Ellie Hagen

Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Emily Henneman


Colorectal cancer, debilitation post-chemotherapy, impaired endurance and balance post-chemotherapy.


Background and purpose. Colorectal cancer, a combination of colon and rectal cancer, is the third most common cancer amongst men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates 1/22 men and 1/24 women will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. Successful treatments are crucial to prolong the lives of these patients and also increase their quality of life during and after chemotherapy. The purpose of this article is to describe the interventions used for a patient with significant debilitation post-chemotherapy for stage Il colorectal cancer and the effectiveness of treatment.

Description. This case study describes the 4-and-a-half-week episode of inpatient physical therapy (PT) of a 73-year-old male with bilateral upper and lower extremity weakness and impaired endurance and balance post-chemotherapy, PT treatment involved lower extremity strengthening, ambulation, stair, transfer, and balance training. Occupational therapy worked on increasing the patient's upper extremity strength and treating the lymphedema.

Outcomes. The patient achieved good to normal strength in his lower extremities and became independent in all functional activities. He was able to ambulate with a front wheeled walker for a significant distance without fatigue, allowing him to return home.

Discussion. Treatment rationale was based on journal and textbook information on treatment of cancer patients with lower extremity weakness and lack of endurance. Treatment was altered or progressed based on patient's response.