Woman raising hands

Expert Rehab and Wellness Care at Providence St. Jude Medical Center

At many cancer centers, care ends with the last treatment—but at St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute and St. Jude Medical Center, our unique cancer rehabilitation program offer patients the physical and emotional support they need to regain their quality of life both during and after treatment.

2253.9 miles away
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Expert Rehab and Wellness Care at Providence St. Jude Medical Center

At many cancer centers, care ends with the last treatment—but at St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute and St. Jude Medical Center, our unique cancer rehabilitation program offer patients the physical and emotional support they need to regain their quality of life both during and after treatment.

2253.9 miles away
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Moving Beyond Cancer: Rehabilitation and Wellness

Woman walking forward down a path holding husband's hand.The end of treatment can be both exciting and stressful, bringing equal parts celebration and worry. You may find life returns to what you knew before you had cancer, but for others, the physical and emotional changes don’t all disappear with the last treatment.

Physical side effects, such as fatigue, lack of stamina, difficulty focusing, or incontinence, can last for months after treatment ends. Emotional effects, including fear of a cancer re-occurrence, dying young or leaving things undone, can create ongoing anxiety or depression. Tackling these issues is often easier with the help of experts.

Giving you the physical and emotional support you need to regain your quality of life is what our Cancer Rehabilitation and Wellness Program is all about. One of the few programs of its kind in the state, we successfully help cancer survivors—whether living with cancer, in remission, or cured—recover more completely and quickly. For more information on how this program can help you, please call 714-578-8753.

It’s not just during treatment that you will need to lean on others for strength and comfort. Find sources of support from family, friends, church groups or a counselor. Equally important, join a cancer support group. It can be extremely helpful to share experiences and give and take advice from other cancer survivors. Whether a formal support group, church friends, or a counselor, make sure you have a place to go with concerns.

If you find yourself feeling anxious or worried, going it alone will only make your sense of distress stronger. Being able to talk about your fears with friends, family and other cancer survivors is a good starting point for effective coping. If you need help finding the necessary support, talk to one of our oncology social workers, our spiritual care team, or your priest or pastor.

Regardless of how active you were prior to diagnosis, exercise after cancer treatment can improve your fitness, increase muscle strength, reduce fatigue, lessen anxiety, and make you feel better about yourself. There is some evidence that a healthy weight, eating right, and being physically active can help reduce the risk of cancer reoccurring as well as other serious chronic diseases.

The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors take these steps:

  • Take part in regular physical activity
  • Avoid inactivity and return to normal daily activities as soon as possible
  • Exercise at least 150 minutes per week
  • Include strength training exercises at least two days per week.

Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. This is especially important if your treatment affected your lungs, your heart, or if you are at risk for lung or heart disease. If you were inactive before cancer treatment, you may need to start slowly, such as a short, brisk walk.

Be sure you understand what you can and can’t do - and get help. While some people can safely begin or maintain their own exercise program, many will have better results with support. We offer experts in exercise and rehabilitation who specialize in helping cancer survivors get active. Our Cancer Rehabilitation and Wellness Program will help you find the type of exercise that’s right for you and offer the support and encouragement you need. Call us at 714-578-8753.

One of the best things you can do after treatment is put healthy eating habits into place. Try to eat five or more servings of vegetables and fruits every day. Choose whole grain foods instead of white flour and sugars. Replace red meat with fish and chicken. Stay away from hydrogenated oils and saturated fats, and choose healthy fats like olive oil and avocados. Cut back on processed meats like hot dogs, deli meats and bacon, and stock up on beans, nuts and seeds.

Eating a nutrient-rich diet with plenty of fish, fruits and vegetables can help you feel better and improve your health. If needed, it can also help you lose weight. Obesity is linked with a higher risk of developing some cancers, so use regular exercise and nutritious meals to get to a healthy weight.

If treatment side effects, such as loss of appetite, changes in taste, or nausea, are getting in the way, try eating small meals every two hours and talk to your doctor, or our oncology-certified registered dietitian, about how to maximize your nutrition. At no charge, our experienced dietitian will help you meet your individual goals.

A free class and support group is also available - called Journey to Health - which provides education and camaraderie for those who have completed treatment and want to improve their health and manage their weight. To join, or to schedule a free appointment with our registered dietitian, please call 714-446-5982.

For years after treatment ends, you’ll see your doctor for follow-up. Ask for and write down a proposed schedule for follow-up visits and the recommended testing to monitor your recovery. You’ll also want to know what signs to look for to detect a cancer reoccurrence as early as possible and to recognize any long-term side effects of treatment. For example, if you received a medication that might affect your bone density, find out how your bones can be monitored in the future and what treatments are available.

These check-ups and follow-up tests or scans are an important part of maintaining your health and a chance for you to talk to your doctor about new questions or issues. Yet it’s normal to feel anxious before appointments.

To help with the anxiety, write down any questions you have about symptoms, emotional aspects of survivorship, or even practical issues. Ask a friend or family member to sit with you while you wait for your scans or go with you to doctors’ visits. In the days before your appointment, schedule activities that can help distract you from worrying, such as an exercise class and having lunch with a friend. Talk to your doctor or one of our oncology social workers about how you can get help if your anxiety persists or becomes overwhelming.

For many, there is the ever-present thought that at any moment, a scan or test may move them from survivorship right back into active cancer treatment. While that fear is completely normal, the unique challenge facing survivors is to get on with living, celebrate the joys of the present, and recognize when you need help - and ask for it.

