Exercise proves powerful medicine for prostate cancer survivors

A group of determined men are working up a sweat to fight against prostate cancer, with help from the University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) Sport and Exercise students.


For the past three months, members of the Ipswich Prostate Cancer Support Group (IPCSG) have been taking part in exercise rehabilitation classes to regain their strength and reduce urinary incontinence, a common side effect of prostate cancer surgery.


The classes are held at USQ Ipswich’s Sport and Exercise Clinic, which conducts student-led individual and group sessions under the supervision of an exercise physiologist accredited with Exercise and Sports Science Australia.


All the exercises are tailored to each participant’s abilities, with an emphasis on strengthening pelvic floor muscles and core stability.


IPCSG co-conveyor Dennis Ellis, a cancer survivor and participant in the program, said the classes have helped in more ways than one.


“I don’t think any of us would have the confidence to attempt something like this on our own,” Mr Eilis said.


“While it’s still early, everyone is starting to see the benefits.


“We all feel good about ourselves, plus we get to spend more time socialising and sharing our experiences in a different environment.


“The USQ students are excellent and the feedback they provide is very helpful.”

Dennis Ellis receives encouragement from USQ student Jaiden Schroder.

Clinic manager Merendi Leverett said evidence shows that physical activity is essential for reducing and treating cancer-related side-effects, and improving health outcomes and quality of life.


“Cancer treatment can take a huge physical and emotional toll on people, so the ultimate aim of this program is to not only get the client physically active again, but enjoying themselves,” Ms Leverett said.


“By working closely with the students, they learn how to use the exercise equipment properly and which exercises are important for their condition, while receiving ongoing support and encouragement.


“This low-cost, evidence-based service meets the needs of cancer survivors and people with chronic health conditions, and provides a type of care that isn’t offered by many health providers in the area.”


Jaiden Schroder is one of the students working with the group.


Mr Schroder is in his fourth year of a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise (Honours), majoring in Clinical Exercise Physiology, and said the program allowed him to further develop and apply his clinical skills in a professional setting with actual clients.


“The most rewarding part is knowing the difference I have made to the lives of people, like the men in the prostate cancer support group,” he said.


“They all say they have seen improvements since they started coming to the clinic, which is really good to hear.”


USQ’s Sport and Exercise Clinic provides professional experience and training for USQ’s Sport and Exercise students and offers a low-cost exercise rehabilitation service for the community.


For more information, visit the USQ Ipswich Sport and Exercise Clinic webpage. 


26 October 2018.