Helping cancer patients get back to life, work and wellness

By

27/07/2018

SPONSORED CONTENT | More people are surviving cancer than ever before. In Australia alone, death rates have fallen by 24% in the past 30 years[1] and 68% of all people diagnosed with cancer survive[2]. But despite the incredible advancements and improvements to treatment, genomic medicine and immunology, cancer patients often struggle to get back to everyday life – even in remission.

Cancer survivors experience a range of symptoms including anxiety as a result of fear of recurrence which prevent them from returning to work and wellbeing, and up to 38% of Australians never return to work following cancer treatment[3].

AIA Australia and New Zealand CEO Damien Mu explains further, “Our partners and their members have told us that it is often a big adjustment transitioning from the active stage of cancer treatment back into a normal routine. When medical support suddenly ceases, the person recovering from cancer often struggles to return to a normal life. Many are left with fatigue, “chemo fog”, deconditioning, and sometimes depression and anxiety. We provide strategies and expert advice to minimise these symptoms and to support these members back to wellbeing and eventually to work.”

AIA Australia have developed a suite of Cancer Recovery services (CaRe™) and programs to address the unique challenges cancer patients and survivors face in their recovery. These services complement existing medical treatments and can help tackle the other physical and psychological side effects that can hinder progress if they remain untreated.

CaRe Movement

Exercise during cancer treatment has a number of benefits, with evidence of tumour suppression and reduced tumour presence[4], reduced fatigue associated with cancer treatment[5] and improved chemotherapy completion rates[6] to name a few. CaRe Movement™ is designed to help in this space. The early intervention program adopts a holistic, whole person approach using exercise physiology, nutrition and mindfulness to aid cancer recovery.

“We’re seeing participants of CaRe Movement become stronger, more confident and less anxious,” says Chris Sinclair, Director and Exercise Physiologist, Exphys Rehab.

“Members have more energy and their physical and mental fatigue is reducing. Their motivation levels increase. Importantly, members are returning to work and life activities faster.”

It also assists members to maintain work capacity as they undergo cancer treatment, which Sinclair says “provides a sense of confidence for sound return to work decision making.”

RESTORE CaRe

Another way we’re making a difference in our members’ lives is through our holistic wellness program for cancer survivors, RESTORE CaRe™. We’ve taken the learnings from our RESTORE™ program for mental health to develop this wellness program to address the unique health challenges faced by cancer survivors.

The program aims to:

  • Identify the barriers preventing them from enjoying life and returning to work post-cancer, and
  • Find solutions to overcome these barriers.

While concluding medical treatment is a significant milestone, the recovery doesn’t stop here. A cancer survivor’s journey back to life, work and wellness continues well beyond their discharge from care, and there needs to be more support provided during the treatment and transition phases.

Through these Cancer Recovery services we continue to provide support to our members in their time of need, and help them to live healthier, longer, better lives.

Learn more about AIA Australia.

[1] https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/facts-and-figures.html

[2] https://canceraustralia.gov.au/affected-cancer/what-cancer/cancer-australia-statistics

[3] Bradley, C. J. and H. L. Bednarek (2002) “Employment patterns of long-term cancer survivors.” Psycho-Oncology 11(3). Carter, O.

[4] Pedersen et al., Voluntary Running Suppresses Tumor Growth through Epinephrine- and IL-6-Dependent NK Cell Mobilization and Redistribution. Cell Metabolism, 2016; 23, 554–562

[5] Cramp F, Byron-Daniel J. Exercise for the management of cancer-related fatigue in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD006145. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006145.pub3

[6] Courneya KS, Segal RJ, Mackey JR, et al. Effects of aerobic and resistance exercise in breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol. 2007; 25: 4396-4404