Your Resource for Oncology Information
Rehabilitation Oncology is the primary peer-reviewed, indexed resource for advancing oncologic physical therapy practice and cancer rehabilitation through the dissemination of definitive evidence, translation of clinically relevant knowledge, and integration of theory into education, practice, and research.
July 2021 – Volume 39 – Issue 3
We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.
—Martin Luther King Jr, from Why We Can’t Wait
The last year and a half made a permanent and unforgettable mark on history. Much like I learned about my grandparents’ experience with the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, my grandchildren will be reading about 2020—the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. And much as I learned about the activism of the 1960s, future generations will learn about the activism during the summer of 2020, when George Perry Floyd Jr died in police custody.
The 2 seemingly disparate events linked only by time—the spring of 2020—are, in reality, inextricably linked. These 2 events highlight why we cannot wait to address persistent, systemic inequities that affect general health and welfare of the country.
The pandemic has laid bare clear disparities in health. A study published last year reported that those with lower education levels and areas with higher percentages of Black residents had higher rates of COVID-19 cases and fatalities. A more recent study with even larger data pools (>4 million cases) reported that socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic minority status, household composition, and environmental factors were significantly associated with both COVID-19 incidence and mortality due to COVID-19. Racial disparities are also evident at every level of the criminal justice system. Mr Floyd had recently lost his job due to the pandemic when he was stopped by police and arrested for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill. He was in a Black, lower-income neighborhood when he had this fateful interaction with the police. We cannot wait for the pandemic to be over or for equality to become the norm.
At a deeper level, questions about how the George Floyds of the world access health care need answering. In “Cancer Disparities and Health Equity: A Policy Statement From the American Society of Clinical Oncology,” the organization recommends equitable access to high-quality care, equitable research, addressing structural barriers, and the need to increase awareness and action. In our specialty area, oncology rehabilitation, we, too, must tackle unfairness in the system. Our role as rehabilitation practitioners has always included advocacy for those in need; we can parlay our expertise in advocacy toward disparities in cancer rehabilitation. It is essential to reveal the barriers and lack of accessibility to rehabilitation services for those with cancer. Even before this, determining what role rehabilitation practitioners may have in preventing cancer needs further study and development. The COVID-19 pandemic and the activism of the summer of 2020 are a message: the time is ripe to do right.
In January 2023, Rehabilitation Oncology will publish a special issue focusing on Disparities in Cancer Rehabilitation, with Lisa Van Hoose, PT, PhD, MPH, leading a team of guest editors curating this issue. We are seeking original research examining gaps in access, quality, and affordability of rehabilitation care as well as what effect disparities have on disability in relation to cancer. Our call for papers is available on our Web site: www.rehabonc.com. Interested authors will need to submit a proposal by March 1, 2022.
All individuals with cancer deserve access to rehabilitation to assist in recovery. We must use our time creatively, now, to address the disparities facing our family, friends, and neighbors.
– Editor, Mary Insana Fisher, PT, PhD
Missing rehab due to COVID-19 increased distress in women with breast cancer
October 2020’s COVID-19 Special Issue of Rehabilitation Oncology features an important Research Report that addresses the Effect of Disrupted Rehabilitation Services on Distress and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This report is receiving deserved attention. You can also read Wolters Kluwer’s press release here.
Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG): Interventions for Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema now available!
This CPG is the culmination of significant efforts by several APTA Oncology members and we recognize the authors: Claire Davies, PT, PhD, Kimberly Levenhagen, PT, DPT, Kathryn Ryans, PT, DPT, Marisa Perdomo, PT, DPT, MS, and Laura Gilchrist, PT, PhD. We also thank all APTA Oncology members who provided critical feedback during the development of the CPG.
The full CPG is now available (open access as of 7/1/2020) via PT Journal. APTA Oncology members can access an executive summary of the CPG in the latest issue of Rehabilitation Oncology. You can also read APTA’s press release here.
EDGE Annotated Bibliography
As a way to summarize the excellent work and outcomes of our many Oncology EDGE Task Forces, an annotated bibliography has been developed as a quick reference guide. The EDGE findings and recommendations are categorized by diagnosis and/or condition (when not diagnosis-specific). The goal is to promote the utilization of evidence-based outcome measures across settings in order to provide continuity in oncology rehabilitation.
APTA Oncology's General Listerv is a very productive messaging system for answering your practice questions. In addition, we maintain specialized listservs for our special interest groups.
Any PT or PTA living in a country other than the US or a healthcare provider from another discipline, not eligible for APTA membership, can take advantage of our membership benefits by becoming a Partner of APTA Oncology.
Want to get involved? Check out APTA Engage for the latest volunteer opportunities within APTA Oncology. Check back often as new opportunities arise!
A clinical research grant is available to APTA Oncology members to assist with a one-year research study that investigates a question(s) of importance to adult or pediatric oncology or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) physical therapy.