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Memorial Universitys recreation complex, The Works, has partnered with Memorials School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Allied Health Services, Eastern Health and the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre to launch a collaborative fitness program to deliver unique cancer care in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The 12-week pilot program, which has a target start date for participants in September, is being funded by the provincial Department of Health and Community Services.
The program will see its official launch June 11-12, with two all-day staff training sessions taking place at the Field House on Memorials St. Johns campus. During the launch, staff from The Works, Allied Health Services and a number of physiotherapists will be trained in a variety of cancer-care related therapies such as exercise prescriptions and modifications, emotional care and management strategies.
Research shows a positive relationship between exercise and quality of life, an increased tolerance for treatment regimens, improved psychological benefits and enhanced benefits from being in a health and wellness environment versus a hospital setting, said Dan Mosher, volunteer director of Kidney-Cancer Canada-NL, a cancer survivor and a key proponent of the program.
It will also provide a healthy environment to patients who want to share similar experiences with other patients, it may improve tolerance of drug toxicity and side effects from their treatments and, most importantly, can give patients a feeling of taking control over their own health and wellness.
Individuals who enter the program in the fall will receive a customized exercise program developed for them in conjunction with their medical oncologist, physiotherapist and kinesiologist. The tailored exercise regimen will then take place at The Works.
The training seminar taking place on Saturday and Sunday will be led by two attending specialists in oncology and physical therapy from MacMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. Jan Park Dorsay, a nurse and assistant clinical professor, and Oren Cheifetz, a physiotherapist and associate clinical professor, developed a similar program targeted for cancer survivors.
The program is open to all cancer patients under active care by referral from their medical oncologist. There will be a limit of 30 participants in the pilot program.
The Works program facilitators aim to eventually deliver the cancer care program to other communities in the province. A service-delivery plan is currently under development for the research- and community-based initiative.
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