Programs & Services at Sterling Regional MedCenter  

Oncology Rehab


Sterling Regional MedCenter offers a state-of-the-art program in oncology rehab individually tailored for our cancer patients.

What is oncology rehab?

Cancer treatment can be both physically and mentally challenging.  Each patient’s experience is different and each patient faces unique side effects. 

Sterling Regional MedCenter’s oncology rehab program provides specialized treatments to cancer patients including a thorough evaluation to access baseline values (endurance, strength, flexibility and range of motion) which will help us to create the appropriate program for you. 

Our program also offers lymphedema services provided by our certified lymphedema specialist.  Consultations with a speech language pathologist, dietician, occupational therapist and other ancillary services are available if needed.  

The outpatient oncology rehab program at Sterling Regional assists individuals with cancer move past the challenges of their diagnosis.  Each session is  designed to address individual patient needs and  provides extensive education to assist in your recovery. 

What are the common side effects of cancer therapy?

  • Fatigue:  extremely disruptive to the patient’s quality of life
    72-95 percent of patients receiving cancer  treatment
  • Lymphedema: swelling (collection of lymph  fluid) that occurs secondary to a blockage in the lymphatic system.
  • Balance Deficits
  • Musculoskeletal Problems
    • Low back pain, neck pain, joint pain and postural deficits
  • Pain:  May be induced by cancer treatments
    • Somatic pain—dull and throbbing
    • Neuropathic pain—sharp and shooting
  • Body Image Problems:  Loss of hair, loss of body part, weight gain/weight loss, lymphedema, scarring 
  • Physiological Mechanisms: Can contribute to fatigue
    • Gastrointestinal toxicity: secondary to diarrhea, vomiting, decreased/loss of  appetite
    • Neurotoxicity: impaired function of the nervous system leading to slowed motor function
    • Cardiotoxicity: secondary to impaired function of the heart
    • Pulmonary toxicity: secondary to impaired function of the lungs
    • Hepatotoxicity/Nephrotoxicity: secondary to impaired function of the liver and kidneys respectively
    • Red blood cell (RBC) damage:  leads to decreased oxygen delivery to active  muscles
  • Psychological Factors: Vary from patient to patient and can contribute to fatigue
    • Depression, anxiety, mood-swings, stress, worry
  • Cognitive Changes
    • Difficulty thinking, decreased attention, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate
  • Sleep Disturbances: Can be related to physical and/or psychological factors

Who benefits from oncology rehab?

Chemotherapy, radiation and surgical patients can all benefit from an exercise program, whether it is early in the stages of your diagnosis, halfway through your treatment or at the end of your cancer therapy. 

What are the benefits of exercise on cancer recovery?

Along with receiving the appropriate treatments, cancer survivorship should focus on overall fitness, strength, flexibility and prevention of recurrence. Often times cancer patients who are experiencing extreme fatigue and muscle weakness are told by health care providers, family members and friends to get a lot of rest, but in fact, excess rest for cancer patients can result in INCREASED fatigue and physiological deterioration. 

Research has shown that exercise helps to decrease or even eliminate the side effects patients experience during their cancer therapy and improve many factors including:

  • Fatigue
  • Balance
  • Pain
  • Muscle strength
  • Muscle endurance
  • Range of motion
  • Postural awareness
  • Body composition
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Self-esteem
  • Happiness
  • Numerous components of quality of life

Because each patient has specific needs and will  respond to exercise differently, it is important to customize each program individually. 

Sterling Regional MedCenter
615 Fairhurst St.
Sterling, CO 80751
(970) 522-0122
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