How Can Occupational Therapy Help Cancer Patients?

How Can Occupational Therapy Help Cancer Patients

Cancer is a disease that not only affects physical but mental health as well. It affects patient’s quality of life. The patient might find it hard to perform most of the day to day activities such as work and travel. Just like a patient suffering from some other condition, a patient suffering from cancer can also reap the benefits of outpatient occupational therapy. The patient will receive supportive services that will help in managing the impact of this disease on the quality of life.  

Improved functions can lower long-term disability risks. However, occupational therapy is still not utilized by cancer patients. It may be because of a lack of accessibility or patients are not aware of the fact that this therapy is available for cancer as well. And, there are some myths associated with outpatient occupational therapy for cancer. However, the truth is, this therapy can increase the functional capacity of a patient with the help of some tools and techniques. This depends on the condition and goals of the patient.

To enhance the quality of his life, a patient might want to:

  • Alleviate symptoms
  • Improve mental health
  • Control pain

An occupational therapist can help a cancer patient by addressing the following areas:

  • Assistance with cognitive symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Physical impairment
  • Fall prevention

Assistance With Cognitive Symptoms

There are some cognitive issues related to cancer such as problems with attention, memory and organization. The therapist can help the patient in becoming independent when it comes to scheduling, shopping, money management, medication management, meal planning and other day-to-day activities.           


Around 91% of the patients suffering from cancer report fatigue. This fatigue makes it hard for them to perform important daily activities. Energy conservation strategies can help the patient in maintaining a routine. These strategies are based on organization and modifications. The therapist can personalize the strategy to address the specific needs of the patient.      

Physical Impairments

A cancer patient often experiences lymphedema, numbness, pain and reduced range of motion. Regular stretching and exercise can reduce pain and increase mobility. The therapist provides the patient with special tools for improving education and independence. In addition to exercise and stretching, the therapist can recommend some modifications in day-to-day activities.

Fall Prevention

In addition to some recommendations, the therapist can also implement some modifications in the house. Some assistive devices can also be used to reduce the risk of falling. This can reduce the risk by 21 to 39%.  

What Is The Right Time To See An Occupational Therapist?

The patient should see a therapist if:

  • It has been more than two weeks and the patient is finding it difficult to complete daily activities.
  • The patient has fallen at least once in the past six months.
  • Daily activities are limited due to symptoms such as pain.
  • The patient is experiencing problems related to memory, focus and attention.            

If you are a cancer patient and want to manage symptoms of this disease to improve functional capacity, you can find a therapist for outpatient occupational therapy in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.

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