University Lifestyle Programme Aims to Reduce Recurrence of Breast Cancer

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A new programme to increase activity and improve nutrition in breast cancer survivors has been launched by the University of Worcester in collaboration with the NHS.

The project aims to improve people’s wellbeing, reduce common post-treatment effects, such as depression, weight gain and fatigue, and as a result reduce the risks of further health complications or recurrence of cancer.

Programme Leader, Haydn Jarrett, from the University of Worcester, said: “There is substantial evidence to show how exercise and lifestyle choices can significantly improve the wellbeing of cancer survivors. This is an area that is sometimes neglected within the standard cancer care, but it carries so many important benefits to a person’s quality of life and their overall rehabilitation.”

Funding was awarded from the Service Improvement Fund of the Greater Midlands Cancer Network following a successful initial pilot project carried out last year.

“The new funding will enable us to run three 12 week programmes to help people change their diet and increase their daily levels of physical activity,” said Mr Jarrett. “For two hours each week we will use our facilities at the McClelland Centre at the University’s City Campus to introduce participants to a range of activities such as Tai Ji, to develop bespoke exercise programmes for each person and to engage in a range of healthy eating activities. We want to encourage the women taking part in this scheme to exercise independently on top of our weekly sessions so we are providing them with free membership at our McClelland Centre Fitness Suite and with pedometers to give them feedback on their daily lifestyle activity .”

“The programme also provides a social platform for these women to share their experiences and past experience has shown us that small support/friendship groups have emerged. Indeed, a group of the pilot project participants have now joined the fitness centre.

The programme will measure and analyse nutrition, blood pressure, BMI, waist circumference, daily activity and levels of distress in week one, week twelve, and then again at 6 and 12 months.

Students from the University of Worcester are helping to support the programme by taking and analysing the data as well as providing advice and support in the activity and nutrition sessions.

Mr Jarrett says the project is vitally important to the future health and wellbeing of survivors and hopes that it will develop in the coming years. “The data we collect from this project will hopefully feed a major research bid. Alongside this we are looking for funding to make this programme a sustainable part of other cancer treatments.”

The McClelland Centre currently runs a range of programmes for older adults and people dealing with clinical conditions. Mr Jarrett adds: “Anyone with a clinical condition such as angina, diabetes, arthritis or cancer can approach us for one-to-one advice and support for bespoke individual programmes. A major part of the McClelland Centre mission is to help people around Worcester who are suffering from long-term conditions to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.”

Located on the site of the former Worcester Royal Infirmary the McClelland Centre is part of the University of Worcester’s multi-million pound redevelopment of the historic site. If you would like to contact the Centre please call 01905 542001.