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What is Cancer Rehabilitation?

For people with cancer, cancer rehabilitation helps them obtain the best physical, psychological, social, and work-related functioning during and after cancer treatment. The goal is to help a person with cancer remain independent and productive and to regain control over many aspects of their lives. Cancer rehabilitation can help improve physical strength; help the person with cancer become more independent and adjust to actual, perceived, and potential losses due to cancer and cancer treatment; help reduce sleep problems; and help lower the number of hospitalizations. Depending on the cancer center or hospital, cancer rehabilitation services may include patient and family education and counseling, pain management, nutritional counseling, exercise programs, smoking cessation education and support programs, and assistance with activities of daily living. The cancer rehabilitation team may include an oncologist, physiatrist, rehabilitation nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, recreational therapist, dietitian, psychologist/psychiatrist, social worker, home-health aide, and vocational counselor.

If you are looking for centers that provde cancer rehabilitation, you can search in:

  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (Carf, International): visit or call 520/318-1044 or 888/281-6531.
  • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO): visit or call 630/792-5000.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: visit or call 800/633-4227.

The NRH Field Guide to Choosing a High Quality Medical Rehabilitation Program is a great resource to help you evaluate rehabilitation facilities and choose the right program for you. An option is to look for centers that are STAR certified. Learn more about the STAR program and Dr. Julie Silver's story.