Strong Survivor – Cancer Rehabilitation is a programme designed by East Gosford Physiotherapy and Exercise Physiology and is aimed at helping men and women recover and thrive after cancer diagnosis and treatment.
We work as part of your multi-disciplinary team to help you become a Strong Survivor.
Help is available right through the process to prepare you for treatment, help you manage the effect of the treatment and, more importantly, help you recover and rehabilitate after the treatment to become a Strong Survivor.
Cancer diagnosis can be a journey and maintaining your physical and mental health through this process can have a dramatic effect on your life after cancer.
Strong Survivor works in the 3 phases of your journey.
1. Prehab Phase
Strong Survivor Cancer Rehabilitation starts at diagnosis. A prehabilitation process applies before your initial cancer treatment.
Prehab involves getting as strong and fit as you can before treatment. It involves having a good understanding of postural muscle control, core stability, pelvic floor control (especially pre radical prostatectomy) to give you a stable base or foundation.
2. Post Treatment
This involves helping you recover from surgery or treatment. It involves assessing you for specific dysfunction from surgery in regards to joint stiffness, pain or muscle weakness. This involves physiotherapy and advice on exercise to get you moving again. It may involve mobilisation and massage to break up stiffness patterns, or massage for lymphedema. It does involve motivation and direction with gentle exercise to help restore normal movement and strength. It will reinforce the foundation you developed in the Prehab Phase to prepare you to become a Strong Survivor.
3. Strong Survivor Phase
Once you have recovered from the initial effects of your treatment or surgery you may still be quite weak and fatigue easily. The Strong Survivor phase slowly moves you along with Physiotherapy and Exercise Physiology to further restore muscle control, strength and mobility while managing the fatigue.
De-conditioning can have a big impact on motivation to get moving again. We can help you re-condition slowly so not to aggravate pain or exhaust yourself. As you see yourself getting stronger (doesn’t matter how slowly) your motivation and willingness to exercise will improve. There is good evidence on the positive effect on mood from exercise. This release of “good” brain chemicals makes you feel like you to exercise again and this will help your fatigue levels. Slowly resuming exercise after cancer treatment is the trick to becoming a Strong Survivor.
This needs to be progressed but only as fast as your body allows, and we are all a bit different in our recovery time frame. This can be as simple as starting to increase your walking again, but starting on some gentle strengthening and “loading” exercises can have a significant effect on your ability to resume heavier work.
We now rely on the core or foundation you have developed and work on functional exercise with simple weights and exercise bands and can involve Pilates and other programmes. There is not a “one size fits all” approach with exercise to becoming a Strong Survivor. We will work out together “What is your best approach” to becoming a Strong Survivor and recovering from your cancer. Cancer rehabilitation happens slowly and should never be rushed.
There are a lot of things that need to be considered as your brain and body become strong again. You will then have the tools and motivation to keep exercising and exercise can become a habit again. The Strong Survivor phase aims at helping you to understand how to keep exercising and keep improving and maintaining your cardiovascular fitness, endurance, flexibility and strength to keep your body and brain healthy.
This is Position statement From The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia about Exercise in Cancer Care and explains recommendations about exercise for people with cancer. This position is embedded with our Strong Survivor program for Cancer Rehabilitation.
Click here to download the PDF.
Click here for more information and to make an assessment appointment at East Gosford Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre.