Introduction to the ESMO Handbook on Rehabilitation Issues During Cancer Treatment and Follow-Up

Everybody wishes to enjoy a long and healthy life. To achieve this, one seeks to maintain a sound spirit and a healthy body. Once the diagnosis of cancer comes in, the whole picture changes in a horrible way. Cancer affects man’s well-being in many different ways. Physical activity is frequently reduced and it can be mentally hard to deal with the new situation. The partner and family members may be put under pressure. Disease symptoms or (late) adverse events delay the process of recovery during and after cancer therapy. The disease and its necessary treatment often undermine the employment process and raise financial issues. Inability to actively take part in the social process may lead to isolation and aggravate grief.

Medical professionals who are working within the field of oncology should have an open mind towards this continuous and complex process and help whenever and wherever possible. Being a good medical professional goes well beyond technical skills or a high scientific trial accrual. The term “personalised medicine” is currently used to point out that there could well be a tailored, targeted treatment regimen for every cancer patient in the near future. This term, however, has a second meaning: behind every disease there is a unique person who deserves personal guidance through his/her treatment and rehabilitation process. After reading this handbook, you will most certainly be able to comply with this personalised medicine goal.

Henk van Halteren

Department of Medical Oncology, Admiraal de Ruijter Hospital, Goes, The Netherlands

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Last update: 10 September 2014