Acute Palliative Physical Therapy Services for a Patient With Metastatic Rectal Cancer and Subsequent Spinal Cord Compression.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths with approximately 40%-50% of people diagnosed experiencing subsequent metastases. Surgery is the only curative treatment for colorectal cancer, although chemotherapy and radiation are often used neoadjuvantly or adjuvantly to decrease recurrence rates and improve survival. Many individuals experience adverse effects and physical impairments secondary to extensive medical treatment. Therefore, the purpose of this case is to signify the important role of physical therapy in the continuum of care of a patient diagnosed with metastatic rectal cancer and subsequent spinal cord compression. The patient was a 70-year-old male admitted to the hospital for lower extremity (LE) numbness and weakness secondary to metastatic rectal cancer. Seventeen months prior to hospitalization, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer and underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radiation followed by laparoscopic abdominoperineal resection with posterior prostatectomy en bloc with a colostomy. Adjuvant chemotherapy included FOLFIRI. While hospitalized, the patient experienced spinal cord compression secondary to metastasis and elected decompressive laminectomy with discectomy for palliation. Due to the poor prognosis of metastatic rectal cancer, the patient's functional mobility and independence declined throughout hospitalization. The patient was able to achieve one of two personal goals; he was able to tolerate sitting in an upright position for his daughter's wedding but unfortunately did not return home prior to expiration. Although the patient suffered eventual mortality, consistent physical therapy allowed him to achieve a major life goal, serving as an important motivator and improved quality of life (QoL) even in end-of-life conditions. Unfortunately, physical therapy services are often overlooked and under-utilized in patients with terminal conditions receiving palliative care, despite the growing body of literature supporting the benefits. By utilizing
Huber MK, Wilson CM, Li NY. Acute Palliative Physical Therapy Services for a Patient With Metastatic Rectal Cancer and Subsequent Spinal Cord Compression. Cureus. 2021 Sep 3;13(9):e17691. doi: 10.7759/cureus.17691. PMID: 34650865; PMCID: PMC8487640.