Recovering from cancer can be a long and lonely journey, but we’re here to provide the individual support and guidance you need with movement and exercise as a key part of your routine.
Having worked with various cancer patients, we know first hand how Sports Medicine and a focused approach to exercise can help. So, when you come to see one of our Cancer Rehab specialists, you will receive a tailored treatment plan utilising a variety of expertise across our multidisciplinary team with information and advice to help you manage your day-to-day away from the clinic to allow you to feel more independent.
A diagnosis of cancer alongside the various treatments offered can result in a multitude of side effects such as long-lasting fatigue and loss of independence. These can last for many years and result in declining physical function and quality of life.
But all is not lost. There is evidence to show that both cancer survivors and those undertaking treatment can safely engage in exercise to improve physical fitness, function and quality of life to mitigate cancer-related symptoms.
Supervised moderate intensity aerobic exercise at least 3 times per week for at least 8 – 12 weeks is found to be the most effective exercise prescription to consistently address health-related outcomes experienced due to cancer diagnosis and treatment. Including resistance training least twice per week can also provide similar benefits.
Activities such as Pilates and Yoga have been shown to improve quality of life and reduce fatigue. Other forms of exercise, like recreational sports, HIIT workouts, and wall climbing are currently being researched in more depth to see if they can also support cancer survivors and those going through treatment in a similar way.
It is likely that both survivors and those undertaking treatment will fluctuate in progress in a more non-linear fashion. Physiological treatments, side effects, and demographic factors contribute towards a large variance in response to exercise day-to-day and week-to-week.
But that does not mean the progress is not there, quite the opposite. Progress on all accounts is not always linear, but the goal remains, to keep movement and activity within our function, supporting our bodies as they recover.
However you are feeling, it is important to discuss this with your clinician throughout your treatment so that they can adjust the program as and when needed.
As with most things when it comes to exercise prescription — it depends. There are cases where exercise is not suitable, so it is important that we know the type and stage of cancer. This can be discussed at your initial consultation. That way your clinician can apply their knowledge of the treatment option and any potential side effects in order to gauge the impact on your symptoms and ability to exercise.
Therefore, you should be assessed against pre-participation guidelines to evaluate your ability to safely participate in exercise. Following the initial assessment, a comprehensive assessment of all components of health-related physical fitness with specific cancer considerations will be completed to aid development of your individualised exercise program. For those going through active treatment, we will work closely with your oncology team, ensuring they are fully aware of our supportive treatment throughout your journey.
In our own experience, those who are able to exercise respond very positively to even very low level physical activity. Our patients have reported improved mood, energy, and physical function as early as after the first session.