STRATFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- Bridgeport Hospital is the first in the state to sign up for the comprehensive STAR certification program for cancer rehab.
Patients are stepping up and regaining their strength at the Bridgeport Hospital rehabilitation clinic in Stratford.
A unique physical therapy approach has cancer patients like Heidi Taylor coming in for weekly sessions.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo a bilateral mastectomy.
"It's really targeting whatever I'm experiencing at that time, any discomforts," said Taylor. "It could be my arm one week, it could be aches and pains all over my body just from chemotherapy."
The therapists there are the first in the state to be certified in a comprehensive cancer rehab training program.
The STAR program is designed to improve the quality of life for recovering cancer patients.
Vikki Winks is the Director of Physical Therapy at Bridgeport Hospital.
"We have so much more knowledge than we had before about cancer treatment and cancer," said Winks, "and the implication that those things have on the patients who come to see us."
She goes on to say, "before I wouldn't have been sure if exercise for someone who was fatigued was a good idea. Now I know just how much exercise is a good idea for someone who has cancer-related fatigue or chemo-related fatigue."
Information that is comforting patients.
Taylor says, "I had been experiencing what I felt were like lines in my arms like strings and I didn't know what they were. And I was kinda told they could be one thing, then through the therapy, through Vikki, she informed me that it's actually like the lymphatic fluid that's backing up in my arms."
More doctors are now on board.
Winks explains, "they either didn't know it was good for the patient or potentially felt it might be detrimental for the patient, too aggressive or too much."
The increased awareness now has patients like Taylor feeling the benefits.
The new standard of care at Bridgeport Hospital was made possible through a private donation and is named the Sandie Taubin STAR program.
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