.
Goal Of Cancer Rehabilitation
Cancer Rehabilitation aims at:
- Helping the patients to stay active and cope with daily activities.
- Helping the patient to improve the interaction with family members.
- Bringing down the side effects of cancer treatment as well as cancer.
- Helping the survivors to live independently.
- Helping the patients to improve their quality of life.
Cancer Rehabilitation Personnel
Rehabilitation is most often a specialised job. It must be provided by trained professionals in the field of Cancer Rehabilitation. These personnels can work with the doctors and therapists during the treatment and follow-up care.
Problems That Psychological Cancer Rehabilitation Can Address
Cancer survivors may suffer from cognitive problems which may refer to degraded mental abilities and some other psychological problems. These may include:
- Difficulty with multitasking or thinking clearly
- Mental fogginess
- Problems with memory
Apart from these, mood swings, suicidal tendencies, depression, etc., are some of the other psychological problems that cancer survivors may suffer from.
Types Of Cancer Rehabilitation Professionals
A variety of rehabilitation professionals need to be a part of a Cancer Rehabilitation team depending on the needs of the patient. One may visit these professionals during the treatment as well as during recovery. These may include:
- Physical Therapists who specialize in helping people regain or improve mobility. They can also help bring down or eliminate pain.
- Occupational Therapists who can help maximize the standards of coping with daily activities. This includes basic daily activities like taking a shower, dressing, eating, etc. These professionals can help patients bring down the effort needed to engage in daily activities.
- Speech Pathologists who can help cancer survivors with swallowing and communication disorders. They can help with swallowing and chewing problems that patients may encounter after chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Physiatrists who specialize in prevention, treatment, and diagnosis of muscle, nerve, and bone disorders resulting in pain and functional issues.
- Cognitive Psychologists who can help in managing cognitive problems that the patient may suffer during or after cancer treatment.
A number of cancer patients who suffered from different types of cancer such as breast cancer, melanoma, and lung cancer have been subjected to psychological interventional studies. It has been observed that patients have a noticeable improvement in psychological parameters, especially in terms of distress. The majority of survivors have also returned to work after a psychological intervention.