Network Blog

Reflections on fitness, wellness, health and more

Exercise proving positive effects on cancer patients

The following post was written by Kat Weihen, online trainer for Network's ePT course.

Cancer, in all forms, is one of the leading causes of premature death in Australia; however, more than half of all cancers diagnosed in Australia are successfully treated and survival rates for some common cancers have recently increased.

While there are many certifications allowing you to specialise in areas such as training children, elderly populations, post/pre pregnancy, to date there are no certifications specialising in training those recovering from cancer treatment.

According to ACSM National Director of certification programs, Richard Cotton, ‘Exercise can lead to faster recovery from some effects of cancer treatment, as well as increased quality of life during treatment.’

A recent study conducted by the Society indicated that depending on the cancer site, only 53 to 70 per cent of survivors met minimum physical activity recommendations. ‘Having a cadre of fitness professionals who can help support cancer survivors in meeting their exercise goals will be a real plus.’

The ACSM/ACS Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer (CET) qualification is currently being established in the USA with the certification exam being available at over 4,300 testing centres worldwide.

While the qualifications are not yet established in Australia, what are your thoughts on the concept? Do you think this sort of certification should be available in Australia or do you think this type of certification is blurring the line between the fitness and medical industries? We would love to hear your thoughts.

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Posted by: Suzanne Shardlow | 18-Feb-2009 09:54 AM | 5 out of 5 stars

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor of 12 months and am very interested in this concept. I am currently completing my Cert III Fitness Instructor - for 2 reasons. I have always been involved on a personal level in fitness and needed a career change from a stressful office position after my diagnosis, and my Oncologist said to me that there is no better little white pill than Exercise. I would love to be able to pass on my knowledge and experience to others who are on a similar journey. I dont think the concept is blurring the lines, but rather adding another dimension as part of a holistic approach to support Cancer Survivors. For instance, we have Breast Care Nurses on hand, who already prescribe specific exercises for women who are recovering from surgery - why not include a Fitness Specialist as part of the Cancer Support structure. I am all for it, and would love to be apart of it!

Posted by: Anonymous | 25-Feb-2009 04:41 PM | 5 out of 5 stars

Response from Kat Weihen, author of the blog post.
Hi Suzanne, thanks for your response on this topic. I found it interesting and definitely a topic relevant for trainers seeing as cancer is so common and with the advance medical treatments, more and more people are surviving. That is great news that you would like to pass your knowledge onto others who have had a similar experience. Perhaps that is an angle you could target with your personal training especially as you can relate to what those people who are recovering cancer patients. You could even link up with those nurses who currently prescribe specific exercises for women recovering from surgery and establish a connection with those patients and help them with their ongoing treatment and physical exercise. Thanks for your comments Suzanne. Kathryn