FAQ's

I am currently receiving chemotherapy.  Can I exercise during my treatment?

Yes, however it may be sensible to avoid public gyms until your counts are back up to safe levels, which is why home training is so safe and beneficial.  Chemotherapy is given in cycles, and often treatment has a cumulative effect which will be taken into account when planning sessions.  If you are currently receiving chemotherapy then the aim of the exercise sessions will be to maintain your ability to perform your own activities of daily living, and to maximise independence and quality of life and to prevent any further deterioration during treatment.

Many of the physical and psychologiocal side effects of chemotherapy such as fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, nausea and vomiting, mucositis, constipation, chemo brain, immonosupression and night sweats can all be reduced by exercise and physical activity.

 

I have a Portacath or PICC line in situ.  Can I still exercise?

Yes, you can.  There are precautions that need to be followed whilst exercising to avoid the PICC becoming dislodged or becoming infected.  It is important to take care with pressing exercises, as you don’t want to dislodge the port.  A safe training programme taking this into account will be planned for you and exercise can help to prevent complications such as clots from occurring.

 

Why can’t I start on an exercise regime myself?

You can, and any physical activity is good. However, you will achieve your personal goals faster with the help of a cancer exercise specialist, who can help you to find and plan the type of exercise that is right and safe for you.

After all of your baseline measurements have been taken - using the FITT formula a safe, effective and fun exercise session can be planned.

 

           Frequency        

How often do you have to exercise each week?

  Intensity   

How hard do I have to work?

  Time  

For how long?

  Type    What type of exercises are best for you?  Your exercise needs, goals and preferences will be important.

 

Do I have to wait until I have finished treatment?

No, you don’t.  Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise programme. This is especially important if you are having treatments that can affect your lungs or your heart or radiation to your chest.

If you are unsure if you can exercise on your current treatment regime then please contact for further advice.

 

What should I ask my doctor?

You should tell them that you wish to start a physical exercise programme with a registered cancer exercise professional.  Your oncology team will check your blood counts during your treatment please note you can’t exercise if you have a low red blood cell count or if you have low levels of potassium or sodium in your blood.

 

What if I feel unwell the day of my appointment?

Not a problem, we totally understand.  Please contact us as soon as possible prior to our appointment and we can postpone it until you are feeling better.

 

I feel too tired to exercise, will it cause me any harm?  Won’t I feel even more tired after exercising?

No, not at all.  Most people with cancer notice they have a lot less energy and feel that their body and brain is tired.  This fatigue does not necessarily get better with rest, and often this fatigue is severe and limits activity.  Accordingly this leads to muscle wasting and loss of function, a deteriorating cycle.  Physical activity can help to break this cycle however you need to exercise at a level that your body can tolerate and after exercise you should feel energised not exhausted.

 

I have had a mastectomy/breast surgery/reconstructive surgery.  Am I able to exercise?

Surgery is often the first treatment for breast cancer. There are many different surgical operations including lumpectomy, wide excision, mastectomy, implant reconstruction or reconstruction using tissue from another area of your body.

Some of these operations can cause limited range of motion around your arm and shoulder and around the abdomen with certain reconstructive surgeries.  This can result in tightness around these areas and reduced strength in the chest, abdomen and back.  The correct exercises will improve your range of movement and improve your shoulder mobility making day to day activities easier.

 

I have lymphoedema.  Can I exercise?

It was previously thought that exercise, particularly resistance (weight) training could exacerbate the effects of lymphoedema. Research has shown that actually resistance exercise is safe and effective and can improve lymphatic flow, due to the muscle contractions and the overall increased tone of the muscle.  There are specific guidelines that will be followed when training clients with lymphoedema and you MUST wear your lymphoedema sleeve during an exercise session and also for an hour afterwards.

 

I have prostate cancer.  How is exercise going to help me?

One of the common treatments for prostate cancer is androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) which reducesthe amount of male hormones which can “feed” the cancer cell growth.  The ADT can cause serious side effects such as fatigue, increased body fat (particularly around the abdomen)and decrease muscle mass.

ADT can also cause you to become more emotionally labile ( more sensitive) and to become more feminine as well as lower bone mineral density, insulin resistance,  sexual dysfunction and incontinence. 

There has been a wealth of research supporting the safety and efficacy of resistance exercise in men with prostate cancer.  The physical changes that occur in the body with a structured, porogressive resistance based exercise programme have been statistically proved to almost reverse all of the side effects discussed.

 

I am taking hormonal therapy for breast cancer, can I exercise?

You certainly can.  Side effects of hormonal therapy for breast cancer e.g. Tamoxifen, Zoladex, Anastrozole, Letrozole and Exemestane are similar to menopausal symptoms and side effects can include hot flushes, night sweats, weight gain, joint pain, lower bone density, rising cholesterol, fatigue and cognitive dysfunction.  These drugs are often prescribed for up to ten years and a structured exercise programme can assist in managing their side effects.

 

Is cancer rehabiliation new? I haven’t heard about it before.

No it isn't new "Cancer rehabiliation attempts to maximise patients ability to function, to promote their independence and to help them to adapt to their condition.  It offers a major route to improving their quality of life, no matter how long or short the timescale" (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence 2004)

 

Please do contact us if you need any further advice or have any questions.