Cancer Patients Wear Exercise Gear To Treatment

Clinical Exercise Physiologist Marianne Garvey in the new cancer patient exercise clinic at GenesisCare in Wembley.

Cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy in Wembley can now incorporate the scientifically proven benefits of exercise into their overall treatment plan with the convenience of an onsite exercise clinic.

As part of a recent total building refurbishment, GenesisCare’s treatment facility in Wembley has integrated an in-house exercise clinic into patient care.  Staffed by exercise physiologists from Edith Cowan University’s Exercise Medicine Research Institute, the exercise clinic is available to all GenesisCare patients free of charge.

According to Professor Rob Newton, Associate Dean of Medical and Exercise Sciences and Co-Director of the Exercise Medicine Research Institute at ECU, when it comes to cancer and exercise, the old idea of encouraging patients to significantly rest and do very little activity has been totally rejected by recent research.

“Exercise during and following cancer treatment provides many benefits to cancer survivors.  Our research has demonstrated that exercise reduces the impact of cancer symptoms and treatment-related side-effects, including fatigue and nausea.  We are also able to maintain or increase muscle mass and bone mineral density, which can be greatly affected by certain treatments, improve immune function, cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility and mood.  Ongoing research is also showing that exercise may have an impact on survival and disease recurrence, and we are currently investigating this further.”

However, it’s not about just putting someone on a bike or a treadmill.

“All patients are assessed in conjunction with their treating cancer specialist.  Based on the cancer treatments they have received or are receiving, we devise what is essentially a tailored exercise prescription.  This prescription is then carried out under the supervision of our exercise physiologists who are highly experienced in working with cancer patients,” added Professor Newton.

Clinical exercise physiologist, Marianne Garvey, has been working with cancer patients at GenesisCare’s treatment centre in Joondalup for the last two and a half years.  She welcomes the expansion of the exercise clinic into the Wembley centre where she has also begun conducting personalised sessions.

Clinical Exercise Physiologist Marianne Garvey with David, the first patient to exercise in the new cancer patient exercise clinic at GenesisCare in Wembley.

“The most common comment from participants is that they feel better after an exercise session and that it’s great for morale. It doesn’t matter if a patient has never exercised before as our specialised program encourages people to progress at an individual pace, recognising that some days may be better than others.”

Dr Chris Harper, Medical Director at GenesisCare Wembley, sees major advantages for patients in having the exercise clinic on-site.

“Exercise for many people doesn’t come easy.  Imagine battling cancer, coming in for daily treatment sessions, and then being asked to go and exercise elsewhere.  It means an extra trip, which isn’t easy for many people, and is far less motivating.  With our new in-house exercise clinic, patients can come in for radiation therapy in their exercise gear and then walk just a few metres into the exercise clinic.”

The exercise clinic at GenesisCare Wembley will initially operate on Mondays from 2 – 4pm, Wednesdays from 9 – 11am and Thursdays from 2 – 4pm.