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Cancer Res Treat. 2015 Jul;47(3):370-8. doi: 10.4143/crt.2014.084. Epub 2015 Jan 7.

Current Practice and Barriers in Cancer Rehabilitation: Perspectives of Korean Physiatrists.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University, College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea.
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



The purpose of this study was to assess clinical practice and barriers associated with cancer rehabilitation from the perspective of Korean physiatrists.


All active members of the Korean Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine were invited to complete an online survey developed after focus group discussions.


A total of 97 physiatrists (72 males and 25 females) in Korea completed the survey. Of these, 77% reported familiarity with the term 'cancer survivors.' More than 50% of respondents reported that they provided rehabilitation services for patients with breast cancer (61.9%), brain tumors (64.9%), and spinal tumors (63.9%), whereas 86.6% of respondents reported that they had never or rarely provided rehabilitation programs for patients with gynecological, colorectal, or prostate cancer. Physiatrists who received referrals from a well-organized cooperative referral system reported providing services such as exercise programs for patients with gynecological cancer (odds ratio [OR], 2.16; p=0.044) as well as education regarding lymphedema (OR, 1.81; p=0.047) and neuropathic pain (OR, 1.96; p=0.026).


Although most of the physiatrists surveyed believed that they should contribute to the management of cancer patients, they considered themselves ill equipped to provide appropriate rehabilitation services. This lack of understanding of the effectiveness of rehabilitation services for cancer patients and absence of a cooperative referral system are the major barriers to providing rehabilitation services to cancer survivors in Korea.


Data collection; Physical and rehabilitation medicine; Professional practice

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