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Oncology rehabilitation for children and adolescents - what modalities work well with young children and which with adolescents?

MedExpress Team

Published Aug. 22, 2023 13:25

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As the effectiveness of cancer treatment for children and adolescents increases, rehabilitation is also becoming increasingly important. According to a study conducted by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as many as 20 of 30 adults surveyed who had undergone childhood cancer were found to have moderate or severely limited physical function. Rehabilitation started early in cancer treatment can help minimize the risk of patients developing permanent mobility limitations. Appropriately selected exercises and therapy ensure the maintenance or restoration of proper range of motion, muscle strength and motor function, which affects the quality of children's continued life.

- Aspart of the oncological care of young patients with solid tumors of the musculoskeletal system, it is important to implement physiotherapy at the very beginning of treatment, even before surgery. It is not uncommon for a child with a bone tumor to have a contracture of the affected limb. It is therefore important to get the limb well exercised even before surgery. As a result,later the pain will no longer be so bothersome, and the patient will perform the exercises more effectively, which in turn will enable him to return to full physical fitness," explains Professor Anna Raciborska, head of the Department of Oncology and Oncologic Surgery of Children and Adolescents at the Mother and Child Institute.

However, it should be remembered that exercise is not possible in every situation. A contraindication to rehabilitation is a state of significant weakness in the child's body or cases in which movement may lead to a tumor rupture or pathological fracture of a limb, as well as low platelet levels or inflammation. The extent of rehabilitation and its intensity at each stage should be decided by the doctor together with the rehabilitation team.

Different needs in different age groups

The goal of rehabilitation is not only to return to physical fitness, but also to provide psychological, social and emotional support to patients of different age groups. It is often difficult for the youngest to understand the full importance of rehabilitation and the role of physical activity in recovery. Disco...

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