Advancing Cancer Care: Highlights from Granada's International Symposium

March 18, 2024

Advancing Cancer Care: Highlights from Granada's International Symposium


Last weekend, the 2nd International Symposium for Oncology Physiotherapists unfolded in the picturesque city of Granada. Carolina Fernandez-Lao graciously extended an invitation to Lore and myself to present a session on post-cancer pain, focusing on the pivotal role of pain science education and physiotherapy interventions in managing painful neuropathies after cancer treatment.

Our visit also allowed us to delve into the research conducted by the 'Cuidate' research group under the esteemed leadership of Prof. Irene Cantarer-Villanuova at the University of Granada, specializing in cancer rehabilitation.

Under the guidance of Prof. Carolina Fernandez-Lao, Friday morning unveiled a panorama of intriguing research endeavors at the health science campus. Along them, Maria Lopez-Garzon explained the ongoing PRESIONA trial, exploring the efficacy of a therapeutic Exercise and Blood Flow Restriction Program in preventing chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Immersed in discussions on the potential peripheral and central impacts of blood flow restriction, we eagerly anticipate the trial's outcomes.


Additionally, Mario Lazano-Lozano's team showcased a novel intervention employing anti-gravity treadmills for breast cancer patients with bone metastasis, emonstrating promising reductions in pain during running and daily activities. Our firsthand experience left us enthralled, evoking comparisons to the weightlessness of astronauts.


The ‘PaiNEd’ project, spearheaded by Carolina Fernandez-Lao, piqued our interest with its integration of pain science education and supervised exercise for breast cancer survivors. We found the exchange of insights on eHealth interventions particularly enriching.

Engaging with PhD students and postdocs immersed in rehabilitation after head and neck cancer, we explored parallels between myofascial therapy's efficacy in diverse cancer populations. Their findings underscored potential benefits for oral functions, igniting collaborative possibilities in our respective fields.

After this interesting research visit we took some time to enjoy the beautiful city of Granada, the sun and of course a nice ice cream…


In the evening, we embarked on a mesmerizing journey to the world-renowned Alhambra. As the moon cast its gentle glow upon the ancient walls, we were transported through time, immersed in the rich tapestry of history that envelops this iconic site. Guided by our knowledgeable companion, we couldn't help but heed the whispered refrain to "feel the magic" – and indeed, we did.



Embracing the vibrant rhythms of Spanish life, retiring early wasn't on the agenda. However, after a day filled with exploration and engagement, we welcomed a well-deserved rest, preparing ourselves for the conference ahead.

Saturday dawned with the gathering of 200 Spanish physiotherapists, a testament to the strides Spain has made in cancer care accessibility and quality, largely attributed to the national Cancer Strategy enacted in 2022. The sessions, led by esteemed scientific and clinical experts, delved into pivotal topics such as pelvic floor dysfunctions in cancer populations and the profound psychosocial burdens faced, underscoring the vital role of physiotherapists in holistic care.

Noteworthy was Prof. Kristin Campbell's update on the 2019 exercise guidelines for cancer patients, highlighting the burgeoning evidence supporting exercise's multifaceted benefits. Yet, despite its proven efficacy, integrating exercise into daily care remains a challenge across many cancer care settings, urging us to redouble efforts in raising awareness for its pivotal role.

Post-lunch, Lore and I had the privilege of sharing insights on pain management post-breast cancer treatment. We navigated through general and cancer-specific target concepts for pain science education, shedding light on our pilot study's results utilizing eHealth platforms. Expanding on this, we explored the potential synergies of integrating pain science education with behavioral change techniques to empower patients to manage their pain through an active lifestyle.


In an interactive dialogue with the audience, we delved deeper into the implementation nuances of pain science education, emphasizing the imperative of understanding pain from a biopsychosocial perspective to tailor care effectively.


As we concluded our discourse, we departed with the hope that our insights had ignited inspiration among our peers. Heartfelt gratitude resonates for the invitation extended, fostering collaborative exchange and collective growth in our shared pursuit of advancing cancer care.