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Published: 28 January 2014

'Rest is not best' say University of Surrey academics ahead of World Cancer Day

In recognition of World Cancer Day on 4 February 2014, University of Surrey academics will demonstrate how exercise can be used to take positive action against cancer.

A man stretching muscles before doing exercise

This will include details of their own research areas, such as the use of exercise for people who are surgically treated for lung cancer and men with prostate cancer.  Joe Wainwright will also highlight the GP exercise referral service he leads at Surrey Sports Park. Here, specially trained staff provide an exercise-based rehabilitation programme for people with cancer following their surgery.

“The mind-set of ‘rest is best’ has been challenged and positive results are showing that exercise is safe and beneficial for people living with and beyond cancer,” said Dr Lisa McCann, Senior Lecturer in Cancer Care at the University of Surrey.

“Evidence clearly shows the benefits of exercise for people during and after treatment for cancer. Physiological benefits, including increased aerobic fitness and reduced fatigue, as well as psychological benefits such as reduced depression, have been shown in people who take part in exercise. In addition, the evidence suggests that sufficient levels of exercise may also reduce the risk of recurrence in some cancers.”

The event will draw on an inspirational story from Jonathan Acott, Head of Operations at Surrey Sports Park who has survived cancer three times. “I was fortunate that due to my fitness and a number of other factors, my body dealt with chemotherapy and surgery a lot better than it could have done,” he said. “In particular, with my second procedure, a LHS full lateral thoracotomy which involves opening up the chest, my strength and fitness meant I was released from hospital after three days, when normal recovery time is much longer.”

Jonathan has since climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End and taken part in the France Ironman, involving a 2.4 mile swim in open water, a 112 mile bike ride and a marathon back-to-back.

The event will also take a look into the future of cancer treatment, including the ways technology can help personalise care with Professor Hardev Pandha, Professor of Medical Oncology and Consultant Medical Oncologist at University of Surrey.