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Regional Cancer Center

Star Program Helps Cancer Survivors Thrive

Star Program Helps Cancer Survivors Thrive  Regardless of the type of cancer or the treatment—which can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination—cancer survivors may experience a range of physical and emotional side effects.

Lee Memorial Health System is the second hospital system in the state of Florida to earn certification for the Survivorship Training and Rehab (STAR) Program® from Massachusetts-based Oncology Rehab Partners. With this certification, the Regional Cancer Center can now offer an individualized, coordinated and comprehensive treatment plan to help minimize side effects, promote daily functioning and improve the quality of life for cancer patients and survivors.

“Cancer treatment can cause significant pain, fatigue, disability and emotional turmoil,” explains Marie Hepp, ARNP, STAR Program coordinator. Examples of other cancer and/or treatment-related side effects include:

  • Joint stiffness and/or weakness
  • Limb swelling (lymphedema)
  • Memory and/or concentration problems
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Balance and/or gait issues
  • Problems talking or swallowing
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Peripheral neuropathy (pain or tingling in hands and/or feet)

“Cancer rehabilitation is similar to other forms of rehabilitation that patients go through following a serious illness, such as a heart attack or stroke,” Marie says. “Our team, which consists of specially trained, STAR Certified™ professionals, includes physicians, nurse navigators, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speechlanguage pathologists, advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs), social workers, case managers, clinical nurse specialists and oncology-registered dietitians. Together, we provide expertise, guidance and support.”

The STAR Program is a nationally recognized cancer survivorship certification that provides evidence-based protocols for cancer patients—whether newly-diagnosed, currently going through treatment or those who have lived for years as a survivor.

“The STAR Program is the gold standard in cancer rehab care,” says Sharon MacDonald, Lee Memorial Health System vice president of oncology services. “This certification demonstrates our commitment to developing best-practice oncology rehab services that will improve the quality of care and outcomes for our patients.”


““Cancer treatment can cause significant pain, fatigue, disability and emotional turmoil,”explains Marie Hepp, ARNP.

Learn More About The STAR program

The STAR Program is open to anyone who is living with problems or conditions related to a cancer diagnosis and/ or treatment. To learn more about the STAR Program, contact Marie Hepp at 239-343-9511 or

Regional Cancer Center
8931 Colonial Center Drive
Suite 200
Fort Myers, FL 33905

*An outpatient department of Lee Memorial Hospital