February is National Cancer Prevention Month, & while we as PTs may not think of ourselves in a cancer prevention role, we have great opportunities to educate our patients & empower them to take control of their health. This episode is for every PT professional & student, whether your interest is in outpatient, inpatient, home health, neurological, orthopedic, acute care, wound care, aquatics, pelvic floor, vestibular, or oncology patient populations. Regardless of your practice area, you can & should be having these conversations with patients.
Just because a patient has one comorbidity, impairment or diagnosis doesn’t exclude them from being at risk of developing cancer. Just because a patient has one cancer diagnosis doesn’t exclude them from being at risk for another.
Even if we can’t prevent a patient from getting all the cancers, we can definitely help educate patients on screenings, signs & symptoms, & risk factors of cancers in order to get an earlier diagnosis & improve treatment outcomes.
So what are some prevention discussion points we can have with our patients?
- Regular participation in physical activity
- Healthier eating patterns
- Smoking cessation
- Sunscreen use
- Self-exams, recommended screenings
- Skin checks
- Red flag screenings
Ways to implement in your clinical practice:
- Verbal education with your patient
- Clinic posts – paper or electronic
- Social media posts