Cancer Rehabilitation Medicine Practice Area


The vision for the specialty offers exciting new opportunities for physiatry and will be realized in different ways across the field's diverse practice settings. To help move the vision forward, AAPM&R has enlisted the assistance of member physiatrists to develop envisioned futures for practice areas addressing this key question:

How will practices look different in the future when aligned with this vision?

In Cancer Rehabilitation Medicine, member physiatrists developed the following envisioned future based on the input from other physiatrists:

In the Future ... Physiatrists are an essential and integrated part of interdisciplinary cancer care teams, and highly valued by diverse stakeholder groups including patients, caregivers, oncology care teams, payers, and leaders of health systems. 

Physiatrists direct programs that optimize patients’ function and quality of life throughout the continuum of cancer care. They comprehensively diagnose, treat, and manage disabling impairments and symptoms that result from cancer and its treatment; with emphasis on those of neuromusculoskeletal origin.  Moreover, physiatrists provide continuity in care transitions from prehabilitation through long-term survivorship care, including integration with primary and palliative care. They lead the development, validation, and timely implementation of high-value cancer rehabilitation medical care. Physiatric care enhances patients’ function, satisfaction, and treatment tolerance enabling them to fulfill defining life roles at all points in their illness and survivorship. Physiatrist-led cancer rehabilitation medicine is recognized as a standard of care in national oncology treatment guidelines and credentialing criteria.

Cancer centers and health systems recognize physiatrists’ broad and significant impact on clinical outcomes, patient experience and value metrics, and actively seek out physiatrists to lead in this capacity. PM&R residency and fellowship programs prepare trainees for cancer rehabilitation medicine as a career path, and practicing physiatrists have opportunities for careers and continuing education in cancer rehabilitation medicine. 

How will the Academy be prioritizing and supporting this?

  • Gathering experts to define the core services provided by Cancer Rehabilitation Medicine (CRM) specialists as well as the scope of services that may be provided and valued by patients, caregivers, oncology care teams, payers, and leaders of health systems.
  • Defining the educational needs and training for all physiatrists and those who want to specialize in CRM
  • Identifying the most appropriate path for recognition and elevating physiatry within the national cancer rehabilitation discussion