Rehabilitation for Cancer Patients

Part of the Recent Results in Cancer Research book series (RECENTCANCER, volume 197)


Rehabilitation for cancer patients aims at reducing the impact of disabling and limiting conditions resulting from cancer and its treatment in order to enable patients to regain social integration and participation. Given current trends in cancer incidence and survival along with progress in medical treatment, cancer rehabilitation is becoming increasingly important in contemporary healthcare. Although not without limitations, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) provides a valuable perspective for cancer rehabilitation in understanding impairments in functioning and activity as the result of an interaction between a health condition and contextual factors. The structure of cancer rehabilitation varies across countries as a function of their health care systems and social security legislations, although there is a broad consensus with respect to its principal goals. Cancer rehabilitation requires a careful assessment of the individual patient’s rehabilitation needs and a multidisciplinary team of health professionals. A variety of rehabilitation interventions exist, including psycho-oncological and psycho-educational approaches. Research on the effectiveness of cancer rehabilitation provides evidence of improvements in relevant outcome parameters, but faces some methodological challenges as well.


Rehabilitation Service Psychosocial Distress Dance Therapy Rehabilitation Setting Rehabilitation Measure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Alfano CM, Ganz PA, Rowland JH, Hahn EE (2012) Cancer survivorship and cancer rehabilitation: revitalizing the link. J Clin Oncol 30:904–906. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2011.37.1674 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartsch HH, Weis J, Moser M (2003) Cancer-related fatigue in patients attending oncological rehabilitation programs: prevalence, patterns and predictors. Onkologie 26:51–57PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Becker S, Kirchberger I, Cieza A, Berghaus A, Harréus U, Reichel O, Tschiesner U (2010) Content validation of the comprehensive ICF core set for Head and Neck Cancer (HNC): the perspective of psychologists. Psychooncology 19:594–605. doi: 10.1002/pon.1608 Google Scholar
  4. Bengel J, Wirtz M, Zwingmann C (2008) Diagnostische Verfahren in der Rehabilitation. (Diagnostik für Klinik und Praxis–Band 5). Hogrefe, GöttingenGoogle Scholar
  5. Bergelt C, Koch U (2002) Rehabilitation bei Tumorpatienten In: Schwarzer R, Jerusalem M, Weber H Gesundheitspsychologie von A–Z, pp. 455–458. Hogrefe, GöttingenGoogle Scholar
  6. Bornbaum CC, Doyle PC, Skarakis-Doyle E, Theurer JA (2013) A critical exploration of the international classification of functioning, disability, and health (ICF) framework from the perspective of oncology: recommendations for revision. J Multidiscip Healthc 6:75–686. doi: 10.2147/JMDH.S40020 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brach M, Cieza A. Stucki G., Füßl M, Cole A, Ellerin B, Fialka-Moser V, Kostanjsek N, Melvin J (2004) ICF core sets for breast cancer. J Rehabil Med Suppl 44:121–127Google Scholar
  8. Bray F, Jemal A, Grey N, Ferlay J, Forman D (2012) Global cancer transitions according to the human development index (2008–2030): a population-based study. Lancet Oncol 13:790–801. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70211-5 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cancer Research UK (2011) CancerStats. Cancer World wide. Accessed 30 Mar 2013
  10. Cancer Research UK (2012) World Cancer fact sheet. World Cancer burden (2008). Accessed 2 May 2013
  11. Cramp F, Byron-Daniel J (2012) Exercise for the management of cancer-related fatigue in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 11: CD006145. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006145.pub3
  12. Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund (2012a) Reha-Bericht 2012. Die medizinische und berufliche Rehabilitation der Rentenversicherung im Licht der Statistik. DRV Bund, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  13. Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund (2012b) Reha-Bericht Update 2012. Die medizinische und berufliche Rehabilitation der Rentenversicherung im Licht der Statistik. DRV Bund, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  14. Deutsches Institut für Medizinische Dokumentation und Information (2005) Internationale Klassifikation der Funktionsfähigkeit. Behinderung und Gesundheit, WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  15. Edwards AG, Hulbert-Williams N, Neal RD (2008) Psychological interventions for women with metastatic breast cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 16: CD004253. doi:  10.1002/14651858.CD004253.pub3
