Rehabilitation Program Helps Cancer Survivors

October 15, 2012

Jennifer Showalter, lymphedema rehab specialist,

cares for patient with lymphedema.

ST. LOUIS - For cancer patients, finishing treatment is just the beginning of the new journey of survivorship. Cancer survivors often suffer debilitating side effects caused by treatments used to rid them of the disease. To extend the continuum of care for these patients, Mercy is now certified to offer STAR (Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation) Program® cancer rehabilitation services.

The STAR Program is a nationally recognized certification and cancer survivorship program that focuses on helping survivors heal physically, emotionally and spiritually. As with many Mercy programs, STAR utilizes an interdisciplinary approach in which caregivers from different specialties team up to help patients increase strength and energy, alleviate pain, and improve daily function and well-being.

“Cancer survivors have unique needs that we are addressing with the new program,” said Michelle Smith, DC, Mercy’s STAR Program coordinator. “Often side effects of cancer treatment are delayed and post-treatment patients don’t know where to turn for long-term help. The STAR Program® will help us provide coordinated, team-based care for these patients.”

Mercy will work with patients to develop an individualized cancer rehabilitation plan focusing on specific goals. The team specializes in addressing conditions such as chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, headaches, cognitive issues, lymphedema, sleep problems and more. Therapies may include customized exercise programs to improve strength, mobility and endurance; activities of daily living, patient and family education; and more.

To become STAR Program® certified, Mercy Hospital St. Louis completed Oncology Rehab Partner’s STAR Program® Certification, a conventional medicine and evidence-based standardized model of oncology rehabilitation service delivery, successfully implementing the program’s evaluation and treatment protocols and rehabilitation training.

Mercy’s STAR Program is available at five locations. For more information, please visit or call 636-256-STAR (7827).

Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,600 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit

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