British cancer patients get sports compensation: ‘This should also be done in the Netherlands’

The BBC reported that about 2,500 patients are eligible for the program. The point is that they are Exercise three times a week They are therefore “fit to compete” when they have to submit to their harsh treatment.

In consultation with the doctor

The exercise program consists of intense cardio fitness, strength training, nutritional advice and mental health guidance. The start date will be determined in consultation with your doctor.

The NHS chief executive told the BBC: “There is increasing evidence that it is worth trying to get back into shape before undergoing chemotherapy or major surgery. Anyone who does this is shortening their recovery period before starting treatment.”

Out in 9 days

More than 500 patients have already started the programme, including 68-year-old David Fowles. He told British Radio that he underwent surgery that took 10.5 hours. “I was told I would have to stay in hospital for two to four weeks. I was discharged again nine days later.”

“I couldn’t believe it. It’s all thanks to the exercise programme, it’s amazing. If someone had told me last February that I would go to the gym, I would have laughed.”

Fewer side effects

Professor and sports scientist Anne May from UMC Utrecht confirms that exercising during cancer treatment is a good idea. She conducts research on the benefits of exercise for cancer patients. “If patients exercise two to three times a week, as they are required to do in the UK programme, they experience fewer side effects from the treatment.”

Benefits of exercising during cancer treatment

According to the International Guidelines for Exercise for People with Cancer, people who exercise for half an hour three times a week are expected to:

  • They suffer less from anxiety
  • Less depressive feelings
  • You experience less fatigue
  • Better quality of life
  • Better physical performance

And in the Netherlands as well

KWF would like to see a similar program also offered in the Netherlands and reimbursed by insurance. “You can’t say this is good for every cancer patient, it’s tailored.”

“There are patients who are already elderly or very sick when they are diagnosed, but there are also those who are diagnosed before they have physical complaints, for example during a medical examination,” explains hospital spokeswoman Misha Stupentsky. “As far as we are concerned, every cancer patient who wants to do so should be able to exercise.”

Depending on the diagnosis

He would totally agree. “Obviously, whether you can exercise before treatment depends on how you feel. It also depends on the diagnosis. In some types of cancer, there is a longer time between diagnosis and the start of treatment than in other types. But in principle, I advise every patient to exercise.” “

According to May, you don’t have to exercise for very long to see an effect on treatment, such as a shorter hospital stay after surgery. After four to six weeks of “sufficient intensity” exercise, people actually become fitter for surgery.

Also during treatment

“But I recommend continuing to exercise during and after treatment. Patients with colon cancer or breast cancer who are undergoing a chemotherapy program (the two groups in which we studied this) are less tired when they exercise and also feel exercise as a positive thing for their lives. The days they don’t “She is physically fit because of the treatment.”

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Like the KWF, May hopes that health insurance companies in the Netherlands will also reimburse sports for cancer patients. “In the Netherlands, this is sometimes partially compensated for by supplementary insurance, but it is not included in the basic insurance. We have discussed this for a long time to achieve this.”

Amber Webster

 "Freelance zombie fanatic. Devoted web advocate. Analyst. Writer. Coffee fanatic. Travelaholic. Proud food aficionado."

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