WGHG’s ICAN project is leading the way working with cancer patients to help them improve exercise and healthy eating. The free program, which provides health coaching and counselling, now has 40 people enrolled since it began in September last year.
The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) has just released recommendations that exercise should be prescribed as a standard part of cancer care to help counteract the effects of cancer and its treatments.
West Gippsland Healthcare Group (WGHG) received a grant from the Victorian Government to develop a program for cancer survivors in the Baw Baw Shire.
WGHG Dietitian, Ngan Vo, said the response from the community had been very encouraging.
“We started the program with a small grant expecting to begin with 20 participants but that has quickly grown.”
She said unfortunately the Baw Baw community has some of the poorest cancer survival rates in the State and a high chronic disease rate with obesity above 50%.
“ICAN aims to improve that by working one-on-one with people providing them with individualised nutrition, exercise, coaching and counselling to improve their health, fitness and lifestyle. The recommendations from COSA support this.”
“Data collected so far shows positive trends with participants having recorded a 50% increase in exercise participation and positive changes to food choices and we will continue to track this.”
ICAN is a collaboration with WGHG, Monash University, Gippsland Primary Health Network and local community partners. WGHG Oncology Unit’s Manager Anny Byrne said a stumbling block for the continuation of this program is finding ongoing funding for the ICAN program.
“The program was funded by the Victorian Cancer Survivorship Grant Scheme for one year. We are now seeking donations or sponsorship to keep the program going. The Lioness Club of Warragul has provided a $1,000 donation from funds raised through their catering activities. We have also received $1,500 from Club 88 and $527 from the Warragul Dine Out Group.
People who wish to donate or support the ICAN Cancer Survivor program should contact WGHG’s Public Relations Manager on 03 5623 0600.
For inquiries regarding ICAN please phone WGHG’s Dietetics Department on 03 5623 0647. Information on the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia recommendations can be found at https://www.cosa.org.au/groups/exercise-and-cancer/cosa-position-statement-on-exercise-in-cancer-care-now-available/