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  1. Morris, G. Stephen PT, PhD, FACSM
  2. Wilson, Terry A. MS, PT


Cancer is slowly but progressively yielding to new therapies and interventions, resulting in a constantly expanding number of cancer survivors. Because cancer is found primarily in older individuals, cancer survivors also tend to be older individuals, the same patients who most often undergo a total knee arthroplasty. For these reasons, a physical therapist asked to rehabilitate a patient after total knee arthroplasty may be doing so for an individual who is a cancer survivor. Increasing survivorship has led to the recognition that cancer and its treatment often leave the survivor with residual problems that surface months to years after completion of treatment. These so-called late effects include cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, diabetes and other endocrine disorders, pain, osteoporosis, cognitive defects, obesity, and inactivity. As such, the rehabilitation of a cancer survivor who is undergoing rehabilitation for total knee arthroplasty may be a more complex patient than anticipated. The purpose of this brief review was to introduce the rehabilitation specialist to several of the late adverse effects of cancer and its treatment and to provide patient screening and safety information that might be useful while treating these patients.