  16. Faller H, Schuler M, Richard M, Heckl U, Weis J, Küffner R (2013) Effects of psycho-oncologic interventions on emotional distress and quality of life in adult patients with cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Oncol 31(6):782–793. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2011.40.8922 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, Forman D, Mathers C, Parkin DM (2010) Estimates of worldwide burden of cancer in 2008: GLOBOCAN 2008. Int J Cancer 127:2893–2917. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25516 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fialka-Moser V, Crevenna R, Korpan M, Quittan M (2003) Cancer rehabilitation. Particularly with aspects on physical impairment. J. Rehabil Med 35:153–162Google Scholar
  19. Gamble GL, Gerber LH, Spill GR, Paul KL (2011) The future of cancer rehabilitation: emerging subspecialty. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 90(5 Suppl 1):S76–S87. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31820be0d1 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ganz PA, Schag CA, Lee JJ, Sim MS (1992) The CARES: a generic measure of health-related quality of life for patients with cancer. Qual Life Res 1:19–29PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gerber L (2001) Cancer rehabilitation in the future. Cancer 92 4 (Suppl.):975–979Google Scholar
  22. Gerber L, Vargo M, Smith R (2005) Rehabilitation of the cancer patient. In: DeVita V et al (eds) Cancer: principles and pracitce of oncology, 7th edn, pp 3089–3110. Lippincott William, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  23. Gilchrist LS, Galantino ML, Wampler M, Marchese VG, Morris GS, Ness KK (2009) A framework for assessment in oncology rehabilitation. Phys Ther 89:286–306. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20070309 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Glaessel A, Kirchberger I, Stucki G, Cieza A (2011) Does the comprehensive international classification of functioning, disability and health (ICF) core set for breast cancer capture the problems in functioning treated by physiotherapists in women with breast cancer? Physiotherapy 97:33–46. doi: 10.1016/ PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Haaf HG (2005) Ergebnisse zur Wirksamkeit der Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation 44:259–276 (English abstract)Google Scholar
  26. Heim ME, Kunert S, Ozkan I (2001) Effects of inpatient rehabilitation on health-related quality of life in breast cancer patients. Onkologie 24:268–272PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hellbom M, Bergelt C, Bergenmar M, Gijsen B, Loge JH, Rautalahti M, Smaradottir A, Johansen C (2011) Cancer rehabilitation: a nordic and european perspective. Acta Oncol 50:179–186. doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2010.533194 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hergert A, Hofreuter K, Melchior H, Morfeld M, Schulz H, Watzke B, Koch U, Bergelt C (2009) Effektivität von Interventionen in der Rehabilitation bei Prostatakarzinompatienten – Ein systematischer Literaturüberblick. Phys Med Rehab Kuror 19:311–325Google Scholar
  29. Holland JC, Breitbart WS, Jacobson PB, Lederberg MS, Loscalzo MJ, McCorkle R (eds) (2010) Psycho-oncology, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Koch U, Gundelach C, Tiemann F, Mehnert A (2000) Teilstationäre onkologische Rehabilitation–Ergebnisse eines Modellprojektes. Rehabilitation, 39:363–372 (English abstract)Google Scholar
  31. Koch U, Morfeld M (2004) Weiterentwicklungsmöglichkeiten der ambulanten Rehabilitation in Deutschland. Rehabilitation 43(5):284–295 (English abstract)Google Scholar
  32. Koch U, Weis J (1992) Krebsrehabilitation in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland–eine kritische Betrachtung unter rehabilitationspsychologischer Perspektive. Strahlenther Onkol 168:622–627 (English abstract)Google Scholar
  33. Krüger A, Leibbrand B, Barth J, Berger D, Lehmann C, Koch U, Mehnert A (2009) Verlauf der psychosozialen Belastung und gesundheitsbezogenen Lebensqualität bei Patienten verschiedener Altersgruppen in der onkologischen Rehabilitation. Z Psychosom Med Psychother 55:141–161 (English abstract)Google Scholar
  34. Leib A, Cieza A, Tschiesner U (2012) Perspective of physicians within a multidisciplinary team: content validation of the comprehensive ICF core set for head and neck cancer. Head Neck 34:956–966. doi: 10.1002/hed.21844 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Meyer T, Gutenbrunner C, Bickenbach J, Cieza A, Melvin J, Stucki G (2011) Towards a conceptual description of rehabilitation as a health strategy. J Rehabil Med 43:765–769. doi: 10.2340/16501977-0865 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mishra SI, Scherer RW, Geigle PM, Berlanstein DR, Topaloglu O, Gotay CC, Snyder C (2012) Exercise interventions on health-related quality of life for cancer survivors. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 8:CD007566. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007566.pub2
  37. Mpofu E, Oakland T (eds) (2010) Rehabilitation and health assessment: applying ICF guidelines. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Newell SA, Sanson-Fisher RW, Savolainen NJ (2002) Systematic review of psychological therapies for cancer patients: overview and recommendation for future research. J Natl Cancer Inst 94:558–584PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. NHMCR (2003) Clinical practice guidelines for the psychosocial care of adults with cancer. Australian Government. National Breast Cancer Center.
