Physical therapists often treat cancer patients. Cancer treatment includes chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery, which are being continuously developed and thus increase survival of patients with each cancer diagnosis. More specifically, 5-year survival rates increase with each cancer diagnosis. Cancer patients have many problems including muscle weakness, pulmonary dysfunction, fatigue, and pain. In the end, patients with cancer tend to have a decline in activities of daily living (ADL) and quality of life (QOL). Additionally, cancer patients often have progressive disease, depression, and anxiety. Physical therapy often helps patients regain strength and physical function and improve their QOL and independence of daily living that they may have lost due to cancer or its treatment. Physical therapy has an important role in increasing physical function of cancer patients, cancer survivors, and children with cancer. In the future, physical therapy may be progressively needed for management of cancer patients.
Part of the book: Clinical Physical Therapy
Many patients with cancer experience muscle wasting and weakness. Muscle wasting in patients with cancer can be caused by cachexia and sarcopenia. Both cachexia and sarcopenia involve inflammation and oxidative stress. However, they differ in the underlying mechanisms that lead to muscle wasting. Cachexia involves the release of inflammatory cytokines due to cancer, while sarcopenia involves inflammation due to aging. Physical exercise has shown effectiveness for improving physical function, ability, and quality of life (QOL) in patients with cancer cachexia. On the other hand, no studies have investigated the relationship between physical exercise and sarcopenia in elderly patients with cancer. Previous studies showed effectiveness for improving physical function in elderly patients with cancer. In the future, more studies are required on physical exercise in sarcopenic elderly patients with cancer.
Part of the book: Frailty and Sarcopenia