Explore the Cancer Rehabilitation Program

Overview

Cancer and its treatments can make it harder for patients to function as they normally would and to perform everyday activities. The Mass General Cancer Center Rehabilitation Program helps patients regain physical abilities and maintain independence.

Expert, Personalized Care

Our program is personalized to meet a patient's individualized needs, and our experts aim to improve pain, function and quality of life at all levels of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Patients:

  • Meet with a doctor with specialized training in physical medicine and rehabilitation for an in-depth evaluation
  • Have access to a team of oncology therapists, including physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists
  • Receive advice/tips on daily living, adapting to changes, learn how to handle both temporary and long-term side effects

The program welcomes patients with a history of cancer who have any impairments due to their cancer diagnosis and/or treatment. These include:

  • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Lymphedema
  • Back pain from cancer, metastases or prior treatment for cancer
  • Arm, leg or joint pain from cancer, metastases or prior treatment for cancer
  • Neck or shoulder pain
  • Deconditioning, weakness and fatigue
  • Nerve dysfunction
  • Cognitive issues
  • Swallowing issues
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty opening the mouth (trismus)
  • Balance and gait difficulty
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Bladder incontinence
  • Sexual dysfunction

Goal: Improve Function and Quality of Life

The Mass General Cancer Center Rehabilitation Program strives to improve function and quality of life for each patient. Patients may ask their treatment team for a referral to the program, or patients can reach out directly to set up an appointment.

FAQs

What is cancer rehab?

Cancer and its treatments can make it harder for you to do activities or to function everyday as you normally would. Cancer rehabilitation, often referred to as cancer rehab, helps patients get their physical abilities back and maintain their independence.

How can the Mass General Cancer Center Rehabilitation Program help me?

Mass General Cancer Center has a rehab therapy program that can help you live your best. The program is personalized for you to meet your needs. You will:

  • Meet with a physiatrist, a doctor with training in physical medicine and rehabilitation, for an in-depth evaluation
  • Have access to a team of experienced oncology therapists, including physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists
  • Receive advice/tips on daily living, adapting to changes, learn how to handle both temporary and long-term side effects

The Cancer Rehabilitation Program strives to improve function and quality of life for each patient.

What can I expect at my appointment?

During your appointment, you will have a physical and health history review with your physiatrist to help create a management plan made just for you.

Depending on your needs, you may have additional testing such as tests of strength and balance, blood tests, and/or x-rays. Your physiatrist may also recommend a procedure such as an EMG (Electromyography) or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). These procedures will be fully explained to you.

Your physiatrist will also talk with you about any medications that may be prescribed for you.

How can I prepare for my appointment?

Write down any questions that you have and bring this list with you. It may be helpful to bring a friend or relative with you to help you remember information.

How can my physiatrist help me after this appointment?

Your physiatrist will refer you to other therapists who will all work together as a team. As part of your management plan, your physiatrist will be an on-going point of contact for you.

Is the Cancer Rehab program right for me? What are some issues the program can help me with?

The Cancer Rehab Program welcomes patients with a history of cancer who have any impairments due to their cancer diagnosis and/or treatment. Impairments can include:

  • Pain
    • Back, arm, leg or joint pain
    • Neck or shoulder pain
    • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Swelling
    • Lymphedema
  • Trouble functioning
    • Deconditioning, weakness and fatigue
    • Nerve dysfunction
    • Cognitive issues (memory, attention, thinking, language)
    • Trouble swallowing, speaking or opening your mouth
    • Mobility issues (trouble with walking, transfers, or balance)
    • Bowel incontinence
    • Bladder incontinence
    • Sexual dysfunction
    • Trouble with activities of daily living

Talk to your treatment team if you are experiencing any other problems not listed here.

How can I get involved?

Provider Referrals: Ask your treatment team for a referral to the Cancer Rehab Program.

Self-Referrals: You can also reach out directly.


Patient Education and Resources

Cancer Rehabilitation Program Flyer

Cancer Rehabilitation Program Flyer

Download the Cancer Rehabilitation Program Flyer.

Lifestyle Medicine Clinic

Lifestyle Medicine Clinic

Learn about the Cancer Center's Lifestyle Medicine Clinic.

Exercise Videos

Exercise Videos

These exercises videos can be used as single workouts or as part of a fitness plan.

Supportive Care

Supportive Care

We offer a variety of education and support resources to help you and your family.

Workshops & Support Groups

Workshops & Support Groups

We offer a wide range of integrative therapies, workshops and support groups.