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Cancer Rehabilitation 2019
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Waltke Cancer Rehabilitation Academy

 Leslie J. Waltke, PT, DPT



It is expected that up to 90% of people undergoing treatment for cancer may develop significant musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary and functional impairments.  Most of these problems including pain, fatigue, weakness can be reduced, eliminated or prevented with rehabilitation. Cancer rehabilitation has been shown to contribute to better outcomes in oncology including improved quality of life, patient longevity, and decreased risk of cancer recurrence.  Rehabilitation for patients with cancer is evidence-based, reimbursable care that may also shorten inpatient stays, decrease fall risk, and decrease hospital re-admissions and ED visits.  Historically, the typical rehabilitation therapist has not received much and/or recent education and training regarding cancer rehabilitation, and has not consistently treated patients with cancer.  This introductory course will teach therapists not only basic cancer pathophysiology, but also cancer rehabilitation techniques required to effectively recognize, evaluate, predict and treat the physical dysfunctions associated with cancer treatment modalities including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.  Participants who complete this course will be better equipped to recognize typical clinical presentations and evaluate and treat patients with cancer.



By course end, participants will:

*List the definition of basic cancer pathophysiology

*Describe 3 cancer treatments and their mechanisms of action

*Describe 3 musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary and other functional deficits associated with cancer medical management

*Describe 3 exercises in a basic rehabilitation program to combat fatigue during chemotherapy and radiation

*List the 3 major components of lymphedema risk reduction 



This is a classroom style course in which participants will learn through lecture, video, group discussion and lab demonstration. 



Leslie J. Waltke, PT, DPT is a physical therapist with a clinical mastery in cancer rehabilitation and Founder of the Waltke Cancer Rehabilitation Academy. Since earning her degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Wisconsin in 1988, Dr. Waltke has dedicated most of her career solely to treating the cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, integumentary and functional needs of persons during and after treatment for cancer.  She is respected nationally and internationally as an oncology physical therapist, cancer rehabilitation key opinion leader, author, educator and consultant.  


Since 2005 Dr. Waltke has been the Cancer Rehabilitation Coordinator for Aurora Health Care, one of the United States’ largest cancer programs and proud holder of the rare Commission on Cancer “Outstanding Achievement Award.” Her role, in addition to treating patients with cancer, includes cancer rehabilitation program development, education and training, and best practice and clinical standards development. Cancer rehabilitation programs are now available at each of Aurora Health Care’s 14 hospitals and at 27 outpatient Aurora Rehabilitation Centers throughout Wisconsin. The Commission on Cancer and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers have consistently described her cancer rehabilitation programs as “excellent” “amazing” and “outstanding.”


A gifted and impassioned speaker, Dr. Waltke teaches and lectures throughout the world to rehab professionals, universities, medical and oncology providers, cancer organizations as well as cancer patients and survivors. She recently spoke at the 2014 China Cancer Congress and the 2015 and 2017 World Cancer Congresses.  


Dr. Waltke is a former Board Member of the Oncology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, an APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor, on the Specialization Academy of Content Experts and a founding and current board member of ABCD, Inc. Recent honors include the “2014 Article of the Year Award” from the Journal of Patient-Centered Research and Reviews, the 2015 Academic Excellence and Leadership Award from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, and the 2015 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Education Recognition scholarship. 





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