Oncology Rehabilitation

Oncology Rehabilitation is a nurse and trainer assisted exercise program that is part of the Center for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship at the  Greenville Health System (GHS) Cancer Institute.  This three month program at the GHS Life Center helps cancer survivors develop an exercise regimen to become more physically active.  By working with these professionals, survivors can adapt a personalized exercise program to "move on" past the challenges of their disease by decreasing fatigue, increasing strength and improving quality of life.   

An expert panel convened by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) concluded that exercise training is safe and beneficial for cancer survivors after - and even during - treatment. (Read the Article) There is a growing body of evidence to support physical exercise preventing recurrence of certain cancers as well as lowering the incidence of primary cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. Physical activity is an activity each survivor can do to help their body's defense against cancer by reducing inflammation, boosting immune function, and controlling hormone levels.

 

Program Components:

  • Physical therapy
  • Strength training
  • Stretching
  • Exercise conditioning
  • Lymphedema management
  • Nutrition education
  • Psychosocial counseling
  • Support groups
  • Massage therapy
  • Yoga

Current and former participants of the Oncology Rehabilitation program get together in the evening two to three times a year for additional education and support. In November, the group enjoyed a cooking demonstration by Laura Pole, founder and president of Eating for a Lifetime. Laura ended her presentation with a "rap" on the importance of reading nutrition labels. Check it out!


Oncology Rehab Lymphedema Management Program

Lymphedema is swelling, occurring when the lymphatic system has been disrupted due to surgery, radiation, infection, disease, or trauma and cannot move it’s fluid and proteins well. The GHS Cancer Institute Lymphedema Management Program helps patients prevent and control lymphedema that is related to cancer. Treatment depends on the severity and extent of the condition. Physician referral is required for evaluation by a specially trained and certified physical therapist. 

Possible signs of lymphedema include:

  • a full or heavy sensation in an arm or leg
  • an increase in size in an arm or a leg
  • skin feels tight
  • clothes or jewelry do not fit well on one side
  • hardness/ firmness in an arm or leg
  • weeping from the skin

If lymphedema does develop, patients can be seen by the physical therapist for Complete Decongestive Therapy which may include:

  • manual lymphatic drainage to decrease swelling in an affected area
  • use of short stretch bandaging to decrease limb size, pitting, and fibrosis
  • education on appropriate skin care
  • self manual lymphatic drainage
  • appropriate exercises to promote lymphatic drainage
  • recommendations for compression garments. 

Free Pre-surgery screening for lymphedema: A pre-surgical appointment for breast cancer patients is free to measure the arm size prior to surgery. These measurements are done with a perometer. Perometers use an infrared light to painlessly measure the volume of an arm or leg. Measuring the arm with a perometer is non-invasive, painless and extremely accurate. These measurements can be compared to arm dimensions after your surgery to detect early lymphedema. Serial measurement can also be performed to monitor increase and decreases in fluid volume in the arm. Measurements taken by the perometer are much more accurate than the older method of using a measuring tape.

*The fee for physical therapy evaluation and management (except the pre-surgery measurement which is free) will be billed to your insurance provider. Depending on your policy, a co-payment may be required at the visit.

Services for lymphedema treatment are located at the GHS Cancer Institute’s Oncology Rehabilitation program, 900 W. Faris Rd., 1st Floor. Entrance #8

For more information or to schedule and appointment please call (864) 455-1346

Monthly Lymphedema Education Classes: Community based classes for patients and their family on lymphedema prevention and education are held at 4:15PM on the first Thursday of every month at GHS Life Center. Classes are free. Cancer survivors are encouraged to attend these classes before, during, and after their treatment to learn more about lymphedema. For more information contact: Jo Weathers, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, Breast Nurse Navigator

Please visits our website for more info on the Cancer Institute Lymphedema Management Program http://www.ghs.org/movingon (need to change to a physical therapy one)

For more information about the Lymphedema Management Program, call (864) 455-1346