THE STATE OF CANCER REHABILITATION IN THE UNITED STATES J.K. Silver, N.L. Stout, J.B. Fu, M. Pratt-Chapman, P.J. Haylock, R. Sharma Vol.1 (2018), issue 1, pag. 1-8
Accepted after revision
The field of cancer rehabilitation and prehabilitation has grown significantly over the past decade. Advancements in early detection and treatment have resulted in a growing number of cancer survivors in the United States (US), expected to reach 26 million by 2040.1 Health care professional graduate education is trying to catch up with anticipated clinical demand by increasing the number of cancer rehabilitation fellowship training programs and introducing rehabilitation/prehabilitation concepts earlier in training. Numerous national organizations have issued guidelines for cancer rehabilitation research and posttreatment cancer health care. As treatment modalities evolve, so too must research on side-effects and multisystem management over the continuum of care. Current research strategies address different cancer types with a broad focus on timing of interventions, cost effectiveness, efficacy of rehabilitation, and improving screening and assessment tools. A collaborative, interdisciplinary research model is paramount to deepen impact and broaden reach.
Policy supports could advance cancer survivorship and rehabilitative care. Funding to advance evidence-based practices for distress screening, psychosocial support, survivorship care planning, and rehabilitation services remains critical. Current social policies and health care access protections must be expanded to best serve the growing number of cancer survivors in the US. Equitable health care access, health care experience and health care outcomes remain a critical area for research and policy supports. The cost of cancer treatment requires significant reform to ensure access to all.
Rehabilitation services are elements of standards of care for many neurological, cardiovascular and orthopedic diagnoses, but currently are not standard for actual or potential dysfunctions among cancer survivors. Both the disease process and the variety of therapeutic modalities increase risks of dysfunction, impairments, poor survival, and diminished quality of life. Rehabilitation focuses on optimizing quality of life and maximizing function throughout the continuum of cancer care. Health care professionals are urged to integrate high quality interdisciplinary care to promote collaboration and dissemination of knowledge which will yield better care for cancer survivors. Prehabilitation has the potential to play key roles in reducing or eliminating many cancer-related impairments and disabilities.