Published: Friday 29th July 2016
Exercise should be part of a doctor’s prescription toolkit to address the shocking number of people affected by cancer, said Associate Professor Prue Cormie, who has just won government funding for her research.
Sixteen people per minute worldwide die of cancer, including 125 people per day in Australia. The disease affects many older adults, with one in two men and one in three women likely to be diagnosed by their 85th birthday.
The Victorian Government’s Cancer Survivorship Program has given a $300,000 grant to Associate Professor Cormie from the Institute of Health and Ageing (IHA) for her research into the medicinal benefits of exercise for people with cancer.
Ex-Med Cancer: A community based exercise medicine program for cancer survivors is one of 13 projects worth $2.92 million that the government has earmarked to help better support people living with or who have survived cancer, setting a target of saving 10,000 lives from cancer in the next 10 years.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy launched the Victorian Cancer Plan 2016-20 on Friday - a range of initiatives in prevention, detection, treatment and research to support people who develop cancer and give them the best chance of beating it.
Minister Hennessy said the government was committed to saving thousands of lives and helping prevent cancer through tough targets.
“Every day in Victoria, around 84 people will be diagnosed with cancer and 29 people will die a cancer related death. We want a better future for people who contract cancer, and to consign these statistics to the past.”
Associate Professor Cormie said the grant would enable the team to implement a gold standard exercise medicine program for people with cancer.
“Our team is very excited at the opportunity this funding provides to enhance the lives of cancer survivors across Victoria and at the potential of expanding Ex-Med Cancer nationally.
The team’s project focuses on developing a community-based exercise medicine program for cancer survivors that improves their health and wellbeing.
The Ex-Med Cancer program is based on the latest scientific research which shows that an exercise program that is appropriately prescribed to accommodate the type of cancer, stage and development, and monitored by a qualified exercise professional, is a vital tool for fighting cancer and its effects on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Australians.
When properly prescribed and monitored, exercise reduces cancer-related fatigue, reduces declines in physical function, improves psychological distress and mood, helps counteract sexual dysfunction and improves general wellbeing, the research shows. Early observations suggest that exercise may also reduce the risk of cancer death and cancer recurrence.
Doctors use heavy-duty treatments doctors to treat cancer, and the horrible side effects that can include nausea, hair and weight loss, increased susceptibility to infection, and also depression and loss of sexual desire.
Where the potential of exercise to extend survival is coupled with the clear benefits to a patient’s quality of life, Associate Professor Cormie makes a resounding argument for exercise to be incorporated into every cancer patient’s treatment.
For further information about the Exercise and Oncology program at the Institute for Health & Ageing contact:
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