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Oncology Rehabilitation Services at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services
By Amy Cline

Oncology patients have unique health needs throughout treatment and survivorship, but most people don't realize that physical rehabilitation can be an important way to find relief from side effects during their cancer journey. Therapists at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services offer specialized rehabilitation programs to help cancer patients increase strength and build endurance.

While oncologists manage your cancer treatment, rehabilitation therapists can monitor and manage problems that may be incurred such as:

  • Balance disturbances 
  • Bone health concerns 
  • Difficulties with activities of daily living
  • Fatigue 
  • Incontinence 
  • Joint pain
  • Memory problems
  • Numbness in hands or feet 
  • Pain 
  • Swallowing difficulties 
  • Swelling
  • Walking difficulties

"In order to help reduce pain and fatigue, your physical therapist will work with you to develop an individualized exercise program to meet your specific needs," says Hallie Zeleznik, DPT, assistant director of outpatient neurorehabilitation, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services. "These exercises will help you return to a more active lifestyle."

An occupational therapy evaluation can identify your individual problem areas in strength, coordination, and endurance currently hindering your ability to manage activities of daily living.

Following cancer treatment, you may experience memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, a sense of disorganization, slower thought processing, or trouble recalling common words. UPMC Centers for Rehab Services also has speech-language pathologists that can help with cognition, speech, and swallowing.

"By undergoing an evaluation process, we will be able to pinpoint problem areas and determine which types of therapy you'll need," says Hallie. "Reducing your pain and helping you get back to typical activities of daily living, while ensuring your nutritional and hydration needs are met, are of the utmost importance to us."

For more information about oncology rehabilitation services, visit UPMC.com/4CRS or call 1-888-723-4CRS (4277).

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