Cancer of the Digestive Organs: Importance of Mobility for Motility

  • An Ngo-HuangEmail author
  • George Francis


Cancers of the digestive organs encompass a wide variety of malignancies throughout the course of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These include upper GI (oral, gastroesophageal, stromal), lower GI (colorectal, anal), hepatobiliary (gall bladder, liver, cholangiocarcinoma) and pancreatic carcinomas. Colorectal cancers are most common. They are often caught early and are cured through surgical resection. Gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer, and cholangiocarcinoma, while less common, are often more aggressive. This results in poorer outcomes and decreased 5-year survival rates. At the time of diagnosis, GI cancers may have already caused bowel dysfunction, abdominal pain, generalized weakness and cachexia. Further cancer rehabilitation challenges for this population include: deconditioning, profound muscle loss due to cachexia, cancer-related fatigue, cancer pain, peripheral neuropathy, bowel and bladder dysfunction, gait abnormality, impairment in self-care, insomnia, anorexia, malnutrition, and concomitant mood disorders (adjustment disorders, anxiety, and depressed mood.) Thus, the involvement of a physiatrist early after cancer diagnosis is important to provide supportive care through symptom management, optimization of physical function, and monitoring of body composition changes during treatment.


Colorectal neoplasms Colectomy Cachexia Abdominal pain 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative MedicineUniversity of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Physical Medicine and RehabilitationTom Baker Cancer Center, University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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