• Text Size:
  • Translate:

We're committed to safeguarding the welfare of children, young people and adults by working to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all in Bedfordshire. Find Out More

Boosting Health During Cancer Recovery in BLMK

Boosting Health During Cancer Recovery in BLMK

Boosting Health During Cancer Recovery in BLMK

Posted: Tue, 19 Dec 2023 15:34 by Riya Ahmed

Boosting Health During Cancer Recovery in BLMK

A cancer rehabilitation programme in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) is helping patients to improve their physical and mental health throughout their journey through cancer recovery.

Staying physically and mentally well is important. Research has shown that when you actively work on your physical and mental health, it can help you get better faster after surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. It also lowers the chances of having more health problems during and after your treatment.

The scheme, funded by Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, involved brought together personal trainers from gyms across the area and taught them how to support people living with cancer. Currently, 12 personal trainers have achieved become Level 4 Cancer Rehab qualified through a company called The Wright Foundation.

Some of these trainers have since set up initiatives to help people with cancer in their gyms and community places. Three programs are currently running throughout Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, including at the University of Bedfordshire.

John's Story

John, a 70-year-old cancer survivor, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016. John underwent surgery, radiotherapy, and hormone treatment, which left him physically weakened. In 2021, the cancer spread, and he underwent chemotherapy, further impacting his strength and stamina. Struggling with everyday activities, John sought help from his Oncologist, who referred him for a free six-week exercise programme at the University of Bedfordshire.

Kevin Wyld, Senior Lecturer in Sport Science and Physical Activity at the University of Bedfordshire, assessed John's condition and designed a free tailored six-week exercise programme. He emphasised the importance of proper warm-up, exertion levels, and cool-down routines.

Whilst undertaking the cancer rehabilitation exercise programme, John also learned about the Community Exercise Programme, a University of Bedfordshire programme, which included circuit training and a dance/movement class for the partners of those referred for exercise. His wife, Angela (72), joined these sessions and benefited from improved flexibility and balance.

The program didn't stop at exercise. John was referred to the University's Physio Clinic, where students, supervised by their lecturers, addressed his musculoskeletal issues. After six weeks, John's strength and flexibility had improved significantly.

John's story is a testament to the programme's impact. His post-chemotherapy struggles have faded, and he now enjoys three gym sessions a week and circuit training. His wife has also found joy and support in the programme's social group. Both their physical and mental health have flourished.

On the programme, John said: "The referral has undoubtedly improved my life. The problems I had at the end of my chemotherapy no longer restrict me and I feel stronger and more flexible. Our mental health has also benefited. Exercise itself makes you feel good, but the hidden impact is that the participants, all with various medical issues, form a positive social group which gives support and encouragement to each other, sharing in the enjoyment of improving both our physical and mental health."

You can watch a video on the programme, produced by the University of Bedfordshire, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNX0hXTG29Y.

Individuals interested in participating in this programme can ask their Cancer Specialist Nurse whether they are suitable for referral.

Tags: Active Partnership, Cancer, Private, Public