Living Beyond Cancer: Transforming Oncology Rehabilitation and Survivorship in the Age of Chronic Health Management and Community Advocacy

The purpose of my capstone is to investigate and understand where the disconnect is with advocating for oncology rehabilitation services for cancer patients/survivors in outpatient or community settings.

Student name: Megan Kaesler
Name of Mentor: Julie Espinosa PT, DPT, OnCS, CLT-LANA
School: Washington University in St Louis
Capstone Setting: Stanford Healthcare Tri-Valley in Dublin, CA
Format: Hybrid

Capstone Objectives

  1. The purpose of my Capstone is to investigate and understand where the disconnect is with advocating for oncology rehabilitation services for cancer patients/survivors in outpatient or community settings.
  2. A secondary purpose of my Capstone is to understand how to design and implement a cancer survivorship chronic disease management program in an outpatient community setting.
    *for more info please check out my online portfolio


A multi-faceted approach with one-on-one informational interviews, group surveys, and online surveys that provided well-rounded perspectives and insights into the experiences of patients, survivors & healthcare professionals for oncology rehabilitation services. This information was helpful in completing my Needs Assessment which then lead me to develop the rest of my Capstone project.


  1. The biggest hurdle in connecting patients to oncology rehabilitation services is awareness of what oncology rehab is for patients, healthcare providers, and other cancer supportive services.
  2. Cancer no longer needs to be seen as a death sentence, but rather a chronic health condition that can be managed over time.
  3. There aren’t any online resources within Stanford Healthcare Tri-Valley that solely focus on providing education on strategies & activities patients can do on their own to manage their cancer related side-effects.


Oncology rehabilitation services are an underutilized resource for cancer patients which can start prior to cancer treatment begins to maximize one’s quality of life during treatment along with optimize outcomes for one’s functional recovery after treatment is finished.

2-3 Ideas for future directions to build on this project

  1. Creating a distinct website page on Stanford Medicine’s web domain that distinctly defines “Oncology Rehab” services provided within the health system i.e. Breast Cancer Pre/Post Rehab & Lymphedema Therapy.
  2. Creating a referral checklist sheet for “Cancer Rehab” that doctors can use.
  3. Creating an informational packet with a variety of education resources to leave with medical oncologists, breast surgeons, oncology radiologists, etc to learn more about oncology rehab on their own time.

Reflections on how this may influence my career trajectory.

As I begin my career as an OT in the Bay Area of CA, I reflect on how patients not only are impacted by their medical conditions but also by their medical treatments which can make a huge impact in their physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional states. This project really opened my eyes to the value therapy brings to people in enhancing or maintaining their quality of life which goes beyond just “keeping someone alive”. While I am working to build my foundational clinical skills during this time in my career, I still feel inclined to come back to work with the Oncology Rehab population one day as these people have a very special place in my heart!

@melissa57 Here is our first capstone with an Oncology tag!! I’d love to gather more examples of capstones in oncology, if you ever work with students through ReVital! (Also, should the tag be “oncology” or “cancer-rehab?”)

@megan74 My favorite way to keep with new oncology research is my Google scholar alert on Mackenzi Pergolotti! Such incredible OT and cancer rehab research is happening right now…

Great work and thank you for sharing!

Oooo, @megan74 I just saw your YouTube video? Do you want to add it to your entry? Videos embed nicely on here!

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