Cancer and the side effects of cancer treatments leave patients struggling to regain the quality of life they experienced before cancer diagnosis. The majority of patients will experience an array of symptoms such as nausea, pain, fatigue, and depression to name just a few. Carole Schneider, RMCRI Director, became interested in using exercise and nutrition as an intervention for cancer rehabilitation because of personal experiences. Carole was diagnosed with cancer and received extensive external and internal radiation, which left her struggling with many side effects especially fatigue and muscle weakness. There appeared to be no answers to help her overcome the negative effects of radiation. Thus, she and her physician began exploring the literature to find answers. While investigating the possible interventions to alleviate Carole’s symptoms, they found that the negative cancer treatment toxicities were closely related to the positive effects that are observed with exercise. They investigated further and found that there was minimal information on post cancer treatment interventions with most information being on the treatment of psychological effects. They began asking themselves, “what interventions could alleviate the physiological side effects of cancer treatments.” Since the beneficial effects of exercise closely mirrored the negative effects of cancer treatment side effects, they decided to begin RMCRI to help cancer survivors regain the quality of life they had before cancer through exercise and nutrition interventions. Carole was the first cancer survivor in the Institute and the program helped her regain her health and feel “well” again. Since that time they have worked with hundreds of cancer survivors and have found significant improvements both physiologically and psychologically in their patients. Consistently, they found that patients during and following treatment improve their functional work capacity, muscular strength and endurance, range of motion, pulmonary function, balance, and agility with concomitant decreases in fatigue and depression following an individualized prescriptive exercise and nutrition intervention.
- To provide scientifically-based individualized prescriptive exercise interventions for cancer patients.
- To provide basic and clinical research for the purpose of alleviating cancer treatment-related symptoms.
- To provide advanced educational preparation and professional development to promote high standards in cancer rehabilitation.
- To promote increased functional capacity for cancer patients during and following treatment.
- To provide complete health and fitness assessments, individualized exercise prescriptions, and one-on-one rehabilitative exercise sessions with a trained cancer exercise specialist.
- Research conducted at the Institute supports the use of individualized prescriptive exercise as an appropriate intervention for treatment-related symptoms and for promoting a better quality of life for cancer patients.