PEI

Breast cancer patients, survivors wanted for UPEI exercise study

UPEI's applied human sciences department is looking for 15 to 20 people who have or had breast cancer to participate in a 12-week exercise program to determine if exercise will benefit them during treatment and after.

Programs will run in fall and winter in 12-week sessions

UPEI will host two exercise programs for breast cancer patients and survivors to determine how exercise might help their physical and mental wellbeing. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

UPEI's applied human sciences department is looking for 15 to 20 people who have or had breast cancer to participate in a 12-week exercise program to determine if exercise will benefit them during treatment and after.

Assistant professor Travis Saunders says the program will be tailored to each person's fitness level and abilities. 

"So what we'll do the first week is we'll have them come in, we'll do some basic testing and see sort of where they're at right now and then we'll have a 12-week group program that will happen every week."

Saunders said once the program is complete, follow-up testing will be done with participants to see how much they've improved.

"Have they gotten stronger, do they feel better or that sort of thing at the end of the program." 

Physical and mental benefits

Saunders said most people know exercise helps to make people feel better both physically and mentally. 

"We really don't have programs for people going through cancer treatment in P.E.I. The idea is to offer this program and to evaluate what are the benefits, what do people like about it, what would they like us to change." 

Saunders said the long-term goal is to create a more formal program people could sign up for if they get a cancer diagnosis.

The plan is to have two exercise programs — one in the fall, the other in the winter. Saunders encourages people to contact him to see if they would be a good fit for the program.

Participants will perform low to moderate resistance exercise and aerobic exercise at stations set up in the lab. 

"You will move through the course and over that 30 to 40 minutes you will get a nice overall workout." 

Health improvement

While things like stamina and mobility will be measured, Saunders said they will look at improvements in functional fitness to help with things in their day-to-day lives. 

People with breast cancer or survivors are being asked to participate in an exercise study at UPEI.

"We'll also have a lot of questions related to people's mental health, their symptoms related to their cancer treatment, because we know those things often improve more than the actual physical measures," he said.

"We really want to know not just can you walk farther, can you lift more weight but do you feel better, and are you less tired, are you sleeping better cause those things are also really important to people's health." 

Saunders said the fall session will be starting the week of Sept. 10 but those interested can join any time. 

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With files from Laura Chapin

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