1.1. Cancer and physiotherapy

Cancer is the common term for all malignant tumours and its consequences are a concern for people worldwide. Advances in health and medical science procedures (early diagnosis, improved chemotherapy and radiotherapy) and surgical techniques, and their utilization in the field of oncology, have significantly improved survival and have thus strongly influenced the practice of physiotherapy [1, 2, 3, 4].

People are living longer with their cancers, which in many cases are treated as chronic disease, due to the early detection and advances in treatment options. Thus, physiotherapists require greater knowledge of the clinical conditions and improved skill in managing patients with cancer, before, during and after the specific medical procedures. They also have the responsibility of managing and treating patients during the pre and postoperative periods with the provision of the best particular physiotherapeutic intervention to each patient [5, 6].

Besides the knowledge about clinical interventions, the physiotherapist needs to be in contact with the recent advances in the scientific literature in general. Moreover, this professional must know about the risk factors to cancer and participate in actions to aid in the prevention of this disease [5, 6, 7].

In oncology, for example, there is increasing evidence, initially only from epidemiological studies but increasingly from individuals case studies, that risk of some cancers, such as prostate, may be reduced in people living in areas of high ambient solar radiation or with high sun exposure than in those where the converse is the case. Naturally, the informa tion about the protection against the unnecessary exposition of the sunlight is also very important [8, 9].

Images are suitable tools to aid in the early diagnosis of several types of cancer. However, some modalities of images, as the positron emission tomography (PET) dependenting on the radiopharmaceutical, and in some clinical condition, false negative information can be obtained. As a profisssional of an interdisciplinar team, the physiotherapist must have enough knowledge to suggest a modality of image and to know about the limitations of each procedure [4, 10, 11]

Epidemiological researches have put in evidence the benefits of physical activity in relation to the risk of cancer. Moreover, the physical activity has been considered as a modifiable lifestyle risk factor that has the potential to reduce the risk of the majority of the types of diseases, as the cancer. The physiotherapist must be also involved in public and private actions to guide the Society to have correct style of the life also related to adequate exercise (kinesiotherapy) and physical activities in general. Naturally, these actions must consider the individual characteristic of each subject [5, 12].

Undesirable clinical conditions due to the use of some techniques to treat cancer can bring bothersome that can comprise the sexual health and the quality of life. It is important that the interprofessional team be prepared to discuss these questions [13, 14].

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