A new community-based exercise programme for cancer patients launched on 29th June in Northamptonshire. We CAN-Move will provide cancer patients with opportunities to be active including access to personalised exercise programmes delivered by experts in exercise and wellbeing.
Being physically active after a cancer diagnosis is linked to better cancer outcomes for several cancers, it can also help to improve post-operative outcomes and prevent cancer recurrence. However, exercise referral pathways for cancer patients remain inconsistent across the country as they are not yet been embedded across the cancer treatment pathway. Northamptonshire Sport and partners are leading the way with the We CAN-Move programme.
In 2020, Macmillan Research referred to physical activity as the ‘underrated wonder drug’ making the case for integrating physical activity into cancer care. Cancer diagnosis and treatments are improving, meaning many people are living longer. But those people surviving, are not necessarily living well with good quality of life, many are experiencing the disabling consequences of cancer treatment and multiple health conditions. Physical activity has a crucial role to play in both ‘pre-rehabilitation’ (before treatment) and rehabilitation afterwards.
We CAN-Move has been developed by Northamptonshire Sport in collaboration with the Macmillan Cancer Recovery Package, Public Health Northamptonshire and three local health and fitness providers. The referral pathway is based on supporting individuals to become active or stay active in an activity, or an appropriate intensity that is right for them. This means ensuring there is access to a range of trusted resources and activities locally both tailored for cancer and standard exercise sessions too.
A part of the programme that is expected to prove popular are the ‘Stretch to the Future’ free weekly yoga classes available at two locations or online.
Bethan Read, Programme Lead for the Macmillan Cancer Recovery Package said:
"Some individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer will prefer to engage in physical activity alone, rather than as part of formal group or organised activity. On the other hand there will be some who prefer to engage with people who are also living with cancer. So, we have not made assumptions about what activities individuals will want to access and have tried to include a menu of choice, including self-management options and the more formalised referral route.”
Developing the programme has also included increasing awareness amongst healthcare professionals of the importance of physical activity and providing them with the information and resources to refer or signpost cancer patients to physical activity.”
Jackie Browne, from Northamptonshire Sport said:
“Being physically active is the key to a healthy and happy life. It not only helps with prevention of many types of long term health conditions but also helps with treatment and recovery. The general advice is to move more and sit less, but also to try and gradually build up the amount of activity, working towards meeting the Chief Medical Officer guidelines of 150mins of moderate intensity physical activity per week.
Being active to recommended levels can help reduce the impact of side effects of cancer treatment such as fatigue, muscle wasting and decreased mobility. Being active and particularly with others also helps with mental health and can reduce anxiety and depression which can be one of the side effects of being diagnosed with cancer”.
We CAN-Move provides three routes to being more active, the best one can be chosen dependant on the individual’s needs.
For more information about the We CAN-Move visit
Contact: Jackie Browne Jackie.Browne@northamptonshiresport.org