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CSP and Macmillan Cancer Support guide highlights cancer care issues for physiotherapists

23 January 2014 - 12:30pm

All physiotherapy teams and departments should have a protocol for managing suspected metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC), says a booklet produced by the CSP and Macmillan Cancer Support.

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Kate Jones: 'With some understanding, any physio can treat patients with a cancer diagnosis.'

The booklet says that although MSCC can lead to permanent paralysis, correct early management can improve functional outcome for patients.

Titled So Your Patient has Cancer? the 12 page guide has been written by specialist cancer physiotherapists with the intention of supporting colleagues working in non-cancer specific roles.

The guide is split into four sections:

  • understanding cancer;
  • managing side effects, symptoms and conditions;
  • promoting physical activity;
  • red flags.

It includes signposts to resources, such as cancer information and exercise websites, intended to help physios to treat people holistically and be more aware of when to refer them to a specialist.

Role of physios

Kate Jones, a clinical specialist physiotherapist at London’s Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and a co-author of the booklet, told Frontline that as numbers of cancer survivors increase, physiotherapists are seeing more patients with a current or past history of cancer.

‘The main aim (of the guide) is that with some understanding, any physio is able to treat patients with a cancer diagnosis,’ said Ms Jones, a member of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Oncology and Palliative Care.

She added that all physiotherapy departments will have copies of the booklet and that it should be a valuable resource for CSP members.

CSP professional adviser Eve Jenner said: ‘The CSP welcomes this guide as a valuable resource for physiotherapists working across a wide range of specialties who see patients with a history of cancer within their everyday caseload.’

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