New programs aimed at helping cancer survivors be physically active.
The American Cancer Society has launched two new programs aimed at helping cancer survivors be physically active.
Exercise oncology program to launch in six Hope Lodge communities
ACS has partnered with Maple Tree Cancer Alliance (MTCA) to pilot its evidence based-exercise oncology program in six Hope Lodge communities. The Maple Tree program engages people in active cancer treatment in a free, 12-week structured, online exercise program that has been shown to improve measures of quality of life, as well as cardiovascular and muscular endurance. This, while also decreasing visits to the emergency room, length of hospital stays, and readmissions to the hospital.
Starting in February, guests at Hope Lodge locations in Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Jackson, MS, will be able to enroll in the program. At the conclusion, participants will have the option to continue with the Maple Tree program at a discounted rate. Depending on the results of the pilot, ACS will seek additional funding to expand the program.
Increasing the exercise oncology workforce
The ACS has also partnered with the American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) to develop the new ACSM-ACS Cancer Exercise Specialist course. Research consistently shows that physical activity is beneficial for cancer survivors, including during active treatment. The American Cancer Society Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors recommend that physical activity assessment and counseling begin as soon as possible after diagnosis, to help patients prepare for treatment, tolerate, and respond to treatments, and manage some cancer-related symptoms and treatment-related side effects.
This program aims to increase the number of practitioners able to provide safe, effective, and individualized exercise to anyone living with or beyond a cancer diagnosis. This includes certified fitness professionals, as well as other allied health professionals, including physical therapists and PT assistants, rehabilitation therapists, nurses and nurse practitioners, and physicians and physicians’ assistants who work with patients with cancer. A bachelor’s degree in exercise science or related field or equivalent is highly recommended but not required.