Cancer Rehab for Patients and Survivors

at Community Medical Center

Oncology Rehab - therapist helping patient 3

The Oncology Rehabilitation Program at Community Medical Center is available to all cancer patients and survivors, whether you are newly diagnosed, currently undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, have had surgery, or are finished with cancer treatment.

We are committed to helping you live your best life and getting you back to the daily activities that are most important to you.

Many cancer patients and survivors experience effects from treatment including cancer fatigue, weakness, poor endurance, emotional reactivity and more.

An experienced staff of physical, occupational and speech-language therapists delivers individualized care to meet the needs of cancer patients, based on health issues resulting from the cancer or from cancer treatment. Our Oncology Rehabilitation Program and team approach will help decrease pain and frustration and allow you to regain your independence with a customized plan to address and treat your symptoms.

Occupational Therapy for Oncology Patients

Helping cancer patients return to activities of daily living following diagnosis and treatment is the focus of occupational therapy, whose goal is to maximize an individual’s functional capabilities, and promote independence and safe functioning in self-care.

Patients with a diagnosis of any type of cancer often suffer a decrease in their ability to perform hygiene activities (washing and dressing), as well as decreased functional mobility, decreased ability and a decreased tolerance for activities.

Occupational therapy helps cancer patients learn new ways of performing activities, including the use of assistive devices to increase the ability to carry through with these activities. Each treatment plan and session is tailored to the patient’s needs, desired outcomes and capabilities.

Instruction in energy conservation techniques and family education are also provided in order to assist patients in independent living upon their return home.

Community Medical Center boasts a team of well-seasoned occupational therapists who possess expertise that spans the continuum of care – from having up to 20 years of experience in acute care to being highly skilled in home care and outpatient services.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy for cancer patients is geared toward improving functional mobility and the ability to ambulate, as well as increased endurance for activities in daily living.

An important component of individualized therapy is patient and family education in reducing pain and discomfort through instruction in positioning techniques, as well as pressure and pain relief. Exercise is incorporated into the plan of care to optimize a patient’s strength for activity, as well as the use of assistive devices as appropriate in all therapeutic regimens.

Community Medical Center has one of the largest physical therapy staffs in acute care in New Jersey. Services are provided seven days a week by experienced therapists who specialize in geriatrics, pediatrics, lymphedema treatment, vestibular dysfunction, as well as wound care.

Speech Therapy for Disorders Caused by Cancer or Cancer Treatment

Swallowing Program

Community Medical Center’s Department of Rehabilitation Services provides a full range of services for the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of dysphagia — difficulty in swallowing that may affect a person’s ability to manage saliva, liquids or food. People with cancer of the head and neck may have this problem.

Dysphagia, pronounced “dis FAY jee uh,” can be related to problems in the mouth (oral dysphagia), throat (pharyngeal dysphagia), esophagus (esophageal dysphagia) or a combination of these locations.

At Community, speech-language pathologists are specially skilled in a variety of techniques and exercises that are tailored to a person’s particular swallowing problems.

Following a full dysphagia evaluation, which may include a videofluoroscopic swallowing study performed in conjunction with a radiologist, treatment may consist of therapeutic exercises, diet texture changes and/or the use of compensatory strategies to facilitate safe, efficient swallowing and the maintenance of adequate nutrition.

VitalStim Therapy Program

VitalStim therapy is recommended for patients suffering from oropharyngeal dysphagia. People with dysphagia have difficulty in swallowing — a condition that can be as mild as swallowing foods and liquids to the complete inability to eat or drink anything by mouth. A large number of patients with head and neck cancer are affected by dysphagia.

Community Medical Center’s speech-language pathologists are certified in VitalStim — a Food and Drug Administration-approved therapy that uses specially designed electrodes applied to the throat muscles in the front of the neck to stimulate the inactive muscles and promote swallowing.

This is not a painful procedure. Specially trained VitalStim-certified speech therapists work with patients to help "re-educate" the muscles that have been affected.

Lymphedema Program

The Lymphedema Program offers a comprehensive approach to care that focuses on early assessment and treatment. Our physical therapists are specially certified in lymphedema treatment to help improve function and prevent long-term complications. Learn more about the lymphedema program.

Oncology Rehab - therapist helping patient 4Our Multidisciplinary Team

The team of oncology rehabilitation experts at Community Medical Center can address multiple aspects of your health to help you get stronger faster. Our team of specialists include:

  • Lymphedema Specialist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Social Worker
  • Medical Oncologist
  • Oncology Specialist
  • Speech-Language Therapist
  • Nurse Navigator

For more information about cancer rehabilitation at Community Medical Center, call 732-557-8046.

Patient Stories

  • “I pray for good outcomes and that everything will go well—and so far, it has.”

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  • “For people who are going through what I’m going through, I want them to not be afraid, to feel empowered and to remain confident about the possibilities in life.”

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  • “Consider stepping outside of your comfort zone and make a stretch gift that is meaningful to you.”

    Rolando “Roly”
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Patient Stories

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