“There is no point in life where doing more exercise does not improve health in multiply ways.”
Chris Whitty UK Chief Medical Officer
Contributed by Stephen Rowley
Research shows that for a number of cancers (including bowel cancer), a programme of exercise can:
- improve recovery
- reduce the risk of cancer recurrence
Macmillan, together with partners established pilot cancer rehabilitation schemes in some parts of the country.
The CanRehab Trust provides training for health and fitness professionals to qualify in Level 4 Cancer and Exercise Rehabilitation
The Macmillan funding came to an end, but some areas have continued with Cancer Rehabilitation services delivered through various agencies or in the community.
Gaining access to Cancer Rehabilitation is not always straightforward and varies across the country. You may find:
- GP/consultant referral
- Private exercise facilities
- Personal trainers
There is usually a charge for sessions. This can vary from as little as £3/session, or a donation, up to the the normal personal trainer rates.
Some centres operate 1:1 or small group exercise sessions. These may run for 6 or 12 weeks, before the patient is discharged, or offered progression onto group classes.
Other areas offer group classes in the community.
More Than Just Exercise
The American Society for Clinical Oncology identifies many benefits from Cancer Rehabilitation exercise programmes, but also indicates other areas of rehabilitation that may be relevant:
Finding Cancer Rehabilitation
There are many routes to Cancer Rehabilitation:
- Consultant referral or colorectal nurse specialist
- Local Macmillan nurse
- Ask your GP
- Contact the local NHS physiotherapy dept
- Check with your district council – they usually have a healthy lifestyles programme
- Check out local gyms to see what they can offer