STAR Program®: Comprehensive Cancer Rehab

What is Cancer Rehabilitation?

Cancer rehabilitation is very similar to other forms of rehabilitation after a serious illness or injury. As with the rehab of any other illness or injury, the goal of cancer rehab is to improve independence, decrease pain, and promote overall function regardless of the level of disability.

Missouri Baptist Medical Center’s STAR Program® (Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation) provides you with coordinated cancer rehab supported by a team of specially trained and certified clinicians and providers. The STAR Program® is a nationally recognized cancer survivorship certification that is focused on improving the lives of survivors who suffer from the side-effects caused by cancer treatments.

What can the STAR Program do for me?

Our STAR Program certified clinicians specialize in identifying common cancer-related rehab issues. Our physical occupational and speech therapists can help you with a variety of treatment related conditions and symptoms, including:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shoulder problems
  • Balance and gait problems
  • Scar tissue limitations
  • Memory and concentration issues
  • Swallowing and other speech problems
  • Lymphedema

Am I a candidate for Cancer Rehab?

If you have any problems that you didn’t have before your diagnosis, especially if they interfere with your ability to function or quality of life, you are a candidate for cancer rehab.

Seeking treatment early, at the fist sign of decline, may help lessen further deterioration during treatment. Before accepting a “new normal,” all patients should be given an opportunity to maximize their potential to heal. While some side effects may still exist, cancer rehab can help to reduce their impact on your quality of life, as well as your physical and emotional function. Our STAR Program Clinicians® will work with you to identify your personal goals and tackle the issues that most affect your quality of life and independence.

What about insurance coverage?

Most cancer rehabilitation services in the STAR Program® are reimbursed by health insurance providers. Our office staff can assist you in checking your specific rehabilitation benefits.

How can I get started in the STAR Program®?

For appointments or additional information, please contact Missouri Baptist Outpatient Rehabilitation at 314-996-3500. Participation in the STAR Program® requires a prescription from your physician or other eligible provider.

Ten Things You Can Do Right Now

A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming news to anyone, but cancer survivors shouldn’t feel alone or helpless. Our focus is on patient-centered care which means that we want survivors (our patients) to be partners with us in their care. We want to empower newly diagnosed cancer survivors by encouraging them to become an active participant in their treatment and recovery. Below are some suggestions that may help you or someone you care about do just that.

  1. Find doctors that you trust and reach out to them and other members of your healthcare team for medical advice.
  2. Reach out to friends for emotional support, not medical advice.
  3. Ask your healthcare team about cancer rehabilitation so that, as you go through treatment and afterward, you have access to the medical support you need to feel as well as possible.
  4. Keep a written log of every phone call and appointment—include the names and contact information of everyone you speak to.
  5. Gather your medical information including laboratory, imaging, and biopsy reports. Also get copies of the actual films and pathology slides to bring to your initial appointments with oncologists.
  6. Cut back on alcohol. If you can eliminate alcohol, that’s best.
  7. Exercise. Get a pedometer and try to take at least 10,000 steps each day.
  8. Sleep as well as possible. If you can’t sleep, talk to your doctor.
  9. Read excerpts from What Helped Get Me Through: Cancer Survivors Share Wisdom and Hope (published by the American Cancer Society and available in your hospital’s patient resource library, your local community library, bookstores or Amazon.com).
  10. Remember that there are more than 13 million cancer survivors in the United States, and the vast majority of them were not diagnosed at the earliest possible stage. There are excellent cancer treatments available and many reasons to maintain hope.
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