Carolinas HealthCare System

Blumenthal Cancer Center partners with Carolinas Rehabilitation to provide our patients with cancer rehabilitation services. Cancer rehabilitation is a physician-supervised program for people who have undergone treatment for cancer. People who have survived cancer may have physical, emotional and social issues that affect their quality of life, no matter what kind of cancer they have been treated for. Cancer rehabilitation programs can often improve function, reduce pain and improve the well-being of cancer survivors.

Our collaborative cancer rehabilitation program is designed to meet the needs of the individual patient, depending upon the specific type of cancer and treatment. Active involvement of the patient and family is vital to the success of the program.

The goal of our program is to help patients return to the highest level of function and independence possible, while improving the overall quality of life - physically, emotionally and socially. These goals are often met by:

  • managing pain
  • improving bowel and bladder function
  • improving nutritional status
  • improving physical conditioning, endurance and exercise performance
  • improving social, cognitive, emotional and vocational status
  • reducing hospitalizations

In order to help reach these goals, cancer rehabilitation programs may include:

  • using medications and pain management techniques to reduce pain
  • exercise programs to help build strength and endurance
  • patient and family education and counseling
  • activities to improve mobility (movement) and decrease sleep problems
  • assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, handwriting, cooking and basic housekeeping
  • smoking cessation
  • stress, anxiety and depression management
  • nutritional counseling
  • management of chronic illness or complications due to cancer treatments
  • vocational counseling

Keeping consistent with each patient's needs, the staff of Carolinas Rehabilitation oncology program works together with Blumenthal Cancer Center in developing a discharge plan for patients. This may consist of aggressive outpatient or home therapy services, outpatient community based programs or supportive care within the home such as hospice or palliative care.

Lymphedema Program

Lymphedema is a very common side effect of cancer and cancer treatments where an accumulation of lymphatic fluid causes swelling, most often in the arms or legs. Lymphedema can develop when lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired, or when lymph vessels are damaged or lymph nodes removed. If left untreated, lymphedema can cause reduced oxygen availability to tissues, interfere with healing, and can increase the prevalence of infections.

Carolinas Rehabilitation has both occupational therapists (OT) and physical therapists (PT) specially trained and certified in lymphedema treatment.

Treatment of Lymphedema

Physical and occupational therapists at Carolinas Rehabilitation are currently utilizing Complete Decongestive Therapy to treat lymphedema. The treatment consists of four parts including manual lymph drainage, skin care, exercise and compression bandaging. Patients are instructed to manage lymphedema on their own using these techniques. Once the edema has been reduced, use of compression garments is needed to maintain the smaller limb size.

You don't have to accept the discomfort of lymphedema. Carolinas Rehabilitation can help you manage your symptoms and control swelling and pain. For more information on the Cancer Rehabilitation program or the Lymphedema Program, please call 1-877-REHAB51 (1-877-734-2251).