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London trust programme shows benefits of helping patients to exercise after receiving cancer treatment, says physio

19 September 2014 - 10:13am

A physiotherapy-led programme in London has reported a nine per cent increase in the number of cancer survivors meeting exercise recommendations, according to one of the physios involved.

Isla Veal, a Macmillan physiotherapist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust, said the programme showed how cancer survivors can be supported to be more physically active after treatment.

She helped to get the programme off the ground by advising specialist cancer care nurses how best to conduct routine discussions with patients around exercise options. Patients are recommended to take part in ‘exercise on referral’, physiotherapy, hospital-based exercise classes or self-management.

An assessment of the programme from April to November last year showed that of 94 patients, nine per cent more were meeting exercise recommendations, compared to before the programme started.

‘The results demonstrate an improvement in physical activity levels, compared to no intervention, good patient satisfaction and feasibility within a clinical environment,’ said Mrs Veal.

Funding for the programme comes from Macmillan Cancer Support. The charity advocates that cancer survivors should be advised to build up to an exercise regime gradually, based on guidelines for the general population.

Ripal Patel, a CSP professional adviser, welcomed the programme. She described it is a good example of how including physiotherapy-led recommendations for exercise within cancer pathways can help self-care and improve the quality of life for patients.

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