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Occupational therapists Lauren Winnix, OTR/L and Alexis Petteway, OTR/L, PORi-Certified Oncology Rehabilitation Therapist, Michelle LeBlanc PT, DPT, and Cancer Rehabilitation Medical Director, Dr Sasha E. Knowlton, MD

Our goal is to help you get your physical functioning back to normal and maintain independence during and after treatment for cancer. We work together with exceptional clinicians and researchers across the UNC campus, including the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) designated Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC). Your cancer rehab physiatrist will work with you to develop a personalized treatment program that may include pain management and exercise interventions with the goal of improving your physical and mental health, your independence and day to day functioning. Your individualized treatment program may include other team members including physical, occupational and speech therapy, social work, nursing and mental health support.

The UNC PM&R Cancer Rehabilitation Program welcomes patients with a history of cancer – whether diagnosed today or 50 years ago – who have any impairments due to their cancer diagnosis and/or treatment. Impairments can include:


  1. Back, arm, leg or joint pain
  2. Neck or shoulder pain
  3. Nerve pain from chemotherapy, surgery or radiation


Trouble functioning

  1. Memory, attention, thinking, and language (cognitive issues)
  2. Walking, transfers, or balance (mobility issues)
  3. Swallowing, speaking, or opening mouth
  4. Doing activities of daily living without assistance
  5. Lymphedema
  6. Deconditioning, weakness, and fatigue
  7. Loss of bladder or bowel control
  8. Sexual dysfunction

Conditions treated: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and other nerve dysfunction; lymphedema; back and neck pain from cancer, metastases or prior treatment for cancer; cancer and non-cancer related joint pain including hip, knee, shoulder and hand pain; deconditioning, weakness and fatigue; trismus; dropped head syndrome; cognitive, swallowing or speech issues; balance and gait difficulty, bowel and bladder incontinence, sexual dysfunction.


Internal (UNC) Providers: Please submit an “Ambulatory Referral to Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation” order. In the Department field, select “UNCH Cancer Physical Medicine and Rehab”

External Providers: Please email: Tina Thornhill,

Our Cancer Physiatrist:

Sasha E. Knowlton, MD