Cancer patients losing out due to lack of exercise classes
Cancer patients who undergo surgery are losing out on faster recovery because of a lack of exercise supports in hospitals, according to a new study.
Physiotherapy-led exercise rehab services for cancer patients are extremely limited and not part of standard care, researchers at the Schools of Physiotherapy and Medicine in Trinity College Dublin revealed.
Exercise is safe and beneficial before and after cancer treatment.
It can help to reduce the effects of a loss of muscle mass.
Surgery is required for almost 80pc of cancer patients and it can take six months for many patients before they bounce back.
The survey found that of the eight cancer centres, seven had a dedicated oncology physiotherapist.
None of the centres providing surgery had a form of pre-operative exercise service although four had routine assessments for patients with breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer.
Of 40 physiotherapy department managers contacted, 24 responded, providing information about 26 services.
Exercise classes were offered to patients with cancer by five services, primarily within the palliative care setting.
In the 17 hospitals which provided surgery, 10 had oncology specific post-operative exercise rehabilitation.
Just one offered a pre-surgery programme, the 'Irish Medical Journal' reported.
Limited staff and poor physical facilities were among the reasons for a lack of exercise programmes.
The research said that in the case of private hospitals, routine pre-operative assessments and prehabilitation programmes were available in just one hospital.
Standard post-operative care was available in all hospitals.
Four hospitals provided exercise rehabilitation for their patients with breast cancer.
The researchers called for exercise programmes to become part of the standard care for cancer patients.
They can improve quality of life, they said.