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A Precision Medicine Approach to Improve Cancer Rehabilitation’s Impact and Integration with Cancer Care and Optimize Patient Wellness


Purpose of Review

Many patients treated for cancer develop toxicities that go unaddressed, limiting their functioning, health, quality of life, and ability to work. This review describes how to optimize patient functioning and quality of life by preventing toxicities where possible or treating them early to reduce impairment and prevent disability.

Recent Findings

Increasing the impact of cancer rehabilitation on preventing and treating toxicity requires filling research gaps and better integrating rehabilitation with cancer care.


We must understand risk factors and the underlying biology driving impairments, disability, and individual response to intervention. Then, we need to integrate these data and implement screening of all patients throughout treatment and beyond to (1) monitor biological changes that would lead to downstream impairments and facilitate referrals for personalized rehabilitation interventions to prevent these; (2) where prevention is impossible, screen for impairments and prescribe interventions to treat them early; or (3) intervene to prevent disability resulting from impairments that cannot be prevented or treated.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of important •• Of major importance

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Author information

Correspondence to Catherine M. Alfano.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

Lee W. Jones reports grants from the National Cancer Institute, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Support Grant/Core Grant (P30 CA008748), and ATKIV Against Cancer.

Nathan D. Price is cofounder of and holds stock with Arivale, reports grants from Jassen Pharmaceuticals, reports grants from Amgen, reports grants from GBM, and reports grants from and serves as board member for Habit.

Kathryn H. Schmitz is supported by research grants from the National Cancer Institute and the Chinchilli Family Foundation.

Catherine M. Alfano, David S. Zucker, Mackenzi Pergolotti, Kirsten K. Ness, and Jennifer A. Ligibel declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Cancer Rehabilitation

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Alfano, C.M., Zucker, D.S., Pergolotti, M. et al. A Precision Medicine Approach to Improve Cancer Rehabilitation’s Impact and Integration with Cancer Care and Optimize Patient Wellness. Curr Phys Med Rehabil Rep 5, 64–73 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40141-017-0145-x

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  • Cancer
  • Oncology
  • Survivorship
  • Toxicity
  • Precision medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Cancer rehabilitation