Individuals diagnosed with cancer will often have functional limitations either from their cancer or the treatment of that cancer. As the number of individuals diagnosed with cancer increases, and the rate of survival increases after cancer diagnosis, the number of individuals with functional impairments is increasing. Therefore, the optimal application of rehabilitation principles to this population is critical to decrease impairments and their disability. Research focused on functional outcomes and the rehabilitation treatments needed to minimize function-limiting impairments is critical at this point. The Mayo Cancer Rehabilitation Program that includes our Lymphedema Clinic is committed to increasing the knowledge and science necessary to minimize functional loss in patients surviving cancer.
The focus of research
The Cancer Rehabilitation Program has three major focuses for research: the impact of rehabilitation/exercise on the patient’s quality of life; the incidence/frequency of functional loss after cancer/cancer treatment; and the optimal management of lymphedema caused by cancer or its treatment. There are several projects at different stages of development in each of these areas. Most of these studies are multidisciplinary including physician, nursing and therapy services. These projects have immediate application to patient care and can lead to improved functional outcome.
Mayo provides a unique opportunity to approach these and many other research questions and find answers that will improve our understanding and rehabilitation care of individuals living with cancer. The population is readily available and there is support from many related cancer care departments. Therefore, the Cancer Rehabilitation program is committed to the research necessary to best use rehabilitation resources for individuals with cancer.