Aim. COSA considers the level of evidence sufficient to recognise exercise as an adjunct therapy but only 1 in 10 people with cancer adhere with exercise guidelines. This project aims to develop, implement and evaluate a sustainable and scalable model of care for population-wide implementation of affordable, accessible and effective exercise medicine for people with cancer.
Methods. EX-MED Cancer is a patient centred model of care involving a coordinated pathway between the multidisciplinary cancer team, general practitioners and exercise physiologists. The model capitalises on existing health-care and community-based workforce, services and resources. EX-MED Cancer provides people with any type of cancer access to personalised exercise medicine using evidence-based practice delivered in the community by upskilled allied health professionals. Participants receive three individual sessions and 36 group-based exercise sessions delivered over a 4-month period. Behaviour change theories guiding the content and delivery of EX-MED Cancer. Participants receive an individualised plan developed by their exercise physiologist including a detailed strategy for transition to self-management.
Results. Preliminary analyses were conducted to evaluate the level of engagement with EX-MED Cancer. 680 patient enquiries have been received over the ~9 months of operation, equating to ~20 referrals weekly. Referrals came from patients (74%), nurses (8%), specialists (6%) and family/carers (4%). Patients were informed about EX-MED Cancer primarily through their hospital (50%) or word-of-mouth/social media (20%). Patients were diagnosed with over 20 different types of cancer, primarily breast (48%), haematological (15%), prostate (9%) and lung (5%) cancers. The majority of patients are women (72%). The main motivators to contact EX-MED Cancer were to improve wellbeing (54%) and to comply with their doctors/nurses advice (27%). Initial contact/referral through the website (72%) was preferred over phone (23%) or email (5%).
Conclusions. The engagement with EX-MED Cancer demonstrates a significant demand for exercise to be integrated into cancer care.