Benefits of Prehabilitation

The Irish Cancer Society doesn’t inform us about the benefits of Prehabilitation.

Cancer ‘prehabilitation’ can reduce complications and improve treatment outcomes.

There is no information about Prehabilitation on the Irish Cancer Society website.

Goals and benefits of cancer prehabilitation

Prevent or reduce treatment related impairments
Reduce unnecessary testing
Reduce time to recovery milestones
Reduce hospital lengths of stay
Reduce visits to Rehabilitation clinics
Reduce hospital readmissions
Reduce risk of second primary cancer
Reduce risk of cancer recurrence
Decrease disability
Decrease death
Improve health-related quality-of-life.
This is not a full list

“Prehabilitation” is any interventions given between the time of diagnosis and the start of cancer treatment. According to a report in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, prehabilitation is aimed at reducing complications from treatments and improving physical and mental health outcomes.

In their article, Drs. Julie K. Silver and Jennifer Baima of Harvard Medical School, write
“A growing body of evidence supports preparing newly diagnosed cancer patients for and optimizing their health before starting acute treatments,”

“Newly diagnosed cancer patients are often seeking ways to become immediately involved in their care that may go beyond decision making about upcoming treatments. A common question that oncology healthcare professionals hear from patients is, ”What can I do right now to help myself? “ Cancer prehabilitation affords the oncology health professional an excellent opportunity to provide expert guidance regarding targeted prehabilitation interventions that simultaneously improve physical and psychological health outcomes and create a partnership with the patient.”

Examples of cancer prehabilitation areas of focus

Musculoskeletal
Balance/gait
Joint range of motion
Therapeutic exercise (for specific issues)
General exercise (to increase physical activity)
Stress/distress/coping
Pain
Swallowing
Speech
Sleep
Fatigue
Cognitive function
Cardiovascular function
Pulmonary function
Smoking cessation
Alcohol reduction/cessation
Skin protection
Diet/nutrition
Urinary continence
Bowel/ostomy care
Activities of daily living (ADLs)
Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs)
Assistive devices
Durable medical equipment
Home safety
Workplace accommodations
Psychosocial support
Supportive oncology symptom management
Integrative oncology interventions
Other services
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