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4 Ways Physical Therapists Care for Colon Cancer Survivors

pexels-anna-shvets-5067765Treatment for colon cancer, from chemotherapy to radiation therapy to surgery, can take a toll on your body. As you head into survivorship after treatment, you may find that your quality of life has changed.

Physical therapists can help you regain your quality of life, helping you rebuild strength and regain energy. During and after your treatment, physical therapists can help you with side effects such as:

Cancer-Related Fatigue

Many cancer patients with all types of cancer report fatigue, both during and after treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can both cause fatigue as your body fights cancer.

Though it seems counter-intuitive exercising more can actually reduce your feelings of fatigue. Exercises for both cardiovascular health and strength can reduce your feelings of fatigue. A physical therapist can give you a dynamic exercise program that changes as you improve. 

Muscle Weakness

Chemotherapy, recovery from surgery and the cancer itself can leave you feeling weak. You may have weakness in your core, your back, your limbs and your pelvic floor. Muscle weakness can affect your posture and your strength. 

Physical therapists can design exercise programs to strengthen muscles and improve posture so you can get back to activities you love. These exercises may also reduce fatigue and pain.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Chemotherapy can sometimes damage nerves in your arms and hands or legs and feet, causing peripheral neuropathy. You might have symptoms such as burning, tingling, pain, numbness or problems balancing. 

A physical therapist can give you balancing exercises to help prevent falls. They can also use techniques like “nerve-gliding” exercises to help with nerve health. Nerve-gliding exercises help your nerves create more space to move and improve blood flow to nerves, reducing pain.

Bowel Dysfunction

Bowel dysfunction can occur after colon cancer treatment and surgery. You may find your bowel is harder to control and experience leakage or constipation. 

Physical therapists can help retrain your bowel to work properly with techniques like biofeedback therapy, pelvic floor exercises and manual therapy. This combination of techniques can help you gain better control over your bowel and improve your quality of life.

At Bon Secours Physical Therapy, we provide personalized therapy plans to help colon cancer survivors feel like themselves again. Our therapists offer support and guidance to improve your quality of life and help you throughout survivorship. If you are a colon cancer patient or survivor looking to feel better, contact Bon Secours Physical Therapy.