  40. Oeffinger KC, McCabe MS (2006) Models for delivering survivorship care. J Clin Oncol 24:5117–5124PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Puetz TW, Herring MP (2012) Differential effects of exercise on cancer-related fatigue during and following treatment: a meta-analysis. Am J Prev Med 43:e1–e24. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.04.027 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ruppert LM, Stubblefield MD, Stiles J, Passik SD (2010) Rehabilitation medicine in oncology. In: Holland JC, Breitbart WS, Jacobson PB, Lederberg MS, Loscalzo MJ, McCorkle R (eds) Psycho-oncology, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 460–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Salz T, Oeffinger KC, McCabe MS, Layne TM, Bach PB (2012) Survivorship care plans in research and practice. CA Cancer J Clin. doi: 10.3322/caac.20142 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Schag CA, Ganz PA, Heinrich RL (1991) Cancer rehabilitation evaluation system–short form (CARES-SF). A cancer specific rehabilitation and quality of life instrument. Cancer 68:1406–1413PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schwiersch M, Stepien J, Schroeck R (1994) Veraenderungen der Lebensqualitaet von Tumorpatientinnen und -patienten nach stationaerer onkologischer Rehabilitation Die psychosoziale Situation zu Beginn und am Ende eines stationaeren Heilverfahrens sowie ein Jahr danach. Praxis der Klinischen Verhaltensmedizin und Rehabilitation 28:230–240Google Scholar
  46. Spelten ER, Verbeek JH, Uitterhoeve AL, Ansink AC, van der Lelie J, de Reijke TM, Kammeijer M, de Haes JC, Sprangers MA (2003) Cancer, fatigue and the return of patients to work-a prospective cohort study. Eur J Cancer 39:1562–1567PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Spence RR, Heesch KC, Eakin EG, Brown WJ (2007) Randomised controlled trial of a supervised exercise rehabilitation program for colorectal cancer survivors immediately after chemotherapy: study protocol. BMC Cancer 7:154PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stout NL, Binkley JM, Schmitz KH, Andrews K, Hayes SC, Campbell KL, McNeely ML, Soballe PW, Berger AM, Cheville AL, Fabian C, Gerber LH, Harris SR, Johansson K, Pusic AL, Prosnitz RG, Smith RA (2012) A prospective surveillance model for rehabilitation for women with breast cancer. Cancer 118:2191–2200. doi: 10.1002/cncr.27476 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stubblefield MD, O’Dell MW (eds) (2009) Cancer rehabilitation: principles and practice. Demos Medical Publishing, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  50. Teichmann JV (2002) Onkologische Rehabilitation: Evaluation der Effektivität stationärer onkologischer Reha-Maßnahmen. Die Rehabilitation 41:48–52 (English abstract)Google Scholar
  51. Tschiesner U, Linseisen E, Coenen M, Rogers S, Harreus U, Berghaus A, Cieza A (2009) Evaluating sequelae after head and neck cancer from the patient perspective with the help of the international classification of functioning, disability and health. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 266:425–436. doi: 10.1007/s00405-008-0764-z PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tschiesner U, Rogers S, Dietz A, Yueh B, Cieza A (2010) Development of ICF core sets for head and neck cancer. Head Neck 32:210–220. doi: 10.1002/hed.21172 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. van Weert E, Hoekstra-Weebers J, Grol B, Otter R, Arendzen HJ, Postema K, Sanderman R, van der Schans C (2005) A multidimensional cancer rehabilitation program for cancer survivors: effectiveness on health-related quality of life. J Psychosom Res 58(6):485–496PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. van Weert E, Hoekstra-Weebers J, Otter R, Postema K, Sanderman R, van der Schans C (2006) Cancer-related fatigue: predictors and effects of rehabilitation. Oncologist 11:184–196PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. van Weert E, May AM, Korstjens I, Post WJ, van der Schans CP, van den Borne B, Mesters I, Ros WJ, Hoekstra-Weebers JE (2010) Cancer-related fatigue and rehabilitation: a randomized controlled multicenter trial comparing physical training combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy with physical training only and with no intervention. Phys Ther 90(10):1413–1425. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20090212. Epub 2010 Jul 22. Erratum in: Phys Ther. 2010 Dec. 90(12):1906
  56. Weis J, Domann U (2006) Interventionen in der Rehabilitation von Mammakarzinompatientinnen: Eine methodenkritische Uebersicht zum Forschungsstand. Rehabilitation 45:129–142 (English abstract)Google Scholar
  57. Weis J, Moser MT, Bartsch HH (2006) Goal-oriented evaluation of inpatient rehabilitation programs for women with breast cancer (ZESOR–Study). In: Jäckel W, Bengel J, Herdt J (eds) Research in rehabilitation: results of a research network in southwest Germany. Schattauer Verlag, Stuttgart, pp 162–171Google Scholar
  58. WHO (1981) Disability prevention and rehabilitation. Report of the WHO expert committee on disability prevention and rehabilitation. Technical report series 668. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  59. WHO (2001) International classification of functioning. Disability and Health, WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Klinik für Tumorbiologie an der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Psychosoziale AbteilungTumor Biology Center at the University of Freiburg, Psychosocial DepartmentFreiburgGermany

Personalised recommendations