Life just got a little bit easier for cancer patients and survivors in southern Illinois.
Southern Illinois Healthcare in alliance with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) now offers cancer rehabilitation services at four locations. This brand new service offering is available before, during and after cancer treatment in order to hasten a patient’s return to normalcy. Cancer rehabilitation therapy is available at all Rehab Unlimited locations in Herrin, Carbondale, Murphysboro and Anna.
Plans are also underway to include an 1800-square foot cancer rehabilitation suite in the new SIH cancer center under construction in Carterville.
If you are a cancer patient or cancer survivor interested in learning more about how rehabilitation services can enhance your treatment and recovery, call Rehab Unlimited at (800) 597-5790
Nationally renowned cancer rehabilitation educator Leslie Waltke formally trained 50 members of SIH staff, including physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs), athletic trainers, assistant PTs and OTs, this spring.
“Cancer rehabilitation has been shown to improve quality of life, lengthen life span and save lives,” Waltke said. “Research show that cancer survivors who exercise have less risk of dying than those patients who are sedentary.”
Need for Cancer Rehabilitation
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 13.7 million cancer survivors were living in the United States on January 1, 2012, compared to 3 million in 1971.
“For many of these survivors, including those undergoing treatment, a multiplicity of side effects resulting from aggressive, life-saving treatments conspire to drive them down,” said Terrence Glennon, M.D., medical director of SIH/RIC Rehabilitation Services.
Cancer patients and survivors struggle with generalized weakness, fatigue, pain, poor nutrition, limited mobility and a host of other issues such as difficulty swallowing, lymphedema and bladder dysfunction. Cancer rehabilitation can help build strength and mobility and hasten a cancer patient’s return to normalcy, while enhancing their quality of life, Glennon noted.
SIH/RIC Administrative Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Dena Kirk has been actively involved in helping develop and implement the new program.
“More than 90 percent of cancer patients can benefit from rehabilitation; yet, fewer than 30 percent receive care,” Kirk said.
With more people surviving cancer than ever before, Kirk believes a service line like this is a necessity and will help build strength and endurance so cancer patients can better tolerate chemotherapy and treatment and get on with their lives.
“The response from physicians and staff has been tremendous,” Kirk said. “This is an exciting time and we have worked really, really hard to get this started!”