Can Cancer Prehabilitation Help Me?

Cancer treatments can cause side effects such as pain, fatigue and disability. Through the STAR Program®, our goal is to minimize these effects and to encourage you to have the best quality of life possible. Below are some frequently asked questions to help you learn more about the cancer prehabilitation services.

What is Cancer Prehabilitation?

Prehabilitation is a relatively new concept in oncology care, and the goal is to help people who are newly diagnosed become physically and emotionally stronger before they begin cancer treatment. The purpose of the “pre” in prehabilitation (called “prehab” for short) is to signal that these interventions are meant to get you ready, to better prepare you, for your upcoming treatment.

How Does Prehab Work?

A prehabilitation plan would be tailored to your individual needs after your oncologist has evaluated your current health conditions, outside of the cancer diagnosis. All of the therapies are designed to

  1. help you feel better or stronger before cancer treatment
  2. improve your body’s functioning before cancer treatment or
  3. get you ready for the physical challenges that you might face following your cancer treatment.


Depending on your cancer diagnosis and present or anticipated functional limitations, your healthcare team might recommend interventions such as specific exercises to improve your strength and endurance, nutrition counseling and/or strategies that can help you decrease your stress prior to the start of treatment.

Prehab would take place during the window of time that typically exists between your diagnosis and the beginning of your cancer treatment, whether it be surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or another cancer treatment plan.

You will meet with a physical therapist trained in the needs of cancer patients. They are sensitive to both the physical and emotional challenges that newly diagnosed patients face and can help you better prepare for your treatment.

Will my insurance cover cancer prehab?

Prehab interventions may be covered by health insurance. As with all insurance questions, check with your carrier about coverage, including deductibles and co-pays.

How Do I Get Started?

Talk to your oncologist about your concerns and how you feel prehab might be an option for you. If they’re not familiar with the STAR Program there may be other options for therapy that they can offer.

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