New DVD produced by Ipswich Hospital will help women recover from breast cancer at home

As part of the Survivorship Project-supporting people living with and beyond cancer,Ipswich Hospital

As part of the Survivorship Project-supporting people living with and beyond cancer,Ipswich Hospital is launching a new Exercise Therapy for breast cancer patients. Back L-R Jenny Haynes, Rachel Clifton,Julie Finbow,Louise Smith,Sue Doe. FrontL-R Zoe George,Theresa Palmer. - Credit: Archant

Women who have been treated for breast cancer at Ipswich Hospital can now continue their rehabilitation at home with the release of a pioneering exercise DVD, writes Gemma Mitchell.

As part of the Survivorship Project-supporting people living with and beyond cancer,Ipswich Hospital

As part of the Survivorship Project-supporting people living with and beyond cancer,Ipswich Hospital is launching a new Exercise Therapy for breast cancer patients. Instructors ,Zoe George and Theresa Palmer with their DVD. - Credit: Archant

It provides a step-by-step guide to exercises specifically designed to help tackle some of the common problems associated with treatment, which can include stiffness, lack of strength and restricted movement in the shoulders, neck and back.

The Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Programme DVD has been put together by hospital staff working closely with qualified instructors Zoe George and Theresa Palmer.

The initiative is believed to be the first of its kind in the country and follows the success of the hospital’s breast cancer exercise class programme, which is offered to everyone who has received treatment and is held over six weeks in Felixstowe and Ipswich.

Macmillan survivorship lead Louise Smith, who is based at Ipswich’s John Le Vay Cancer Support and Information Centre, has been instrumental in the DVD’s launch. She said: “We’ve had some really good feedback from people who have tried the exercises, and say their range of movement has improved and they have less pain, discomfort and tightness around scars. This is great news as it means they are able to get back to doing the things they enjoy more quickly.

“It’s really important for people who have been treated for breast cancer to stay active, as a healthy lifestyle is key in helping to prevent the cancer from reoccurring. Macmillan have described exercise as the new wonder drug.

“The peer support and everything that this group can offer really does help people get their lives back to where they want them to be so that’s why we have been motivated to make the DVD.

As part of the Survivorship Project-supporting people living with and beyond cancer,Ipswich Hospital

As part of the Survivorship Project-supporting people living with and beyond cancer,Ipswich Hospital is launching a new Exercise Therapy for breast cancer patients. Consultant Oncoplastic Breat Surgeon,Caroline Mortimer and Rachel Clifton. - Credit: Archant

Most Read

“Patients will need to carry on doing these exercises for the rest of their lives, and we hope the DVD will give them any guidance they may need to do just that.”

The DVD coaches people through exercises designed to improve posture, range of movement, shoulder and upper back strength, redress the balance in the upper body and reduce the risk of lymphoedema.

It is broken down into short workouts that allow people to take control of their recovery and gives them the confidence to continue their rehabilitation at home.

Mrs George, who runs the breast cancer rehabilitation classes at her personal training studio Fit Club in Creeting St Mary, said she and Ms Palmer felt privileged to be able to help patients with their recovery.

She added: “Cancer touches all of us at some point in our lives and it gives me as a trainer a massive amount of job satisfaction knowing that I have helped somebody.”

The DVD features talks from breast cancer experts, including nurses and a surgeon, which Mrs George said set it apart from other rehabilitation exercise programmes.

“I think what that does is it gives people confidence in what they are looking at, and I think it’s the first of its kind in that perspective,” she added. “It’s real people with real qualifications who really understand their topic, also backed up by those people who are treating the patients at the hospital. That’s why I think it’s so special.”

The team is now looking at creating a exercise class and a workshop specifically for men affected by prostate cancer, and for women with gynaecological cancers who have had abdominal surgery.

Mrs George said the long-term aim was to create a series of DVDs that could guide people with all different types of cancers through therapeutic exercises.

The breast cancer DVD has been paid for with charitable funds and is available from the John Le Vay Cancer Information Centre. It is free for anyone who has received treatment at Ipswich Hospital or can be purchased at www.exercisetherapyonline.com.