Sometimes, the biggest battle for cancer patients comes after surgery

Lloyd and Beth

Sometimes, the hardest part of recovering from cancer is the battle to get fit and healthy again.
After surgery or chemotherapy, your body can feel harder to move than ever before.
And the exhausting effect of the treatment can sometimes mean it is hard to motivate yourself.
So far Move More Wandsworth has helped over 50 people living with a range of different cancers and ages from 22-82.
Participants on the programme have all had different experiences of cancer but Move More has helped them get active in a way that’s right for them.
The service starts with an informal chat to discuss people’s personal reason for wanting to become active and make individualised plans.
The aim is to help people motivate themselves to achieve their own goals, for some people this might be something simple like walking further without getting tired for others a programme to use within the gym might be recommended.
Owen Carter, Macmillan GP for Wandsworth says: “More and more research is showing that physical activity can play a huge role in cancer recovery and we now know that the old advice to ‘rest up’ is outdated.
“The research shows that people who are active manage symptoms such as fatigue and depression much better and are at a lower risk of future health problems.
“We understand that getting active after cancer treatment can be a huge challenge and the effects of cancer treatment can create barriers. That’s why we have the Macmillan Move More service, it helps people make physical activity manageable.
“It doesn’t matter if you have never been an active before, it’s never too late to start making positive changes.”
Lloyd, aged 59 from Balham has been with the service since March 2017.
Lloyd said: “I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and started treatment in July 2016. I finished in December 2016 and since then things have been up and down. Getting over fatigue was a huge issue and I still have episodes of tiredness and illness.
“The whole experience made me evaluate my life and taking care of my own health is now a priority. I have two daughters and two grandsons and I want to be as active as possible for them. Once my treatment was over I was really motivated to get back into fitness as I knew it would help me get my energy levels back.
“However, getting back into fitness was a big mental challenge.  I gained weight after my treatment and my confidence was low. During the session you meet people with all types of cancers.
“It’s great to talk to people with similar experiences but it also made me realise that everyone is affected differently and you have to do things within your own limits. I always feel better after each session.
“I am now back at work, although it has been difficult I feel that my energy levels have increased and I can now work for longer without being wiped out. I know that being active, even if it’s only a little bit each week has helped increase my energy. It’s great that the Move More service is able help people increase their confidence, I think most people feel overwhelmed but everyone one has to start somewhere.”
Move More Wandsworth is a service set up by Enable Leisure and Sport in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support.
The service is suitable for people at any stage of cancer, whether still in treatment or on the road to recovery. To take part in the new scheme, or to find out more, please contact Beth Brown, Macmillan Move More Coordinator for Wandsworth on 020 8871 6756 or email waccg.movemorewandsworth@nhs.net.
Move More Wandsworth and Enable Leisure and Culture took part in Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning last week and raised an impressive £439.64 for cancer support.
There are 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK. One in two people are likely to get cancer in their lifetimes. Cancer can affect everything, including a person’s body, relationships and finances.
Macmillan Cancer Support provides practical, emotional and personal support to people affected by cancer every year. The charity is there to support people during treatment, help with work and money worries, and listen when people need to talk about their feelings.

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