Oncology Rehabilitation

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, Cheshire Medical Center's Oncology Rehabilitation team provides personalized treatment, from diagnosis through all phases of treatment. Our oncology rehabilitation specialists are certified by the Physiological Oncology Rehabilitation Institute (PORi).

Comprehensive support before, during, and after cancer treatment helps support healing and mental health or supports improved recovery outcomes. Early referral at diagnosis allows for a baseline assessment so our qualified team can tailor your treatment to your individual needs, including:

  • Rehabilitation after cancer-related surgery (breast, head and neck, etc.)
  • Swallowing and voice restoration
  • Radiation therapy management
  • Oncology four-phased exercise program
  • Management of cancer-related fatigue
  • Chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy
  • Chemo toxicity
  • Lymphedema risk reduction and management

Our qualified team includes:

  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Physical therapists and assistants
  • Occupational therapists
  • Registered dietitians

What to expect before starting treatment

Starting at diagnosis and prior to cancer treatment, your doctor will make a referral to our team.

Pre-rehabilitation allows our team to get to know you, your lifestyle, exercise, hobbies, and passions. Our goal is to get you back to these activities as seamlessly as possible.

We will gather baseline information, including measurements related to strength, balance, swallowing, speech, range of motion, and nutrition.

We will explain what to expect during your first few weeks at home after surgery, what to avoid, what to embrace, and recommended exercises tailored around your specific treatment and personal goals. This information helps you and your family or support system prepare for and adjust to changes.

Initial visit three weeks after treatment (surgery, radiation)

Your post-treatment assessment appointment typically takes 60 minutes. Your rehabilitation therapists will:

  • Take new measurements to compare to those prior to treatment
  • Inspect skin integrity, incisions, and swelling
  • Provide you with techniques to improve your range of motion and reduce swelling and pain
  • Review and adjust your home exercise and stretching program
  • Discuss if you are having trouble with any daily activities
  • Assess your functional limitations, including swallowing, pain, communication, nutrition, walking, balance, and endurance
  • Design a plan of treatment with you to meet your needs and goals

Your speech therapist may also recommend a swallowing evaluation.

Appointments during treatment

Your rehabilitation team will work together with you to:

  • Teach you techniques and exercises to manage symptoms
  • Continue to build strength for activities of daily living
  • Maximize the safe progression of an oral diet to meet your nutrition and hydration needs
  • Minimize the long-term effects of chemotherapy and radiation
  • Optimize recovery of your lymphatic system to mitigate and reduce the risk of lymphedema
  • Reduce pain
  • Increase your range of motion
  • Recover your cardiovascular health
  • Teach you the warning signs and symptoms of stressing your lymphatic system

Long-term rehabilitation plan

Over time, your rehabilitation team will work together with you to:

  • Optimize your range of motion, strength, and function to return to your prior level of activities
  • Restore your aerobic capacities
  • Maintain a healthy weight and meet your nutritional needs
  • Optimize your functional communication and safe swallowing