When you’re preparing for and undergoing certain types of cancer treatment you sometimes require medically guided exercise, physical or occupational rehabilitation, speech therapy or lymphedema care.
Our licensed, clinically trained rehabilitation staff is dedicated specifically to the care of patients with cancer and providing them with a full spectrum of expert rehabilitation services. The staff is available to evaluate, treat, guide and consult with patients and assure optimal function, recovery and physical performance with the following services:
- Physical therapy
- Pelvic floor therapy and continence training
- Occupational therapy
- Vestibular and balance therapy
- Lymphedema therapy
- Neurologic rehabilitation
- Speech, language and swallow therapy
- STRONG MEDicine Program (Medical Manual therapy Exercise by Design)
- Hand and upper-extremity therapy
- Living Well Education Series
Rehabilitation can be an adjuvant treatment dedicated to assisting individuals through the physical challenges of cancer treatment and recovery. Specialized therapists are highly trained in the recognition of the side effects that can result from cancer treatment, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapies.
Before cancer treatment, rehabilitation can help you build strength and endurance. While you are undergoing treatment, it can help you maintain your physical well-being and functional independence and reduce pain and discomfort. After treatment, rehabilitation can help you regain function, improve strength and decrease fatigue.
When you have been changed by a serious illness or injury, rehabilitation can help restore your physical ability and improve your quality of life. The scope of rehabilitation includes, but is not limited to:
- Physical Therapy: Aims to improve your quality of life and independence by improving your ability to be active and comfortable. Physical therapists evaluate movement potential and help establish agreed upon goals to reduce pain, improve mobility and restore physical function/performance. Depending on your condition, you may focus on flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination and/or balance.
- Occupational Therapy: Aims to help you live as independently as possible. The goals of occupational therapy are to assist and train in performing activities of daily living (ADLs), such as grooming, dressing, eating, playing with your children and interacting with family and friends. Occupational therapists help you identify those activities, devices and tools that will improve strength, function and problem-solving.
- Speech-Language Pathology: Aims to help you communicate your wants and needs with ease and clarity, and assist you with eating and swallowing. Speech-language pathologists help you with speech production, vocal production, language needs, swallowing problems and other related disorders through speech therapy.
- Lymphedema Therapy: Aims to reduce chronic edema through a certified therapist using complete decongestive therapy (CDT). Complete decongestive therapy can involve short stretch compression bandaging to reduce edema, manual lymphatic drainage, skin care, therapeutic exercise and compression garment fitting.
Learn more about rehabilitation services.
What is Integrative Therapy?
The term “integrated therapy” is often used interchangeably with what is called “complementary and alternative therapy,” but there is an important difference between these two.
Professionals who practice integrative medicine blend their methods appropriately with mainstream methods of treatment. Integrative therapy is not used in place of conventional treatment, but as a part of your cancer treatment to promote well being and alleviate side effects of chemotherapy, surgery or radiation.
Types of Integrative Therapies
: A technique of inserting and manipulating very fine needles into specific energy points in the body. The stimulation of these points may encourage the restoration of health and well being. Acupuncture is primarily good for treating pain. Acupressure
: A traditional Chinese medicine technique based on acupuncture. It involves stimulating the energy points with pressure using the hands and fingers. Acupressure may work by releasing endogenous opioids into the bloodstream. Creative Therapies
: such as art, music, creative writing, knitting and crafting. Massage
: Involves applying structured pressure to the soft tissues of the body to achieve a beneficial response. Therapeutic massage therapy can be applied to parts of the body or the whole body to relieve stress, manage pain and improve circulation. Naturopathic Medicine
: A school of medical philosophy that seeks to maintain health and treat disease by assisting the body’s own capacity to recover from illness and injury. Licensed naturopathic doctors try to avoid surgery and synthetic substances in their treatments and strive to treat the patient as a whole person using natural foods and remedies, counseling and environmental medicine.
*For MultiCare patients, naturopathy is only available at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital. Movement Therapies
Information regarding naturopathic medicine at MultiCare:
- Lisa Price, ND, the primary provider from Northwest Natural Health, comes to MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital on Mondays.
- Office Hours are 9 to 5 pm and the phone number is 253-403-1677.
- Patients may self-refer to the naturopath, but insurance authorization may vary by insurance company.
- For more information on Lisa Price, ND, please visit nwnaturalhealth.com.
: such as dance, yoga and tai chi.
Ask your doctor or a nurse navigator about access to these therapies and classes. Remember to contact your oncologist whenever you have questions or concerns regarding your treatment.
MultiCare Good Samaritan Home Health and Hospice Services provides assistance with managing a chronic condition, post surgical care and providing palliative and hospice care. Our specialized team of health professionals offers services wherever you live whether it’s a house, an adult family home, a retirement home or an assisted living facility.
Home Health is a physician-ordered service designed to enable patients to maximize their ability to function safely at home by teaching patients and their caregivers how to provide effective, appropriate care. Symptom management, medication management, mobility and home safety issues are among the many needs covered.
Hospice care is designed for individuals who are entering the last phases of a terminal illness. The goal of our program is to help you live as fully and comfortably as possible — with dignity and respect. We also support your family, friends and caregivers by answering questions, discussing concerns and offering comfort.
Learn more about our services.
The aim of palliative care is to ease suffering caused by a life-threatening or life-limiting illness or injury. It is a medical specialty with a team approach. You can get palliative care at the same time you get treatments that are meant to cure you.
Palliative medicine is a subspecialty of medicine devoted to holistic care of the patient and their family. Palliative medicine physicians are experts in addressing a wide variety of physical symptoms, as well as social, emotional and spiritual concerns of the patient and family. They work together with the oncologist and primary care physician to relieve suffering and help the patient enjoy the best quality of life possible.
Palliative medicine can:
- Control difficult symptoms like pain, nausea and shortness-of-breath
- Partner with you and your family to make medical decisions and treatment choices
- Listen and give support at all stages of illness and injury
- Offer suggestions based on knowledge of your values and how you want to live your life
Inpatient consultations are provided at Tacoma General Hospital at the request of the attending physician. Outpatient consultations are provided at MultiCare Regional Cancer Center locations and can be arranged by calling the clinic.
Learn more about palliative care.