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In the past, persons diagnosed with cancer were thought to need to prepare for death. Currently, the five-year survival rate for all cancers has increased to 66.2% from 2005 to 2011 as compared to 49% from 1975 to 1977. This increased survival rate can be attributed to earlier diagnosis, improved treatments, and the supportive care provided today. Cancer has become one of the most disabling and costly conditions affecting Americans today. A prevalent cause of disability and emotional distress in cancer survivors is physical dysfunction, and cancer survivors frequently report many unmet needs. This information suggests potential opportunities for rehabilitation professionals to help meet the needs of cancer patients. Rehabilitation for cancer patients may occur along the continuum of care including acute care services, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home- health and outpatient therapy services. This editorial describes how rehabilitation professionals could become involved in the care of patients dealing with a diagnosis of cancer.

Author Bio(s)

Jennifer C. Smith, OTD, MBA, OTR/L is Director of Operations at Eastern Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, LLC in Greenville, NC. She is also a licensed occupational therapist in North Carolina. Her interests include chronic pain management, aging in place and rehabilitation needs of cancer patients

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