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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 Rehab 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.


There will be a referral specific to cancer rehab (Ambulatory Referral to Cancer Rehab) in Epic at some point. For now, please email Sharita Hairston,, or Tina Thornhill, to have a patient scheduled.

Our Cancer Physiatrist:

Sasha E. Knowlton, MD