Patients receiving treatment for breast cancer at Ipswich Hospital are now able to take part in special sessions to help them stay active, enjoy a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight.
Ten courses have been organised to help people who are having treatment to manage their weight effectively, in turn reducing the chance that they will develop diabetes or cardiovascular disease, or that the cancer will return.
Those taking part attend six sessions made up of an hour of tailored physical activity led by a qualified instructor, followed by 90-minutes of practical nutrition advice provided by oncology dietitian Debbie Taylor. They can also take part in monthly follow-ups after completing the course where they can get further advice and support.
The pilot has been funded by Macmillan, with sessions taking place in a variety of community locations over the year.
“We are really pleased to have received funding from Macmillan to allow us to run these valuable courses,” said Debbie. “Up to ten patients at a time can take part, which means we can potentially reach 100 people over the course of the pilot.
“Having treatment for breast cancer can make it harder to maintain a healthy weight as the treatment itself can promote weight gain. We hope that these sessions will help people embrace healthy habits so they can manage their weight, in turn reducing the chances of developing further health problems such as diabetes. A healthy lifestyle is also key in helping to prevent cancer from reoccurring.
“Feedback from the courses we have run so far have been really positive, with everyone enjoying the physical activity sessions and finding the nutritional information useful. Patients also told us they valued the opportunity to meet up with others in a similar situation and share concerns and offer mutual support.”
A course has recently been held at the Quaker Meeting House in Ipswich, while further sessions are also scheduled in Eye, Rushmere and Coddenham. Patients who feel they may benefit should speak to their nurse or consultant.
Individual nutritional support is also available for patients who are not comfortable in a group setting.
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