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Exercise as medicine

November 9th, 2016

NBCF has a history of funding research that looks into the impact of exercise on reducing risk, enhancing recovery and contributing to quality of life for those affected by breast cancer. Such projects are often small scale research projects or pilot studies which have the potential to break new ground in technology or research methodology. These projects aim to provide ‘proof of principle’ which allows the researcher to seek further funding and potentially take it through to clinical trials and therapy development.

Professor Robert Newton
Co-director, Foundation Professor, Exercise Medicine Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, WA

Professor Robert Newton believes exercise is a powerful tool for those affected by breast cancer.

Bone is the most common location breast cancer spreads (metastasises) to and is found in 80 per cent of breast cancer patients with the advanced stage of disease. Once breast cancer spreads to bone, there are no effective treatments currently available.

Breast cancer in its advanced stage often spreads to the spine and pelvis, resulting in pain and stiffness that leads women to avoid physical activity which reduces their overall health.

Exercise has been shown to provide wide-ranging health benefits to cancer patients, such as survival, improved quality of life and reduced bone pain; therefore strategies to promote safe and effective delivery of exercise to women with advanced breast cancer and bone metastasis is very important.

Appropriate exercise is believed to have an anti-cancer effect, slowing tumour growth by changing tumour biology, as well as an ability to increase blood-flow to tumour sites which helps make other therapies, such as chemotherapy, more effective.

Professor Robert Newton and his team will deliver safe and effective exercise programs using resistance and aerobic exercise to women with advanced breast cancer. The investigation will evaluate reductions in tumour growth, improved quality of life, better physical function in muscle and bone and healthier heart and lungs.

The success of this initial program will provide Professor Newton with the critical pilot data necessary to build on NBCF’s seed funding and make the exercise regime accessible to everyone dealing with the symptoms of advanced breast cancer in Australia.