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The Intersection of Oncology Prognosis and Cancer Rehabilitation


Purpose of review

This review examines the delivery of rehabilitation care to cancer patients with relation to disease prognosis. This includes the evaluation when patients are referred for rehabilitation services and the effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions across the cancer continuum.

Recent findings

Although prognosticating life expectancy is difficult, referrals for rehabilitation interventions appear to be affected by physician attitudes towards patients with advanced disease, in part because of misconceptions about the nature of rehabilitation for oncology patients. Rehabilitation may also be underutilized in long-term survivors with no evidence of disease. Despite this, our review found that rehabilitation in advanced disease, end-of-life, geriatric cancer patients, and in long-term survivors can be beneficial. There is a relative dearth in studies on rehabilitation interventions specifically at the end-of-life.


Cancer rehabilitation can be helpful to patients along the spectrum of cancer prognoses. Examining more accurate ways to prognosticate life expectancy, improving communication and education between oncologists and rehabilitation team members, and modifying survivorship plans to include patient education on functional changes over time may improve the delivery of rehabilitation care.

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    Correspondence to Sean Robinson Smith.

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    Smith, S.R., Zheng, J.Y. The Intersection of Oncology Prognosis and Cancer Rehabilitation. Curr Phys Med Rehabil Rep 5, 46–54 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40141-017-0150-0

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    • Cancer rehabilitation
    • Cancer prognosis
    • Prognosis and supportive care
    • Prognosis and rehabilitation
    • Geriatric cancer rehabilitation
    • Cancer rehabilitation attitudes