The benefits of exercise

The power of exercise in the fight against cancer

07 October 2021

Cancer Council Tasmania (CCT) has a mission to minimise the incidence and impact of cancer on all Tasmanians. They do this through advocacy, research, raising awareness of cancer prevention and offering support and information for anyone affected by the disease.


CCT offers a vast range of support services including face-to-face and telephone support; group programs; complementary therapies such as tai chi, mindfulness and yoga; transport to treatment; wig libraries, financial assistance and educational scholarships. All at no cost to Tasmanians affected by cancer.


When the COVID pandemic hit, things got complicated. The three Cancer Support Centres were closed for some time to ensure the safety of vulnerable clients. Staff adapted to providing their vital support virtually, offering counselling support over the phone and modifying some complementary programs to run online. This was no mean feat as it required smaller class sizes and lots of IT support to ensure everyone could successfully participate.


As things started to return to normal, the Cancer Support Centre doors were re-opened but it also presented an opportunity to innovate and adapt.


“COVID taught us there is a need and scope for people to have a more diverse way of accessing support programs,” said Acting Director Support Services, Sarah De Jonge.


"We could see the advantage of continuing to run programs online to
support people who live remotely or who have to isolate because
of the impact of their cancer treatment on their health."


With the help of an $8,400 innovation grant from Hydro Tasmania, CCT moved their complementary therapies to the virtual world.


“This funding allows us to run yoga, mindfulness and Pilates programs online so that people with cancer can participate in group programs in the privacy, comfort and safety of their homes.”


"The exercises are simple and effective. My treating team was blown
away with my recovery progress thanks to the yoga program."

  Enjoying an online course


Sarah explained that even without a pandemic, people undergoing cancer treatment can be limited in their access to services as daily radiotherapy or weekly chemotherapy can leave them feeling exhausted.


“Now we can provide programs that people can access anywhere in Tasmania when they are diagnosed with cancer,” Sarah said.


“Carers can also join in from home, or take some time out when their loved one is participating in a program, knowing they are well looked after by an evidenced-based program that is benefitting them during cancer treatment or recovery.”


The Hydro Tasmania funding will allow specifically trained facilitators to run a suite of health programs, directly benefiting many patients undergoing (or recently completed) cancer treatment. The grant will support a full year of online programs, which Sarah says will give people confidence when enquiring that they can schedule them in when their treatment allows.



Testimony to the power and benefit of exercise


These programs will directly benefit nearly 80 patients going through cancer treatment, or those who have recently finished. Positive benefits of the courses include reduced depression and anxiety, better ability to tolerate treatment and a reduction in treatment side effects. But the benefits flow much deeper as carers see the positive impact on their loved ones.


“We understand the challenges cancer patients are going through. Our complementary therapies provide a safe environment for patients to regain confidence in their body and potentially to access similar programs in their local community and ease back into their community supports and settings,” Sarah said.


Cancer Council Tasmania was a worthy recipient as part of the latest round of Hydro Tasmania’s Community and Innovation Grant programs, providing over $50,000 in funding support to 9 organisations in 2021.


The Community Grant Program is our way of supporting diverse programs and projects that make a real difference for local people and communities.



Find out more - 

#cancercounciltasmania #makingadifference


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