I first heard the term physical therapy when I was a child as my own siblings were diagnosed with muscular dystrophy disease and the only treatment for them was physiotherapy and rehabilitation. I was going with them to physiotherapy sessions and so, when I finished my high school I had only thought of myself as a physiotherapist as it was my passion. Thank God I was graduated with a very good grade from the bachelor degree in 2004 and I got a scholarship from my University (Al-Quds University) to continue my master degree in the United Kingdom as I had my master in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Nottingham in 2008.
During my work as a physiotherapist and as a clinical supervisor I have seen many cancer survivors but when I had a cancer patient in my family, the issue was different and I had become more oriented about the ongoing complications that affects their quality of life, and from all my siblings I was the most helper for my late father during his illness from lung cancer till he died in 2011. Therefore, that was my starting point of passion in doing up a research about cancer survivors, especially with post breast cancer surgery survivors, which affects many women and their everyday life details as we are living in the eastern society.
Unfortunately, there is little knowledge from both doctors and patients about the role of physiotherapy and rehabilitation for cancer patients and that’s what makes it more interesting and challenging for me in doing up this comparison research about physical activity, cardiopulmonary and quality of life differences between different countries and cultures to have a holistic view about this issues and trying to understand where is the gap and so starting to work upon it .
Cancer survivors have many complications that are affecting their quality of life such as joint pain, limited range of motion, lymphatic oedema, shallow breathing and low physical activity which are issues that physiotherapy can address and trying to decrease if we are starting to work with those survivors as soon as possible, and if they continue to do the exercises alongside with other adjunctive cancer treatments. I hope that I can learn more about the assessment, treatment protocols and research in the PhD journey as through my reading I found that there is a lot of evidence based practice on this subject but I still need a University that have interest in this issues as well as a supervisor to guide me through this research. Moreover, to find practical methods to help cancer survivors and improve their quality of life.
Madinah is one of Asherah Foundation’s outstanding applicants of 2016’s Second Chance Scholarship for women around the globe. She is currently a PhD student in the School of Health Science at the University of East Anglia, in the UK, where she is pursuing her dream of changing the life of cancer patients.
*For privacy purposes, the real name has been changed.