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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • rehabilitation;
  • survivor;
  • exercise

Cancer rehabilitation is a rapidly emerging and evolving medical field in both Europe and the United States, in large part because of increases in the number of cancer survivors. Although few argue with the need to restore function and quality of life to patients affected by cancer and its treatments, differences exist between European countries with regard to the funding, accessibility, and even the definition of cancer rehabilitation services. In the United States, there is tremendous variability in the provision of rehabilitation services resulting from a variety of factors, including a lack of highly trained cancer rehabilitation physicians and therapists as well as a lack of comprehensive cancer rehabilitation programs, even at the majority of top cancer centers. Although studies evaluating the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs in the cancer setting, particularly exercise, have influenced clinical decision-making in both Europe and the United States for some time, this emerging evidence base also is now starting to influence guideline and policy making. Coordinated research efforts are essential to establish a robust framework to support future investigation and establish shared initiatives. Determining the best way forward for cancer survivors will require investment in large-scale prospective cohort studies that sufficiently describe their rehabilitation needs through the continuum of the survivorship experience. Cancer 2013;119(11 suppl):2170-8. © 2013 American Cancer Society.