Cancer Rehabilitation

Restoring function and quality of life
There are nearly 17 million cancer survivors in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society, and most have undergone surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and/or other treatments. As a result, many must deal with a range of complex and painful side effects that can limit the ability to live well beyond cancer. Kessler Institute is here to help.
Adult male cancer patient walks on treadmill as part of cancer rehabilitation exercises

The Kessler difference

Cancer survivorship begins with diagnosis and continues throughout one’s lifetime. Our highly specialized Cancer Rehabilitation Program provides a safe and effective pathway to restore function and redefine your ability to move forward in life.

  • At Kessler Institute, we draw on the expertise of cancer rehabilitation specialists to help you manage your disease and overcome challenges.

    This inter-professional team is led by a physiatrist, a physician board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, and includes rehabilitation nurses; physical, occupational, respiratory and recreation therapists; speech language pathologists; psychologists; pharmacists; dietitians; case managers and other clinical and support staff, as needed. We also work closely with your oncologist, surgeon and other medical professionals.

  • Your Kessler Institute team coordinates treatment with your oncologist, surgeon and other medical practitioners to ensure care continuity that addresses your medical, physical and functional needs safely and effectively.
  • Kessler’s Cancer Rehabilitation Team tailors treatment to your individual challenges, limitations and concerns. Areas of focus include:

    • Musculoskeletal disorders joint, neck or back pain and/or limited range of motion
    • Neuromuscular disorders - nerve or muscle damage and loss of strength
    • Post-surgical pain, including post-mastectomy and post-thoracotomy syndromes
    • Radiation Fibrosis Syndrome, such as dropped head, inability to open the mouth, muscle spasms and contracted joints
    • Lymphedema
    • Bowel and bladder disorders
    • Difficulty speaking or swallowing
    • Fatigue
    • Balance or walking difficulties
    • Weakness
    • Memory loss or trouble concentrating
    • Acute and chronic pain
  • Treatment is designed to help you overcome challenges, manage concerns and achieve goals. Together, we work to:

    • Improve function
    • Build strength and endurance
    • Relieve pain and spasms
    • Increase balance and mobility
    • Improve memory, concentration and other cognitive skills
    • Improve speech and swallowing
    • Facilitate daily living activities
    • Decrease fatigue
    • Reduce lymphedema
    • Restore or maintain quality of life


    Most importantly, we provide you and your family with the understanding, support and education that can make a difference in life ahead.

  • From the time of your diagnosis through survivorship and palliative care, we are here to support you. We offer an unparalleled continuum of inpatient and outpatient services, including the nationally recognized ReVital Cancer Rehabilitation program.
  • Patients in Kessler Institute’s cancer rehabilitation program typically experience greater improvement during treatment and higher levels of independence upon discharge than individuals treated in other rehab settings. (eRehabData® 2019) They also express improved outlooks and better quality of life.
Man in red shirt wearing climbing gear giving thumbs up sign.
Our patients say it best
James' story
“It’s been life-changing. The doctors, therapists… everyone at Kessler has been top-notch. They provided me with the therapies I needed along with the special oral devices, strategies and support that have helped restore my health and, equally important, my hope.”

Your progress. Our program.

It’s important to remember that overcoming cancer’s challenges takes time. Every patient is different and your progress will depend on your diagnosis, rehabilitation needs, other medical factors and personal concerns. Kessler Institute’s specialized cancer rehabilitation services can help you reach your goals.

  • For more than 75 years, Kessler Institute has pioneered the field of medical rehabilitation. Today, we continue to provide advanced care and innovative treatment, including hands-on therapies and proven technologies that help each patient regain strength, restore skills and mobility and rebuild lives.
  • As one of the nation’s leading rehabilitation hospitals, Kessler Institute is committed to exploring new and innovative ways to improve function and quality of life for cancer survivors. Our research programs investigate the causes of and best treatments for cancer-related fatigue, cognitive dysfunction following chemotherapy (“chemobrain”), radiation fibrosis syndrome, nerve injury and other disorders associated with cancer and its treatment.
  • Some cancer survivors may need to use a wheelchair. Kessler’s physical and/or occupational therapists, who are also certified assistive technology professionals and/or seating and mobility specialists, will evaluate your physical and lifestyle needs. They use pressure mapping and other tools to find the best options for you.
  • Certain cancers interfere with the way a person thinks, behaves and functions. It may cause difficulties with memory, concentration, communication, speech, swallowing and/or vision. It may also result in problems walking or being able to perform basic tasks. Cognitive rehabilitation will provide the skills and strategies to overcome these challenges.
  • The ability to perform daily activities at home, work, school or in the community is critical to independence. Your therapy team may introduce a variety of electronic aids and other assistive technologies, such as advanced environmental controls, voice-activated systems, wireless headsets and other adaptive equipment that can help you manage these everyday tasks.
  • Preparing you and your family for life ahead is one of our primary goals. We provide extensive education to help you understand the challenges and opportunities of living with cancer and the strategies, resources and training to help. We also offer patient and family support groups where you’ll be able to discuss common concerns, share information and gain greater insight and encouragement.
  • To reinforce skills and restore your spirit, Kessler Institute’s specially trained Canine Companions for Independence* may be part of your therapy program. A number of our therapists work with these remarkable dogs to engage patients in a wide range of activities that support the rehabilitation process.

    *Not available at Kessler-Marlton

  • The ability to drive is an important part of being independent. For those who may need to refresh their skills, Kessler Institute’s certified driver rehabilitation specialists offer evaluation and training to help individuals drive safely. They will also discuss any modifications and/or adaptations that may need to be made to your car or van and guide you in the process of updating your license and taking the required road test.
cancer patient working with physical therapist
Cancer rehabilitation
“As a national leader in cancer rehabilitation, Kessler Institute continues to pioneer advanced interventions to best manage even the most complicated issues resulting from cancer or its treatment. We remain relentless in our mission: to help every survivor live well beyond cancer.” - Michael Stubblefield, M.D., director of cancer rehabilitation

Let us help

We will work closely with you, your family, your physician and/or the referring hospital to ensure a smooth transition to Kessler Institute for your rehabilitation.

Did you know?

The number of cancer survivors in the United States is expected to significantly increase over the next decade* thanks to early diagnosis, targeted treatment options and pioneering therapies. As a national leader in cancer rehabilitation, Kessler Institute is at the forefront of seeking ways to mitigate the short- and long-term consequences of this disease and improving our patients’ health and quality of life.
*American Cancer Society 2019.