pediatric art therapy
Art Therapy with a pediatric patient.

Cancer Rehabilitation Services - A Regional and National Resource

A critical part of many cancer patients’ continuum of care is rehabilitation. Providing the highest level of rehabilitative care to the network’s cancer patients is MedStar National Rehabilitation Network, one of the leading rehabilitation providers in the United States, which has ranked among the best in the country for more than 20 years by U.S.News & World Report. It also has one of the few specialized rehabilitation programs for people with all types and stages of cancer.

“We have a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach,” says Eric Wisotzky, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who directs the program. “It’s very important to offer cancer patients rehabilitation management throughout the entire continuum of their care. Our goal is to maximize every patient’s ability to get back to life, to a job or a family, or whatever is most important.”

How We Can Help

  • Are you experiencing pain, fatigue, or having difficulty completing daily tasks?
  • Having difficulty speaking or swallowing?
  • Are you experiencing other challenges that might be affecting your quality of life?
    • Without the right support, cancer-related problems can extend beyond initial care — occasionally from the disease itself, but more commonly from the side effects of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. We understand the challenges you are facing and we’re here for you.

The MedStar Cancer Rehabilitation team is passionate about helping you address these challenges, enabling you to positively impact your quality of life before and during your cancer treatments.

The involvement of rehabilitation will maximize the cancer survivor’s ability to gain endurance and mobility, and improve activities of daily living. In addition, highly skilled Rehabilitation specialists empower the cancer survivor to gain independence and maximize the quality of his or her life.

Do you need cancer rehabilitation?

Below are just a few of the many conditions/side effects that our therapists and physicians can help you conquer to get you back to feeling like yourself again.

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing foods or speaking
  • Trouble with balance or walking
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Reduced mental sharpness or ability to concentrate
  • Pain, tingling or numbness
  • Difficulty with mobility or completing daily activities

For many people, the Cancer Rehabilitation Program begins with a pre-treatment assessment that provides baseline information on a person’s physical status, as well as their goals and needs. The rehabilitation team may be comprised of physicians, physical and occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, psychologists, and nurses with specific experience and expertise in cancer. These professionals will assess the patient and provide and education on steps they can take to help prevent problems during and after treatment. The rehabilitation process continues throughout treatment and beyond, and encompasses pain management and, nutrition services, and stress management.

“Early intervention is crucial,” says Dr. Wisotzky. “We can identify issues that are likely to cause problems in the healing process and prevent many from occurring. We can also empower patients to do the things that will keep them as fit and functional as possible throughout the process. It’s really important to have an interdisciplinary approach that treats the whole person.”

One critical area for patients whose treatment affects either their upper or lower limbs is lymphedema management. The MedStar Georgetown Cancer Network offers a full range of cutting-edge approaches to identify potential problems early and restore maximum levels of function.

As cancer patients live longer and have better quality of lives, Dr. Wisotzky is seeing more patients referred for rehabilitation services at earlier points in their treatment process, but he emphasizes that to achieve the best outcomes, rehabilitation needs to be integrated into both the treatment and survivorship plans.

The Cancer Rehabilitation Program offers:

  • Comprehensive, interdisciplinary services to develop individualized treatment plans
  • Pretreatment assessments and patient education
  • Post-treatment assessment and follow up
  • Full lymphedema management services
  • Exercise and fitness programs
  • Pain management and integrative medicine
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Prosthetics and personal image options