Find out about our history

“Award winning providers of evidence based, specialist training in Cancer and Exercise for health and fitness professionals”

Studies have shown that physical activity levels tend to reduce significantly after cancer diagnosis and remain low for many years after treatment is completed. From this low baseline there is great scope for exercise interventions to improve the health and well-being of patients with cancer. Cancer diagnosis can signal a “teachable moment” with patients often demonstrating an enhanced motivation to change lifestyle behaviours, especially within the year after diagnosis.

Cancer…Rest is best .. or is it?

In 2000 Professor Anna Campbell was asked by an oncology nurse if the best advice for someone who is going through cancer treatment is to stay in bed and rest as much as possible. She looked at the literature and realised that very little was known about what happened if someone remained or became active after a cancer diagnosis.

Seven years later, she and a team of researchers from Glasgow published the results of the first and largest randomised control trial to show that a community group-based exercise programme provided during chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment was feasible and acceptable to many women with breast cancer. Comparing the control group to the women who got the 12-week exercise programme showed that the programme helped to improved quality of life, decrease fatigue and depression levels and helped reduce the deconditioning normally expected during chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

5 years later, the researchers recontacted the women in the Glasgow study and found that the breast cancer survivors who had been randomised to the exercise programme were STILL reporting doing about 90 minutes more activities per week and were less depressed. Showing that the exercise programme had long lasting physical and psychological benefits.

Putting Evidence into Practice….

In 2009, Professor Campbell realised that the evidence on the benefits of staying active after a cancer diagnosis was accumulating but very little in the form of lifestyle support was being implemented in community settings for people with cancer. So, being a “pracademic” she temporarily left academia to undertake three implementation projects.

The first was a DVD of homebased exercises funded by Breast Cancer Care for staying active in your own home. Since then the CanRehab team have also worked with Macmillan to provide a more generic exercise programme which is now available on line.

Based on her experience as a community based cardiac rehabilitation instructor programmes, she helped to establish of the first council run community exercise programme called Active ABC based in Glasgow and funded by Pfizer Community Funds and the Marina Dalgleish Charity