Differential Diagnosis in PT, Part 04: Cancer Screening and Prevention


The therapist must especially know how and what to look for to screen for cancer. Cancer can present as primary neck, shoulder, chest, upper back, hip, groin, pelvic, sacroiliac or low back pain/symptoms.

As you will learn in this course, age is a major risk factor for cancer. With the aging of our adult population, the incidence of cancer also rises. Therapists must know how to recognize red flags of systemic or viscerogenic involvement. Early detection and treatment is the key to cancer survival.

This course is designed for physical therapists working with clients in all settings and at all levels from beginner to advanced. The course will review terminology, epidemiology and the metastatic process, especially as the latter presents itself in a clinical practice. Physical therapist's diagnosis vs. screening, risk factors, prevention and oncology pain will also be included. A cognitive processing reasoning orientation will be utilized throughout the course to encourage students to gather and analyze data, pose and solve problems, infer, hypothesize and make clinical judgments as mechanisms for making appropriate differential diagnoses and referrals. Case studies will be used to integrate screening information in determining a physical therapist’s diagnosis and making decisions regarding intervention versus referral.

Upon completion of this course, the Learner will be able to:
  • Define terminology associated with cancer
  • List statistics related to incidence, mortality and morbidity
  • Identify basic metastatic process
  • Name the most common risk factors for cancer
  • dentify the systems most often affected by cancer metastasis in a physical therapist practice
  • Describe the corresponding clinical manifestations of each system affected by cancer metastasis
  • List clinical signs and symptoms corresponding to paraneoplastic syndromes.

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