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Cancer 'prehabilitation' can reduce complications and improve treatment outcomes
Date:7/18/2013

k and severity of future impairments.

Traditionally, pretreatment interventions focused on aerobic conditioning to build patients' general strength and stamina. But recent studies have shown that more directed interventions can improve outcomes in patients with specific cancers: for example, swallowing exercises before surgery for head or neck cancer, smoking cessation to improve breathing function before lung cancer surgery, or pelvic floor exercises to reduce problems with urinary incontinence after surgery for prostate cancer.

Some studies have shown that prehabilitation interventions, individually or in combination, can increase the range of treatment options, lower complication rates, and improve physical and mental health outcomes. Benefits include a reduced risk of hospital readmission and lower health care costs.

Cancer prehabilitation seems more effective when it includes both physical and psychological interventions. Providing psychosocial support immediately after diagnosis has improved treatment outcomes for patients with prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer. Future studies may show that prehabilitation can increase patients' ability to complete their recommended treatmentthus improving their chances of survival.

Drs. Silver and Baima emphasize that cancer prehabilitation should follow an individualized approach, "identifying current and anticipating future impairments as a critical first step in improving healthcare outcomes and decreasing costs." They liken cancer prehabilitation to a puzzle, with individual approaches put together in combinations that best meet the needs of the individual patient.

While patients may fear that delaying cancer treatment may reduce their risk of survival, there's typically some waiting period before treatment begins. This timewhether it's a few days or a few weeksmay provide a "window of opportunity" for prehabilitation interventions to address physical and psychologic
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Contact: Connie Hughes
connie.hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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