The Case for Cancer Rehabilitation (13:57)

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a seminar included in:

COURSE: Core Competencies in Interdisciplinary Cancer Rehabilitation



Cancer rehabilitation is a relatively new service line within the healthcare setting that has gained much-deserved attention in recent years. Many students enrolled in this course are experienced healthcare providers, yet they may have had little or no experience previously working with oncology patients and/or in an oncology setting.

The purpose of this introductory seminar is to ensure that students accessing the material in this course are adequately prepared for the subsequent seminars of the course.

This is considered an intermediate-difficulty, clinically-oriented course, and as such, our expectation from students is that they already possess solid background knowledge of human anatomy and a basic understanding and familiarity with oncology terms and definitions.

This seminar is divided into two parts:

Part 1 - encourages students to review relevant literature regarding cancers, the lymphatic system, and impairment-driven cancer rehabilitation.

Part 2 - consists of a video lesson that provides an overview of cancer rehabilitation, including an explanation regarding the current drive from our national (and international) healthcare systems to include it as a standard component of high-quality cancer care, as well as the significance of a well-designed cancer rehabilitation program.


  • Define cancer and cancer staging
  • Identify risk factors, incidence, common treatments, and survival rates for the most prevalent cancers in men and women
  • Outline cancer disparities (e.g., socioeconomic status, race, & geography)
  • Describe the primary function and composition of the lymphatic system
  • Define cancer rehabilitation
  • Cite evidence supporting the need for cancer rehabilitation

Part 1.


(est. time: 30 - 120 min.)

The first part of this seminar consists of a self-paced, reading review of current literature from the American Cancer Society (ACS), the National Lymphedema Network (NLN), and a relevant publication.

ACS's Cancer Facts & Figures 2020, provides an overview of cancers and examines current facts, trends, incidence rates, death rates, survival rates, and causative factors related to cancers.

A brief overview of the lymphatic system is provided through the NLN's Overview of the Lymphatic System.

A thorough introduction to cancer-related and cancer treatment-related impairments and the need for cancer rehabilitation is covered in Impairment-driven Cancer Rehabilitation: An Essential Component of Quality Care and Survivorship by physicians, Julie K. Silver, MD, Jennifer A. Baima, MD, & Robert Samuel Mayer, MD, who are largely considered pioneers in the field of Cancer Rehabilitation.

Please note: it's important for students to take the necessary time they need to review the information in these publications prior to moving on to the video lesson and subsequent seminars of this course. The amount of time spent reviewing these publications will vary from student to student.

(Click) the links below to access the recommended reading material.

Part 2:

The second part of this seminar consists of a video lesson overview that examines the rise in cancer survivors, impairments that result from cancer and it's treatments, and the immediate need to implement high-quality survivorship services, such as cancer rehabilitation, within healthcare organizations to meet the increasing needs of this growing population.

New treatment options and increased survival expectations are encouraging, yet vast increases in the number of survivors does not come without its challenges. There are many short-term and lasting physical, cognitive, emotional, financial, functional, and other adverse side effects from cancer and cancer treatments.

Comprehensive, integrated, and high-quality survivorship services that address cancer impairments across the entire continuum of care are strongly recommended and are quickly becoming a standard requirement for healthcare systems. Current federal regulatory requirements and accreditation standards are already driving this movement. Additionally, new payment & reimbursement models have resulted in payers increasing the pressure on providers to deliver high-quality care at lower costs.

It can be overwhelming for providers within healthcare organizations to know how and which survivorship services to implement that will keep them competitive while continuing to stay profitable, all while providing the highest level of care for their patients. And, even well-designed services that are already available to patients are often underutilized due to lack of provider education, neglected or missing organizational processes, and other factors that fail to effectively drive patient access.

Healthcare professionals must work together across their entire organization and throughout the continuum of care as a unified, informed, skilled, cancer care team. This core competency begins with wide-spread education.

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