Cancer survivors get exercise program at Windsor hospital

A new exercise program at Windsor Regional Hospital is extending care for cancer patients.
Pat Chute, left, is a breast cancer survivor who golfed, curled and lawn bowled before her treatment. (CBC News)

A new exercise program at Windsor Regional Hospital is extending care for cancer patients.

The 'Renew' program focuses on getting patients back in physical shape after their cancer treatment.

The program is tailored to cancer survivors.

Erin Porter is a graduate student at the University of Windsor and the co-founder of the program.

She said cancer patients undergoing treatment lose muscle mass and are fatigued.

"They often have reduced mobility [and] reduced strength, so we're building all those areas," Porter said.

Pat Chute is a breast cancer survivor. She used to curl, golf and lawn bowl. She had to give all that up during treatments.

Her last treatment was six months ago and she's part of the Renew program.

"I would not have been aware how much I needed to do the specific exercising I need to," said Pat Chute. "I might have done some small things, but I don't think I would have been as informed. It's amazing what you learn in this class."

Oncologists like Dr. Caroline Hamm say the program is filling a gap in cancer care.

"When they're finished we say, 'take their pill a day or don't take anything and see me in 23 months,'" Hamm said. "All of a sudden, they're fighting it themselves and we don't give them many tools at that point to fight psychologically and physically."

The classes are held at Windsor Squash Fitness. The managers there donated a space for the program.

A new session begins Feb. 11. It is currently open to breast and colorectal cancer survivors.

"I'm much, much stronger," Chute said. "I'm doing most of what I want now."

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