The ISPRM Special Interest Group (SIG) in Cancer Rehabilitation

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An individual is considered a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis, through the balance of his or her life. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also impacted by the survivorship experience, and thus are included in this definition.  The incidence of cancer is growing rapidly worldwide, with an estimated 18.1 million new cases anticipated in 2018. Nearly half of these cases will be diagnosed in Asia, with a significant proportion in Europe (23.4%) and the Americas (21%).  In the United States, the number of cancer survivors continues to increase due to advances in early detection and treatment, as well as growth of the population. The projected number of cancer survivors is anticipated to grow from 15.5 million in 2016 to more than 20 million by 2026.  Concurrently survival trends are generally increasing worldwide, even though the incidence continues to rise for both low-income and middle-income countries.  However the economic costs, due in part to lost productivity for survivors, is estimated to cost US $1.16 trillion, or 2% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).
As a function of survivorship, individuals with cancer must work through a diverse and complex set of impairments that can directly impact health-related quality of life. Often these impairments remain undetected and can lead to disability. With improved screening tools and techniques, opportunities exist to identify these physical, psychological, and cognitive impairment and apply rehabilitation principles and protocols to address functional needs.  With over 30 million cancer survivors in developing countries, there is an increasing global demand to integrate rehabilitation into cancer in low and middle-income countries. However, incorporation of rehabilitation as part of multidisciplinary cancer care is lacking or absent in developing countries.  The purpose of this Special Interest Group (SIG) in Cancer Rehabilitation is to provide a forum for the international physiatric community to begin to address cancer rehabilitation needs at a global level, through advocacy, clinical practice, education, and research. We look forward to our inaugural meeting at the ISPRM 2020 on the morning of March 7 (view schedule here), and look forward to seeing you all there!

Vishwa S. Raj, M.D.

Chair of the Cancer Rehabilitation SIG

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