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Mater’s Breast and Endocrine services 'Return to Wellness Program' is back again helping a new group of people through their breast cancer journey thanks to a $33 000 grant from the Dry July Foundation.
Return to Wellness was developed by the Mater Breast Care team and supports breast cancer patients access a guided exercise program with a physiotherapist and breast care nurse. Patients also receive advice about their diet and lifestyle choices to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
All of the participants in the Return to Wellness program have recently undergone breast cancer treatment at the Mater Cancer Care Centre, and each have their own personal goals as to what they want to achieve from the program.
Jahnavi has just recently had surgery and just finished her radiation therapy but is finding it difficult to get motivated to start exercising again.
“Following my treatment I was very fatigued, and I thought this would be a good way to start exercising again, I feel more confident working out here rather than in a normal gym. The nurses are constantly monitoring us to make sure we are doing ok,” she said.
Lucinda is excited to start the program as she keen to increase her fitness, strength and muscle mass after going through her cancer journey.
“It is nice to know that everyone in the room is going through the same thing, it’s a safe supportive space where we can talk to each other and make new friends,” she said.
Cheryl has had a difficult cancer journey with multiple surgeries and some complications, she feels the classes offer a safe and supportive environment for her, rather than returning to a normal gym.
“I was previously very fit and active as a runner, since undergoing cancer treatment I have had so many problems with my arms. I am keen to get my strength back and focus on being able to lift things again,” she said.
Patricia is hoping she can develop more strength and increase her muscle mass throughout the classes, she said she feels more confident and comfortable exercising here with the same team who support her through her treatment.
“Since undergoing chemotherapy I have a few creaks and cracks in my body from being so unwell, my main goal is to get the use of my arms back, so I can return to full time work as a disability support worker,” Patricia said.
Senior Physiotherapist Oncology Services Leah McIntyre who runs the Return to Wellness Program with the support of breast care nurses Jen Dalton and Michelle Hawksworth said because the classes are smaller they are able to help each participant reach their individual goals.
“Our exercise programs are tailored to our participants individual needs, medical status and personal goals. Cancer treatment takes its toll on the body and we are focused on helping them regain both their strength and confidence,” she said.
“This is an important part of our patient’s recovery and we are so proud to be able to offer this service here at the Mater and are so thankful to Dry July for their support.”
To find out more about Mater’s Cancer Care Services please contact 07 3163 5200 or visit the website https://www.mater.org.au/health/services/cancer-services to find out more about Return to Wellness you can speak with your care team.
Pictured (left to right: Leah (Mater physiotherapist), Patricia, Lucinda, Cheryl, Jahnavi and Jade (Mater physiotherapy assistant).