Exercise rehabilitation – recovering from cancer
Altius Healthcare were invited by the Christie Clinic at MIHP to provide a question and answer session about exercise rehabilitation for people who are recovering from cancer or undergoing treatment. Studies have found that around 2 million people in the UK are currently undergoing or have undergone cancer treatment and sixty percent of these people feel they have unmet physical or psychological needs. From studies, and our own personal experience, it is shown that exercise can play a really important role in reversing the adverse effects of cancer treatment and help preserve or improve people’s physical and psychological well-being.
This was a topic we were really passionate about as our sports rehabilitator John Rochford had himself recovered from stage four bowel cancer with intensive treatments of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy to return to cycling, triathlons and even an Ironman! Also our director Doug Jones had returned to fitness following surgery and treatment for a brain tumour. It was clear to us that this was a subject that effects many people and we were interested in what information people were provided with when undergoing their cancer journey.
Our aims were to provide some current evidence about the benefits of exercise for patients with or recovering from cancer, precautions to consider and to discuss how to set goals. We wanted people to be informed so that they were less afraid about approaching exercise and to have some ideas on how to make their goals achievable.
We met with two groups (female and male) and it was very interesting and humbling to hear their concerns and what they would like to achieve in the future. There were certain factors that repeatedly came across from the people we spoke to – fear of exercising after/during treatment and what their body aches could mean, also how best to access training and classes with the right support. The people we met were keen to undertake activity whether that was gardening, walking to the local shops, cycling, or returning to their high intensity gym classes and they all agreed how much better psychologically that would make them feel. Many people compared themselves to their pre-cancer abilities and John made the point that from his experience it is best to forget what you were like before and focus on what is ahead and how you want to achieve this. John said:
‘Working with cancer patients has always been a long term ambition for me. After recovering from the disease I was determined to make a difference, and indeed it proved to be the catalyst that has led me to my current role with Altius Healthcare. Looking around the room during our meeting it felt incredibly humbling to realise that not so long ago it was me that sat in the patients’ shoes, not knowing which way to turn or indeed where to start with my rehabilitation. The experience of being to help these survivors at such a crucial stage in their lives is an honour and I am genuinely thrilled to help these brave people succeed and gain a better future for themselves and their families.’
John and I are delighted to have been asked back to speak again and we are looking forward to learning more about peoples needs and recovery from cancer and us working together to help them to achieve their rehabilitation goals.
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