Occupational Therapy’s Role in Cancer Survivorship as a Chronic Condition

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Abstract

Improved medical care has resulted in a documented increase in cancer survivors in the United States. Cancer survivors face challenges in participation across all facets of life as a result of the cancer and subsequent cancer treatments. Long-term and late-term sequelae can result in impairments in neurological systems, decreased stamina, loss of range of motion, and changes in sensation and cognition. These impairments are often long lasting, which categorizes cancer survivorship as a chronic condition. This categorization presents treatment challenges, especially in creating rehabilitation and habilitation service options that support cancer survivors. Occupational therapy provides a unique focus that can benefit cancer survivors as they face limitations in participation in all aspects of daily living. Research, advocacy, and education efforts are needed to focus on the specific rehabilitation and habilitation needs of cancer survivors to increase access to occupational therapy’s distinct value.

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