Celebrate milestones, such as the anniversary of the end of chemotherapy, the date of your cancer diagnosis, or the anniversary of the surgery to treat your cancer. Consider volunteering for a non-profit organization or a cancer mentoring program, or get involved in your church’s outreach or mission efforts - find something meaningful to add to your life.

If you find yourself overwhelmed with anxiety or worry and unable to move forward in your life, get help from one of our oncology social workers, a counselor, or your priest or pastor.

One of the few programs of its kind in the nation, our patients benefit from a multidisciplinary team of oncology rehabilitation experts—including physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, dietitians, recreation therapists, and social workers—allowing us to meet the specific needs of each individual.

We combine evidence-based cancer rehabilitation practices with an innovative list of services to address side effects and symptoms, from incontinence and depression to pain and fatigue. The result is our patients recover their energy, well-being, and quality of life more completely and more quickly.

Our services are covered by most insurance plans; if your insurance doesn’t cover rehabilitation services, we offer financial assistance to make this program available to every cancer patient, from the newly diagnosed to survivors.

We combine evidence-based cancer rehabilitation practices with an innovative list of services to address side effects and symptoms, from incontinence and depression to pain and fatigue. These services include: 

  • Exercise therapy for weakness, fatigue or decreased balance resulting from chemotherapy, surgery or radiation therapy 
  • Emotional support to help overcome depression or anxiety, including fear of a cancer reoccurrence
  • Speech pathology and swallowing therapy to help regain function after head and neck cancer surgery
  • Physical and occupational therapy to increase endurance and build tolerance for resuming daily activities
  • Pelvic floor rehabilitation to successfully overcome incontinence, pelvic pain and core muscle weakness, particularly for those treated for prostate, colorectal, urological and gynecological cancers
  • Practical support from oncology social workers who can help with issues ranging from state and federal disability to community resources
  • Nutrition counseling to help create optimal nutrition during treatment and recovery, as well as help address specific issues such as loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Lymphedema assessment and therapy for breast cancer patients
  • Vocational rehabilitation to help you regain the skills and endurance needed to return to work or school
  • Audiology consults for chemotherapy-related hearing impairment
  • Support groups to provide the comradery and encouragement of others walking the same journey
  • Spiritual support to help engage faith as a source of comfort and joy 

Why Choose Us for Your Cancer Care?

We know that every patient is unique. No two patients – or their treatment plans – are the same. This is why we take a highly personalized approach to your cancer care and we always put our patients first. Our expert clinicians work with you to develop a specialized treatment plan that fits your personal needs, because we know this results in the best outcomes. And, of course, you receive the cutting-edge treatment and compassionate care Providence is known for.

As our patient, you and your loved ones are supported by an entire care team throughout your treatment journey. Our board-certified medical oncologists use the most advanced techniques in your diagnosis and treatment. They work closely with an extensive team that includes nurse navigators, specialists and other caregivers who provide a range of support services – from prevention and education to nutrition, integrative medicine and counseling.

Learn more about the experts who make up our multidisciplinary cancer care teams.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, but access to great cancer care hasn’t always been the same for everyone. At Providence, we are deeply committed to making sure every patient we treat has access to the best cancer care. We value, respect and support the racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual and spiritual identities of each member of our diverse communities, and we never turn a patient away. Instead, we work harder to make sure every patient is treated equally and with dignity – whoever you are, and wherever you're at.

When you become a patient at Providence, you become part of a collaborative cancer-care network that often exceeds national measures for patient outcomes. This network includes award-winning physicians, scientists, researchers and caregivers across 51 hospitals in seven states. The power of this network, combined with the expertise of your local team, means you’re getting the best, most compassionate care. And if you need to meet with a specialist outside your area, we’ve got telehealth technology to help. Our network is one of the reasons 50,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients choose Providence each year.

Providence cancer research provides options, and hope, for patients seeking advanced therapies. We’re proud of our history of groundbreaking firsts and pioneering clinical trials: Providence led the international trial of the first immunotherapy to be approved for patients with melanoma. We conducted the first successful gene-engineered T-cell therapy for metastatic pancreatic cancer. And we have over 90 years of radiation research. As a Providence patient, you have the opportunity to participate in – or benefit from – one of over 1,300 new clinical trials that begin each year.

The Power of Our Network

Part of the Providence Cancer Institute of Orange County

From diagnosis to recovery and beyond, we’re with our patients every step of the way. We’ve integrated three nationally accredited cancer programs – Mission, St. Joseph and St. Jude – to provide you with:

  • Board-certified cancer specialists who collaborate across locations to provide convenient, connected care close to your home or work.
  • Innovative screening that can detect more than 50 types of cancer through a single blood draw.
  • Patient navigators for each cancer type who will help you manage your treatment and find the resources you need.

Learn More About the Providence Cancer Institute of Orange County

Doctor sitting with patient
Senior woman looking hopeful as she gazes out window

Find Clinical Trials

Are you looking for a clinical trial for yourself or for a patient? We’d love to help you find one!

Patient Stories

Because of the Sister's overall mission, which my wife and I shared, we knew that we would always insist on all our medical needs at their St. Jude ... Read Manny's full story
Manuel "Manny" C.
The care that [my husband] has received since the first time was beyond amazing. That really doesn't describe it. The nurses he had were outstanding ... Read Evelyn's full story
Evelyn H.
I will be hitting 7 years cancer free in October. I cannot convey enough how wonderful the staff at St. Jude was from the first day I went in ... Read Kristina's full story
Kristina S.