Conditions & Treatments

Cancer Rehabilitation

Patient and nurse

Cancer rehabilitation services within the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network bring specialized expertise in rehabilitation to you and your family. We offer multiple levels of services to meet your needs, including a variety of cancer rehabilitation outpatient programs and physician services as well as intensive inpatient rehabilitation.

In all our programs, our goal is the same: to provide specialty care to meet your needs to improve your function and quality of life.  Advances in understanding cancer, coupled with advances in medical interventions and rehabilitation techniques, offer new opportunities for you.  Cancer is a complex disease that affects each individual differently. Our customized outpatient and inpatient treatments address every aspect of the disease, including medication needs, psychological aspects, and family support. We customize our treatments based on your medical and rehabilitation needs, goals and circumstances.

Outpatient Cancer Rehabilitation

The Spaulding Outpatient Center Boston is known for providing world-class rehabilitative and medical care to a variety of patient types.  Improvements in oncology research and treatment have resulted in patients living longer after a cancer diagnosis. Cancer itself and many of the treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, can result in disabling conditions. Rehabilitation experts aim to improve pain, function and quality of life at all levels of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The field of cancer rehabilitation aims to address all types of impairments from cancer and cancer treatments. Some common oncology-related impairments may include:

  • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Lymphedema
  • Back pain from cancer, metastases or prior treatment for cancer
  • Arm, leg or joint pain from cancer, metastases or prior treatment for cancer
  • Neck or shoulder pain
  • Deconditioning, weakness and fatigue
  • Nerve dysfunction
  • Cognitive issues
  • Swallowing issues
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty opening the mouth (trismus)
  • Balance and gait difficulty
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Bladder incontinence
  • Sexual dysfunction

Inpatient Cancer Rehabilitation

The Spaulding Hospital Cambridge Cancer Rehabilitation Program uniquely incorporates inpatient rehabilitation with primary medical and specialty care to meet the needs of cancer patients. Specialty treatment includes chemotherapy, blood product replacement, infusion therapy, pain management, treatment of radiation-related symptoms, nutrition, and wound management.

Inpatient program components may include:

  • Comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s medical status
  • Medical consultation with acute care providers as needed
  • 24-hour nursing care with a focus on medication management
  • Nutrition counseling and support
  • Coordinated transportation for radiation treatments and oncology follow-up appointments
  • Counseling and support for patients and families
  • Palliative care support as needed


Clinical Expertise

Spaulding’s Cancer Rehabilitation Programs collaborate closely with various cancer specific hospitals in the Boston area, including Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, to provide the highest level of interdisciplinary care for outpatient cancer patients and survivors. By combining state-of-the-art rehabilitative medicine with specialized cancer services, Spaulding is setting a new standard in cancer treatment and survivorship care.

Sasha Knowlton, MD is an Instructor and the Assistant Director of Cancer Rehabilitation in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Knowlton provides cancer rehabilitation services for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She also treats non-cancer patients for musculoskeletal conditions. Following her residency in PM&R at Harvard Medical School and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, she completed a fellowship in cancer rehabilitation at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Julie Silver, MD, is an Associate Professor, Associate Chair and Director of Cancer Rehabilitation in the Department of PM&R at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Silver is a leading national and international authority on cancer rehabilitation and prehabilitation and has published extensively in the field.

Spaulding Outpatient Center Boston offers a customized and unique combination of cancer rehabilitation programs that includes physical, occupational and speech therapy, an assistive technology clinic and group exercise pool classes and programs. Acupuncture and massage therapy are also available for cancer rehabilitation patients at specific Spaulding Outpatient Centers listed below.



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Inpatient: 1.617.952.5350

Outpatient: 1.888.SRN.4330

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