Oncology Rehabilitation Services

UPMC Centers for Rehab Services recognizes that oncology patients have unique health needs throughout treatment and survivorship. Our highly trained therapists provide specialized rehabilitation programs to help you increase strength and build endurance, to help you find relief from side effects during your cancer journey.

While your oncologists manage your cancer treatment, CRS therapists can monitor and manage problems you may incur such as:

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

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists evaluate strength, flexibility, mobility and endurance, while keeping your functional goals in mind. Individualized exercise programs are prescribed to reduce pain and fatigue, helping you return to a more active lifestyle. Physical therapists are also able to help you address the following problems:

Balance and Dizziness

Balance, dizziness, and walking difficulties are commonly reported during and after cancer treatment. Our therapists can help you regain your confidence and ability to move around and negotiate your home and community safely.

Learn more about our balance and vestibular rehabilitation program.


Swelling related to cancer may occur during or long after initial cancer treatment and may be found in the limbs, trunk, head, and neck. This abnormal collection of fluid in the soft tissues due to lymph vessel blockage or lymph node removal can result in pain, tightness, or heaviness. Therapists help to reduce swelling and teach long-term management.

Learn more about our lymphedema management program.

Incontinence and Pelvic Pain

Some individuals may experience internal or external pelvic pain, sexual difficulty, incontinence, or bowel irregularity from scar tissue, muscle spasm, or weakness caused by cancer treatments. Physical therapists can help reduce these symptoms with exercises, gentle myofascial techniques, and education.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy addresses your ability to perform vital everyday activities. An occupational therapy evaluation will identify your individual problem areas in strength, coordination, and endurance currently hindering your ability to manage your work environment, family, and home. Treatment will be tailored to meet your needs with the ultimate goal of returning to previous lifestyle choices.

Learn more about our occupational therapy program.

Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy

Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), more commonly known as the McKenzie Method, is a system of musculoskeletal care emphasizing patient empowerment and self-treatment. The McKenzie Method focuses on three areas: assessment, treatment, and prevention. This method allows the therapist ​to develop an appropriate and safe exercise program based on the patient’s responses during the assessment. MDT is a reliable and practical approach, focusing on the patient’s needs.

Speech Therapy

Cognition and Speech

Following cancer treatment, our speech therapists evaluate symptoms you may experience including memory lapses, difficulty concentrating and multitasking, a sense of disorganization, slower thought processing, or trouble recalling common words. A speech therapy evaluation and treatment plan will pinpoint problem areas and assist you in regaining skills currently interfering with your activities of daily living.

Learn more about our speech therapy services.


Throat and chest cancer and treatment may cause coughing, drooling, “wet, gurgly” vocalization, or unsafe swallowing patterns. Our speech therapists work with other specialists to improve swallowing skills so that oral intake is safe and the amount is appropriate for nutritional and hydration needs.​​​

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Check out the blog post​ ​How Oncology Rehab Provides Relief for Cancer Patients on UPMC HealthBeat to learn even more about oncology rehabilitation!

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