May 11, 2021

Rehabilitation doctors advise cancer patients to exercise – The Province

Rehabilitation doctors advise cancer patients to exercise - The Province


The benefits of discipline in patients (adults and children) with cancer to improve their quality of life and the lack of specialist professionals in the Islands focused the presentation of the XXV Congress of the Canary Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Socarmef), which is celebrated from this Thursday until this Saturday in the culture room of Cajamar Rural Box of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The advances in cancer treatment They have been associated with an increase in the survival rate of patients, leading them to live longer with advanced pathology and becoming a chronic process with a life expectancy greater than 12 months, recalled this Thursday from the organization of the appointment through a press release.

He explained at a press conference the president of the congress and head of the cardiac rehabilitation unit of the Insular University Hospital of Gran Canaria, Guillermo Miranda, "evidence indicates that rehabilitation can have positive effects, even in advanced stages of cancer, helping to maintain or restore function, reduce the burden of symptoms, allow patients to maintain mobility and independence, all of which can contribute to improve the quality of life of the affected person ".

Historically, the care of cancer patients in rehabilitation services was very focused on the sequelae of breast cancer: lymphedema and shoulder pain. However, the progressive increase in the survival of oncological patients opens an opportunity for rehabilitation, especially to encourage physical exercise.

"Physical exercise improves physical capacity, decreases fatigue, stress and improves sleep quality." The American College of Sport Medicine recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise along with strength exercises, 3 times a week in cancer survivors"explained Dr. Miranda before detailing that the two modalities (swimming, walking or running along with weights or elastic bands), associated with stretching and balance work, achieve great improvements in the patient.

Canary Islands and Spain, below the European ratio

The ratio recommended at European level is of 4 to 4.5 rehabilitation doctors per 100,000 inhabitants, but Spain currently has 3.1 and Canary Islands with 3.3, so they are placed below the European standard.

As explained by the doctor Antonio Ramos, vocal of the SocarmefThe Canary Islands have experienced a significant decrease in the ratio of rehabilitative doctors per inhabitant during the last decade: "In 2009, the ratio in the Canary Islands was 5.1 rehabilitative doctors per 100,000 inhabitants, the highest in all of Spain. the demographic and public employment data for 2018, that ratio fell to 3.3 in 2018. This important decrease, together with the greater requirement of specialists due to the aging of the population, the increase in survival due to the improvement of general medical care or the increase in chronic diseases have made it increasingly difficult to respond to the growing demand for consultations in rehabilitation services. "

Given this situation, from the Canary Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, a precariousness map in order to adjust the offer of consultations and treatments to the current needs of the Canarian population, added the same sources of the scientific entity.

The congress will start on Thursday afternoon with the celebration of several practical workshops at the Insular Hospital on topics such as gait analysis, respiratory physiotherapy in patients with neuromuscular conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, interventional techniques in patients with spasticity and chronic pain, vertebral manipulations in the dorsal and lumbar spine or ergometry with determination of the maximum VO2 in different pathologies

The benefits of physical exercise in children with cancer

Dr. Miriam Escobar Pagés, rehabilitative doctor of the Rehabilitation Service of the University Hospital of La Candelaria in Tenerife, will address Friday the benefits of rehabilitation in children with cancer. As we explained earlier, the important advances in cancer research have turned this group of diseases into chronic processes in many cases, reaching a 5-year survival rate of 75% in children 0-14 years. This new situation of chronic disease leads to consider more extensive therapeutic approaches, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life of these patients.

The weakness and fatigue suffered by children with cancer will cause them to evolve from normal physical activity for their age to progressive sedentary lifestyle and muscle atrophy. This muscular situation leads to a decrease in exercise tolerance with an increased feeling of fatigue. Even so, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends physical activity in a wide variety of pediatric diseases, including cancer, so that physical activity and specific exercise programs are emerging as an important intervention to minimize weakness, fatigue and other side effects that these children may suffer, so the rehabilitation doctor will work on performing physical exercise in all children or adolescents with cancer, who have a sufficient functional level to perform it.

Pre-rehabilitation before surgery for lung cancer or colon cancer

At the Dr. Negrín University Hospital in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria there is a pre-operative rehabilitation program that benefited about 20 patients with colon cancer and about 40 with lung cancer in 2018. The program consists in carrying out the rehabilitation before that patients undergo surgery to improve recovery after the major surgery procedure. The objectives of these programs are to improve the physical condition and stress of the patient before surgery and to reduce post-operative complications and mortality.

Great benefits also in palliative care

Although there is evidence of the benefits of rehabilitation in patients with cancer and among patients with advanced disease in general, unfortunately it is hardly used in palliative care patients. The reasons may lie in the lack of information from professionals about the benefits of rehabilitation (as it is often thought that physical therapy and rehabilitation are not profitable, especially for patients approaching the final phase of rehabilitation). phase of his illness). However, it can be a therapy of great benefits for this group.

As explained on Friday in his speech "Rehabilitation in palliative care" Dr. Ana Godoy, head of section of the Unit of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of the Regional University Hospital of Malaga: "Perhaps the greatest challenge in the rehabilitation of patients with advanced cancer is to set appropriate goals.Traditional strategies to minimize deterioration may need to be modified due to patient and time limitations.The evaluation should be done often because rapid progression is frequent. "

The morning of Friday will focus mainly on how to approach and treat brain damage acquired as a result of injuries, strokes or accidents. On Saturday it will be the turn of the improvement proposals to speed up the response of the Rehabilitation Services to the population in the Canary Islands.

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