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Keywords:

  • cancer rehabilitation;
  • functional outcomes;
  • neoplasm

Cancer is a significant cause of physical and cognitive disability. The concept of cancer rehabilitation was developed in the 1970s; it was a concept that led to funding support and to significant contributions to symptom management. A recent trend has been an increase in the number of cancer diagnoses and an increase in cancer survival rate. This suggests that more persons with cancer are living longer despite cancer-caused impairments. Interdisciplinary cancer rehabilitation programs are designed to help cancer patients achieve maximal functional ability and adapt to disabilities resulting from cancer or its treatments. Currently, there are few cancer rehabilitation programs in the United States. Information about the role of rehabilitation nursing in cancer patient care is scarce. The purposes of this article were to review the history of cancer rehabilitation; review functional outcomes that have been reported in current research; and identify the multiple, complex challenges that illustrate the role of a cancer rehabilitation clinical nurse specialist in the rehabilitation of cancer patients.