More people than ever are living well, with and beyond cancer.
The NHS long term plan for cancer states that “where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer will have access to personalised care, including needs assessment, a care plan and Health and Wellbeing information and support”.
Prehabilitation and rehabilitation physical activity programme for people affected by cancer
What is the Living Well with Cancer programme?
Prehabilitation is preparing patients for treatment and living well with cancer through an individual prescription of exercise.
The focus of rehabilitation is to help patients to live well after their cancer treatment. It aims to help patients take an active role in their cancer care and live as well as possible with and beyond their cancer.
This programme is a partnership between Active Essex, Mid and South Integrated Care System, NHS Mid and South Essex, and Impulse Leisure.
What are the benefits?
- A better response to treatment
- A swifter recovery from surgery and treatment
- Improved energy levels
- Lowering of anxiety and improvement in mood
- Improved general fitness
- Putting patients back in control of their body and mind
- Reduced time in hospital or need for re-admission to hospital
What does the programme include?
As part of the 6-week programme patients will be able to attend 2 weekly group sessions with a qualified cancer rehabilitation instructor.
Within these sessions they will be guided in exercises to suit their level of ability and fitness.
Plus there is virtual Zoom and face to face sessions available to those who need more specialist support.
Is there a cost?
This is a free 6 week programme available to all patients with all cancer types with an option to extend the programme subject to criteria.
How to join the scheme?
If you wish to take part in either the cancer prehabilitation or rehabilitation programme, please speak with your Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist or Specialist Consultant who can complete a referral form.
Patients will then be contacted by a member of the specialist team at Impulse Leisure. You will usually be contacted within 5 days of receiving the completed referral form. The referral form will be sent via a secure email address to Impulse leisure at [email protected]
Fatigue is a very common side effect with cancer. Try these tips for helping improve your sleep:
- Follow a regular routine
- Make sure you are sleeping well
- Stay active – exercising during the day can improve your quality of sleep
- Try to improve your “sleep hygiene” – this includes getting up at the same time every day, even on weekends or holidays, keeping your bedroom cool and avoiding naps
General Information about Exercise
It is safe to exercise unless you have been told NOT to by a health professional such as a doctor or physiotherapist.
When you are exercising you should maintain a balance between exercising and rest. Do not worry if at first you have to rest more frequently than usual.
Try to gradually increase the amount of the following that you do:
- General physical activity including washing and dressing, hobbies and work
- Strengthening and flexibility exercises such as Yoga and Tai Chi can help to ease joint and muscle problems
- Flexibility exercises improve movement you have in a joint or muscle and can simply be moving your joints as far as you can several times a day
- Strength exercises are any activities that make your muscles work harder than usual. Activities that strengthen muscles include climbing stairs, lifting weights, working with resistance bands, digging in the garden, walking uphill and cycling
You may experience a loss of appetite and eat less food. If you have lost a lot of weight or are struggling to eat enough, you may find the following advice useful:
- Try to eat little and often – have 3 small nourishing meals plus snacks in between
- Vegetables and fruit are important for gaining nutrients and vitamins
- Choose protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese, beans, nuts, quorn and lentils as the basis of your meals
- Include a starchy food at each meal such as bread, potatoes, rice pasta or cereals
- Add energy-rich foods such as grated cheese or margarine to foods whenever you can. For example, add cream soups, extra butter to vegetables and cheese to stews
- Serve food on small plates to make it more appealing
- Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
It is common to have many different emotions when you are told you have cancer. These can be difficult to cope with, but there is no right or wrong way to feel.
Please speak to your nurse or Doctor if you would like more support. We can refer to a counselling service or seek support from the Macmillan information and Support service.
Where is the programme held?
The rehabilitation programme is held in venues across mid and south Essex, so you can select the one which is most convenient for you to travel to:
- Basildon – Club Kingswood, Clayhill Lane, Basildon, SS16 5JP
- Braintree – Braintree Sport and Health Club, Panfield Lane, Braintree, CM7 1FF
- Brentwood – Brentwood Leisure Centre, Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood, CM15 9NN
- Chelmsford – Riverside Leisure, Victoria Road, Chelmsford, CM1 1FG
- Southend – St Peters(small Hall), Eastbourne Grove, Westcliff, SS0 0QF
- Southend – Hockley Public Hal, Bullwood Road, SS5 4RA
- Thurrock – Impulse Leisure, Blackshots, Blackshots Lane Grays RM16 2JU
- Wickford – The Gym Hub, 18 Robert Way, Wickford, SS11 8DD
Please use the following email address for referrals: [email protected]