Fit to Thrive proven to help cancer patients’ health and quality of life | Leukaemia Foundation

Fit to Thrive proven to help cancer patients’ health and quality of life

Wednesday, 06 August 2014 


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An evaluation of the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland’s new pilot exercise program has shown improved outcomes for blood cancer patients in strength, flexibility, and even mental health.

Four groups have now completed the Fit to Thrive 12 week medical exercise program, which is run in partnership with Aspire Fitness and Rehabilitation at Woolloongabba.

All 24 participants had been affected by a blood cancer or disorder in some way, whether they were in the middle of chemotherapy, in preparation for a stem cell transplant or other treatment, or had completed treatment and were looking to improve their functional ability.

An initial report outlined an assessment of basic statistical data gathered from the first four groups to complete Fit to Thrive and measured key objectives such as their Waist to Hip ratio, a six minute walk test, and various strength, balance, and quality of life tests.

At the start of the Fit to Thrive program, nearly half of the participants were in a moderate or at risk group for weight-related health. By the final week of the program, this figure dropped to 20%.

Even more impressive was the six minute walk test: the distance one participant could walk in six minutes increased from 35m to 331m over the duration of the program—an improvement of 946%.

In addition to physical gains, participants also showed improvements in mental wellbeing and mental health.

By week 12, all patients had improved in each Quality of Life measure taken—a drastic improvement from week one, when no one met any of the criteria.

While these are so far small participant numbers to allow extrapolation, the expansion of the Fit to Thrive program to include further participants will allow for more detailed analysis.

Carolyn Clews had previously suffered from anxiety, depression, nausea, and a weight loss of over 10kg from her already slim frame, as a result of her myeloma treatment.

After completing Fit to Thrive, she has gained more than 3kg, as well as more strength, balance, and confidence.

Bob Clews, Carolyn’s carer and husband, has seen significant improvements in his wife’s health and happiness.

“I am truly amazed that this exercise program has created such a positive physical and mental outcome over a short period. Carolyn doesn’t miss a daily home exercise session and has gotten her appetite back,” he said.

Fit to Thrive was developed in consultation with allied health professionals and haematologists, and joins other free Foundation Support Services such as counselling, information, seminars, grief support, carer support, financial assistance and accommodation.

Fit to thrive may be suitable for anyone who has been affected by leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, aplastic anaemia, amyloidosis, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), or a related blood disorder.


About the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland
The Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the care and cure of patients and families living with blood cancers and related disorders. The Foundation provides free support services to help patients and families as they face diagnosis, treatment, and the future.

About Aspire Fitness and Rehabilitation
Aspire is a centre for delivery of late stage rehabilitation, strength and conditioning programming, and medically-specific rehabilitation services.


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Media contact:
Ally Tutkaluk, Support Services Communications Officer, Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland
P: 61 7 3055 8233 E: