Knowing you have cancer is traumatic enough with the stress of trying to navigate the medical world of treatments etc.  Let’s be honest, it’s unchartered territory to many people. 

That’s where PINC & STEEL Cancer Rehabilitation Foundation comes in. Cancer treatments can be painful and often result in side effects such as weakness and fatigue that negatively impact upon patients. Obviously these impairments affect a person’s lifestyle, but rehabilitation can significantly improve a survivor’s physical and mental condition.

Philippa with patient Daisy

Philippa with patient Daisy

According to Philippa Williams – physiotherapist and founding director of the PINC & STEEL in Australia – as the rate of cancer survivorship improves, rehab programs improve a patient’s quality of life. “I have many patients who had cancer treatment years ago and still have functional limitations from their surgery and treatment. Working with these patients has made me aware of the need to assess and treat cancer patients earlier to help alleviate the unwanted side effects of their treatment.” she says.PINC & STEEL’s certified physiotherapists assess each patient and create a customized program suitable for the patient’s needs.

As well as offering rehab treatment, PINC & STEEL is a charitable foundation dedicated to making programs accessible and affordable. The Foundation raises funds that subsidise the cost of treatment for people such as Desi Martin.  Desi was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27. Twenty-five years later, she encourages people to seek professional help as early as possible because “I know what it was like for me after treatment and surgery. I . . . have probably saved myself 20 years of trying to ‘fix’ myself. If I hadn’t been doing physiotherapy . . . I wouldn’t be as strong as I am,” she said.

Words and photos by Sam Navin