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05 May 2021

Cancer patients to be prescribed exercise as part of new approach
BY Tom Walker

The programme is designed to optimise cancer treatment and minimise the length of time spent in hospital

The programme is designed to optimise cancer treatment and minimise the length of time spent in hospital
photo: Shutterstock/Robert Kneschke

A new pioneering approach looks to help cancer patients prepare for and respond to treatment by offering them a combination of exercise, nutrition and psychological support.

Launched by Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) – and funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research – the new approach will provide tailored support and guidance for each individual in the programme.

Designed to optimise cancer treatment, minimise the length of time spent in hospital and reduce the likelihood of complications from surgery, AWRC expects the method to improve recovery rates and save lives by reducing the likelihood of cancer returning following treatment.

To begin with, patients with cancer of the lungs, colon, oesophagus, stomach and small intestine will be part of an initial pilot before the programme is widened out to include patients with other forms of cancer.

The pilot is expected to start in the autumn.

Professor Robert Copeland, Director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, said: “We want to help improve the way we support people with cancer to prepare for and recover from their treatment.

“Evidence suggests a programme of exercise, changes to diet and psychological support can help reduce negative side effects, improve treatment and longer-term quality of life.

“Being more physically active following a cancer diagnosis is associated with a lower risk of cancer recurrence and a greater likelihood of recovery.

“Physical activity is not usually prescribed for patients receiving cancer treatment and we want that to change."

Dr Kathryn Scott, CEO at Yorkshire Cancer Research, added: “In recent years, it has become very clear that exercise plays a vital role in improving cancer survival rates, and that physical activity programmes should be prescribed to people with cancer in the same way as other treatments.

“At Yorkshire Cancer Research, our aim is for 2,000 more people to survive cancer every year in Yorkshire.

"Together with the pioneering team at Sheffield’s AWRC, we are taking a huge leap into creating a world-leading programme that can be introduced across Yorkshire and beyond, helping to save many lives.”



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