• Nadine Stunzi

Cancer Rehab; What's This Now?!

I can only imagine the confusion back in the early 90’s when Steve Jobs said he was going to make a little rectangle the size of a granola bar that could hold thousands of songs. The only synonymous creation at that time would have been a walkman or discman, a rather bulky alternative which held 15-20 songs max. Now the concept of an i-pod is normalized and the term is universally recognized. Better yet, phones alone hold thousands of songs and much to my amazement these songs are always changing using algorithms based on our preferred genre! This is a short anecdote about how concepts in society evolve, get caught and then become mainstream. Similar to an i-pod, I actually hope to do the same with the concept of cancer rehab. On a daily basis, I am still running into ample confusion about what it’s all about, within my own clinic and beyond. Being a new term and a newer area in medical research it’s normal for the majority of people to be lost a little, hence this post! I can only imagine that I’ve done my job right if in a decade all people diagnosed with cancer are provided a cancer rehab plan; and the concept is normalized, better yet valued!

The term ‘rehabilitation’ in medicine implies building physical capacity and function after a setback. Webster defines it as “a branch of medicine that aims to enhance and restore functional ability to those with physical impairments or disabilities”. In simple terms, rehab can involve any structure in the physical body such as bone, muscle, lung, the vestibular system, vision or the brain. These structures then impact any functional goal imaginable. Maybe the goal is to walk again, improve your balance, carry your kids, sleep better or maybe it’s to optimize your health before surgery/treatment. In my opinion much like the physical setbacks caused by severe injury and/or stroke, cancer too is a setback and it can effect many areas of one’s life. Hence a diagnosis of cancer and rehabilitation go hand in hand. A rehabilitation plan will optimize the cancer journey; the entire continuum of the journey! Any physical setback or symptom has the potential to be well managed with a rehab plan. Cancer Rehab BC is attempting to clear all the mud and create a website for you where you can get answers and get evidence informed cancer rehab information. The term evidence informed is in the mandate because as a clinician I stand on the shoulders of giants before, so we can see just a bit better today than a decade past. I strongly appreciate the hard working and humble scientific community; I strive to share their knowledge in clinic. At Cancer Rehab BC our goal is to optimize your cancer journey; we hope to take you from cancer, to capacity and control. As cancer rehab is a new area in medicine, and there is a lot to navigate; we hope to do that for you. We are mainly focused on physical rehabilitation but as the term rehabilitation can also include other clinical areas, we will include some resources in other health disciplines. Please enjoy our site, play around a little and share it with others!