Person running on treadmill

Exercise is Medicine

A world first

Until recently, the advice given to cancer patients during their treatment was to get plenty of rest.

Now, Genesis Cancer Clinic in Joondalup, Western Australia, has an exercise clinic set up next to their treatment suites. So patients can receive supervised prescribed exercise programs on the same day they receive their chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

This treatment revolution is largely a result of the work of ECU’s Exercise Medicine Research Institute, within the School of Medical & Health Sciences, led by Professor Daniel Galvão.

A step into the unknown

Western Australia's 2019 Scientist of the Year and ECU Professor Rob Newton has spent the past 15 years developing exercise medicine for the management of cancer. Professor Newton explained to the ABC science show Catalyst that having an exercise clinic in the same building as chemotherapy and radiotherapy suites was a world first.

"It was a bit of a step into the unknown (for oncologists) because chemotherapy is a very difficult journey for the patient and we were proposing to have their patients exercise on top of that," he said.

"Now the results we are seeing from the patients are just fantastic."

"There is emerging evidence that reaching a certain level of fitness can reduce the chance of death from cancer by as much as 50 per cent."

Typical decline in muscle mass during chemotherapy
Being active keeps a healthy weight which reduces the risk of 13 different types of cancer.
60 minutes of exercise per day can reduce risk of developing cancer.
ECU team is leading the world in exercise research for prostate cancer.

Key role for ECU in $2.5m cancer research centre

Survivors of prostate cancer will be the big winners from a new research centre that will bring together Australia’s top prostate cancer experts.

ECU will play a key role in a world-first Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in Prostate Cancer Survivorship, funded through a $2.5m National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant.

Prostate cancer facts

Ten Australian men are told every hour that they have prostate cancer. Of these, three will have clinically high distress and long-term unmet psychological needs.

Most of these men will experience sexual morbidity and half of these men will have long-term unmet sexual support needs.

Only two of these 10 men will be sufficiently physically active. Eight will be overweight or obese.

Improving lives

ECU's Exercise Medicine Research Institute Professor Rob Newton said that while the rate of survival for men with prostate cancer has never been higher, the disease can have a devastating impact on their quality of life.

"This Centre will target these critical problems impacting men following prostate cancer diagnosis to improve not only quality of life but extend survival," Professor Newton said.

The Centre for Research Excellence in Prostate Cancer is a collaboration between ECU, Griffith University, Cancer Council Queensland, Cancer Council NSW, Monash University, University of Adelaide and the University of Queensland.

Exercise as medicine

The Exercise Medicine Research Institute has been at the forefront of research examining how exercise acts as a medicine to improve the lives of men with prostate cancer for the past 10 years.

Be at the forefront.

* Response required

Other research projects