Cancer Rehabilitation: STAR Program

What is the STAR Program at Hennepin Healthcare?

The Comprehensive Cancer Center is part of the STAR Program network of certified cancer rehabilitation programs. It is a nationally recognized accreditation that focuses on improving the lives of cancer patients and survivors who suffer from the side effects caused by cancer and its treatments. Certified STAR Programs offer coordinated cancer rehabilitation care by a team of specially trained health professionals who have completed STAR certification.

Cancer and its treatments such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy can cause significant pain, fatigue, and disability. Through our STAR Program, our goal is to minimize these side effects and to encourage the best quality of life possible both during and after treatments. Rehabilitation services are based on individual goals to improve daily functioning and symptom management.

Your Rehabilitation Team

The rehabilitation team consists of a rehabilitation physician, nurse practitioner, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, physical training professional, as well as our dietitian and social worker.

Who can benefit from cancer rehabilitation?

Anyone with a cancer diagnosis (before, during, and after treatment) can benefit from cancer rehabilitation. Click below to learn about the different therapies and their offerings:

  • Mobility, walking, transfers, balance, and falls prevention
  • Family and caregiver training: Assist with mobility and exercise program as needed
  • Mobility equipment: Wheelchairs, canes, or walkers
  • Pain management: Pain reduction modalities such as heat/cold applications and electrical stimulation, manual therapy and flexibility
  • Strengthening: Improve strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, and coordination
  • Physical functioning of the extremities and spine: Peripheral neuropathy or weakness of the upper and/or lower extremities, sensory deficits, coordination, posture, strength, range of motion and balance
  • Lymphedema therapy: Prevention and treatment of lymphedema including education on risk reduction, manual drainage, compression wrapping, exercises, and recommendations for custom garments
  • Fatigue management and energy conservation
  • Cognitive impairments: Issues with memory, safety and judgment, problem solving, attention and focus
  • Visual impairments: Issues with low vision, visual processing and perceptual changes
  • Self-care and home-care activities: (Evaluations done in clinic) Assisting with bathing, bowel/bladder management, dressing, feeding, grooming, home management, home safety evaluations
  • Daily equipment needs: Assistive devices such as reachers or sock-aids, bathroom equipment
  • Physical functioning of the upper body Peripheral neuropathy or weakness of the hands, dexterity, coordination, strength, and range of motion, core balance
  • Family and caregiver training: Preventing falls, transfer safety, environmental modifications
  • Social and emotional performance: Lifestyle and coping
  • Return to community: (Evaluations done in clinic) Workplace accommodations, driving issues, public transportation, shopping
  • Speaking:  Improving speech intelligibility, stoma care, communication options, voice remediation
  • Swallowing:  Difficulty while eating/drinking, secretion management, strengthening and coordination
  • Head and neck cancer: Assessment and evaluation before, during, and after cancer treatments for speech and voice function, swallowing strategies and strengthening, hydration and side effects management
  • Cognition: Assess and remediate cognitive-linguistic impairments or auditory processing
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Return to work/school issues
  • Mental health


contact photo only syndal ortman

Syndal Ortman, RN, DNP

Survivorship and Cancer Rehab Program Director

[email protected]