A continuing education supplement to the American Journal of Nursing on nursing and cancer survivorship will be published based on a symposium on long-term cancer survivorship at the University of Pennsylvania (Mason and Burke, 2005).

Other Sources of Information on Cancer Survivorship
  • American Cancer Society has published A Cancer Source Book for Nurses that includes information on advances in symptom control and issues related to survivorship (Varricchio et al., 2004).

  • Journal articles that describe the population of cancer survivors and review the roles of nurses in providing survivorship care are important sources of continuing education (Thaler-DeMers, 2001; Rowland et al., 2001) (see also Chapter 4 for a description of nursing roles in survivorship)

Rehabilitation Specialists

Rehabilitative care is multidisciplinary and may involve physicians trained in rehabilitation and physical medicine (physiatrists), nurses, and other specialists. In this section, three important professional groups that often provide rehabilitative care are described: physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language pathologists. Of these three professional groups, physical therapists are the most commonly encountered providers of rehabilitation services.10 An estimated 13 percent of cancer survivors report using the services of a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or other therapist in the past year (Hewitt et al., 2003). Such therapists are used more frequently (18 percent) among cancer survivors reporting one or more functional limitations.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists (PTs) provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease (BLS, 2004b). PTs also restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and health. Cancer survivors may be referred to a physical therapist to manage late effects such as


Most outpatient rehabilitation therapy services provided to Medicare beneficiaries (with and without a history of cancer) are provided by physical therapists (PTs) (Ciolek and Hwang, 2004). In 2002, 8 percent of beneficiaries used PT services, 2 percent used occupational therapy services, and 1 percent used speech-language pathology services.

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