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Exercise programme launches for patients receiving cancer treatment in hospital

A new cancer specific exercise programme, ‘CU on the Ward’, has launched for patients receiving cancer treatment at Worthing Hospital, University Hospital Sussex NHS Foundation Trust (UHSussex).

The initiative was created and funded by donations from a local charity, Cancer United, who specialise in improving the physical and mental wellbeing of those with cancer.

The new programme provides inpatients receiving treatment for cancer at Worthing Hospital with a free personalised exercise programme. The sessions have been developed by specialists and take into account the patient’s specific diagnosis and where they are in their cancer journey.

Sussex paramedic, Daniel Boardman, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at Worthing Hospital in February 2021, spearheaded the campaign.

He was inspired to set up the fund after a nurse brought an exercise bike into his room during one of his final chemotherapy sessions in hospital.

He said: “It felt amazing. It gave me energy and motivation to push through my last two sessions of treatment, and inspiration to begin fundraising for more exercise resource to be available on the ward.

“I really wanted others to feel the same way. Launching ‘CU on the Ward’ is an amazing feeling. To know that this initiative can hopefully help lots of other people is incredible.”

Image: Sussex paramedic -  Daniel Boardman

The programme is the first of its kind, created by a team of cancer exercise specialists and approved by clinicians working with and supporting Cancer United.

Dr John Laurie, Consultant Haematologist at UHSussex, said: “It’s so important for people to try and regain fitness levels during and after cancer treatment. One of the most frustrating things that I’ve seen as a physician is how quickly people decondition, lose muscle and lose fitness.

“The knock-on effect is that people are less likely to tolerate treatment and are less able to do well when they go home again. So, to have this project on the ward for people to try and maintain their fitness in a safe way that’s designed for people with cancer is truly amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcomes of it and all the benefits for patients.” 

Jan Sheward is the Founder and Chair of Cancer United. She said: “The launch of ‘CU on the Ward’ is an historic moment for Cancer United and University Hospitals Sussex. Together we have been able to fulfill the vision we had seven years ago, which was to extend our cancer specific exercise programme (CUFitter ®) to those undergoing treatment as inpatients. ‘CU on the Ward’ is ground-breaking and something we are immensely proud of. With the continued support of our clinical partners this will be able to help cancer patients nationwide.” 

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