Cancer is a key national health issue and the leading cause of death as well as disease burden in Australia. Research shows that the modifiable risk factor that leads to the highest percentage of worldwide deaths from cancer is physical inactivity.
Furthermore, a recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine (Moore et al., 2016) involving almost 1.5 million adults found that higher levels of leisure-time physical activity were associated with lower risk of 13 cancers, some by over 40%.
In addition to the strong relationship between physical activity and cancer risk, prognosis and mortality, strong evidence exists for the benefits of exercise for cancer patients and survivors for improving:
- psychological wellbeing and quality of life
- cancer-related fatigue
- physical functioning
- body weight and composition
- muscular strength and endurance
- immune function
- cardiovascular fitness
Despite all these known benefits of exercise, cancer patients and survivors are less physically active than their age-matched counterparts without cancer. This has been suggested to be related to the many disease and treatment-related side effects influencing cancer patients and survivors, including their knowledge of, and potential concern about what exercises are safe and effective at various stages of their treatment.
YMCA’s Cancer Survivor Program is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) designed program and delivers exercise intervention specifically for people who are either going through or recovering from cancer treatment. With over 1 million cancer survivors in Australia, YMCA’s Cancer Survivor Program provides a safe, evidence-based exercise program to improve the health and wellbeing of so many in the community who have been affected by this terrible disease.
YMCA’s Cancer Survivor Program provides a unique opportunity to use exercise as medicine to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and mortality, and disease and treatment-related side effects for those community members who need it the most.