Exercise For Cancer


Designed and developed by DNA Health Group, Movement Against Cancer (MAC) is an evidence-based, clinical exercise program for people currently living with cancer and cancer survivors. MAC aims to increase the quality and quantity of life in people with cancer by guiding participants through an appropriate set of activities specifically tailored to improve treatment and health outcomes.  The program is prescribed and supervised by Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) – allied health professionals with a minimum 4-year university degree in exercise prescription and lifestyle modification programs for the prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries.

Research has proven physical activity to be a safe and effective therapy in the management of cancer.  While there was a time not so long ago when doctors and specialists ordered cancer sufferers to ‘take it easy’ and get some bed rest, increasing evidence in recent years has left little doubt that physical activity can be extremely valuable in assisting cancer sufferers to cope with their treatment. It is now becoming standard recommendation from treating physicians that patients include exercise in their overall management plan both during and after their treatment.

While it is common for cancer suffers and their loved ones fear that exercise may exacerbate their condition, activity is considered to be safe when initiated at an appropriate level and progressed gradually. Aside from managing the generally universal side-effects of fatigue, low motivation, a compromised immune system and reduced overall fitness, specific care is also taken into account for survivors of particular cancers, which each present it’s own set of challenges.

What are the benefits of the MAC program?

  • Improved energy levels
  • Reduction in treatment side effects (such as pain and nausea)
  • Decreased hospitalisation time
  • Increase in muscle strength and flexibility
  • Better immune function
  • Enhanced mood and self-esteem

 And perhaps most importantly, research also suggests that exercise after diagnosis may improve survival rates – particularly for breast and colon cancer.

What does the MAC program involve?

The MAC program runs over the course of 12 weeks, and consists of an initial health and fitness assessment, a one on one consultation to individually develop a program specific to your particular needs, group exercise sessions, and a follow-up re-assessment at the conclusion of the program. An Exercise Physiologist will be with you every step of the way, supervising and supporting you during each and every session, and closely monitoring important factors such as technique and intensity to ensure you are exercising safely and effectively. The EP will also be available to chat during your sessions should you have any questions or require any advice on your exercise treatment (e.g. what activity you are doing at home) and other related issues.

Who is eligible to take part in the program?

Patients who are currently undergoing treatment for cancer-related illness, or have undertaken treatment within the past 2 years. The program is suitable whether you were previously inactive and require a safe initiation into a physical activity program, or you were previously active and require guidance returning to exercise.

Do I require a doctor’s referral to take part?

  • If you are currently undergoing treatment, a medical clearance from your doctor or specialist is required prior to commencing the program (your Exercise Physiologist can help you obtain this).
  • If you have ceased treatment, no referral is required, though it is always recommended that you check with your treating medical practitioner prior to beginning any new exercise program.

Is the program eligible for any rebates?

If you are eligible for the MAC program, it is also highly likely that you are entitled to a referral from your treating physician under the Medicare scheme known as the Enhanced Primary Care Plan. The EPC plan qualifies you for sizeable rebate for a maximum of 5 visits within a 12-month period for allied health services, including Exercise Physiology. While not essential, an EPC referral for a minimum of 3 sessions will allow you to access the individual sessions (initial assessment, exercise consultation and follow-up assessment) at no out of pocket cost. If you are an eligible DVA card holder, and your GP or specialist deems you eligible for Exercise Physiology treatment, the entire MAC program including group sessions, will attract no out of pocket cost. It is important to note that you can only be referred under the EPC plan and DVA by your general practitioner or medical specialist; thus we recommend you discuss your options with your treating physician prior to enrolling in the program.

You may be also able to claim a refund from your private health fund depending on your provider and level of cover.  We recommend checking with your provider, or speak to your Exercise Physiologist if you are unsure.

 How do I get started?

If you would like to enrol into the MAC program, or would simply like more information for yourself or a family member / friend, simply call us on (03) 9555 1221 or visit www.movementagainstcancer.com.au.

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