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Cancer Rehabilitation Program

Physical Therapy Room

Recovering from Cancer

Cancer, and the treatment of cancer, can cause significant physical and cognitive problems for patients -- including those with active cancer and people who have not had treatment for years. This can include pain, weakness, fatigue, clouded thinking, problems walking, problems returning to work, and many more.

Fortunately, the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center offers comprehensive rehabilitation services for people with a history of cancer to maintain and restore quality of life, function, and overall well-being.

Dr. Sean Smith is the medical director of the Cancer Rehabilitation Program.

What is Cancer Rehabilitation?

Cancer Rehabilitation is a team-based, sometimes comprehensive approach to helping people get their lives back on track before, during, and after cancer treatment. Since everyone has a unique medical history, you will be given an individualized plan to help you recover from symptoms associated with cancer.

Typically, this begins at a clinic visit with a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) physician -- sometimes called a physiatrist -- but can also include many other team members. Your rehabilitation physician will also help you to get to any other providers that may be able to help.

What problems can rehabilitation help with?

Listen as Dr. Sean Smith, director of cancer rehabilitation talks about the importance after treatment to not only help with maintaining strength but also as a form of pain management. Or, read/download the cancer rehabilitation transcript.

  • Joint pain
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain and cramps
  • Neuropathy
  • Muscle weakness and pain
  • Fibrosis from radiation and/or surgery
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • General conditioning
  • Lymphedema
  • Late effects of radiation therapy
  • Cognitive impairment ("Chemobrain" and others)
  • Bowel and bladder problems
  • Depression and anxiety as it relates to changes in your physical or cognitive function
  • Jaw opening problems
  • . . . And many more!
Black woman lifting her arms with the help of a physical therapist in a gym-like setting

Rehabilitation Team Members

Every patient requires a unique approach. These are some of the team members that may be involved in your care:

  • Physiatrist (physician board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation)
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physical therapist
  • Speech-language pathologist
  • Rehabilitation psychologist/Neuropsychologist
  • Orthotist
  • Prosthetist
  • Social worker
  • Nurses and nurse navigators
  • Exercise physiologist

Make an Appointment for Cancer Rehabilitation!

Patients are seen as part of the Symptom Management and Supportive Care Clinic.

Contact Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department: 734-936-7175 and ask to be seen by a Cancer Rehabilitation physician.