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Moving on up – new exercise resources for cancer patients

For patients with cancer – from those recently diagnosed to post-treatment – regular exercise is recommended.
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Woman stretching her legIt is proven to be a safe and effective way to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments, improve quality of life and enhance physical function. Exercise can also increase energy, improve strength and fitness, enhance mood and optimize recovery.

There are two new, no-cost resources to support patients with cancer in exercising safely:

BC Cancer website – exercise support

A new Exercise Support area on BC Cancer’s website shares information on the benefits of exercise and links to additional resources, answers commonly asked questions and provides patients with tools to help them get started. 

From BC Cancer’s home page, this area can be found by going to “Health Info” and then “Coping with Cancer”.

HealthLink BC Physical Activity Services for Cancer

A first for Canada, HealthLink BC’s 8-1-1 telephone line is now offering cancer-specific exercise services delivered by qualified exercise professionals with cancer-specific training. This no-cost service is suitable for all cancer patients, including newly diagnosed and those undergoing active treatments. 

Individualized exercise support is delivered via phone and can help people with cancer to:
  • Start exercising safely
  • Understand how to use physical activity to reduce and manage treatment side effects
  • Develop and individualized physical activity plan
To access the service, patients simply call 8-1-1 and ask for “physical activity service for cancer”. It is available Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and no referral is necessary. Patients can also leave a message after hours, and translation services are available in more than 130 languages.

By providing a personalized service that is accessible to all cancer survivors in BC, it is hoped that more people can safely reap the benefits of exercise during and after cancer treatments.  

The initiative is being led by Dr. Ryna Levy-Milne (provincial lead, nutrition & rehabilitation at BC Cancer) and Dr. Kristin Campbell (director of the Clinical Exercise Physiology Laboratory at the University of British Columbia) and is being funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

About HealthLink BC 8-1-1
8-1-1 is a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line available in British Columbia. The 8-1-1 phone line is operated by HealthLink BC, which is part of the Ministry of Health. By calling 8-1-1, you can speak to a health service navigator, who can help you find health information and services; or connect you directly with a registered nurse, a registered dietitian, a qualified exercise professional or a pharmacist.
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