We are gearing up for a second phase of the NExT study. For Phase II, we are working with Dr. Levy-Milne in her role as provincial lead for therapeutic oncology services at BC Cancer Agency on three key next steps with the aim to increase access to this type of exercise and healthy eating programming for cancer survivors in British Columbia.

The first step is to hire a clinical exercise physiologist or physiotherapist at the BC Cancer Agency who can act as a provincial resource for both healthcare providers and patients.  This individual will ensure the most up to date information is available on the BC Cancer Agency website, answer questions for members of the healthcare team and guidance cancer survivors to resources and programs available in the community.  The second step is to build access to the NExT program at all six BC Cancer Agency sites in the province and providing training to exercise professionals and physiotherapists in B.C. to deliver the programs, with avenues to then graduate to community-based programming offered at local community centres.  At first this program would be for breast cancer survivors, since we have experience in how to run these programs, with the goal of expanding the program for other cancer sites.   Finally, we will work with the Physical Activity Service at Healthlink BC to increase the number of qualified exercise professionals who work to address the concerns and questions of cancer survivors. 

Phase II is the next step to changing supportive care for cancer survivors in the province. Healthcare providers, including oncologists, general practitioners, physiotherapists, social workers, dietitians and case managers, will have confidence in referring patients to exercise and healthy eating programming, thereby increasing the number of cancer survivors who will have access to these services.  Exercise trainers and physiotherapists in B.C. will have access to additional training and experience working with this unique population, thereby increasing the ability of cancer survivors to work with knowledgeable and skilled providers.  Finally reaching out to community centre partners will engage a new segment of the community and expanding their programming.

It’s important to note that we could not have embarked on this study without the support of the BC Cancer Foundation donors.  We had a goal of doing a study that translated what we knew from research studies into the type of supportive care women with breast cancer could receive as a part of treatment at the BC Cancer Agency.  The generous donors at the BC Cancer Foundation provided our team with the opportunity to see our vision become a reality.  The support was essential to providing the funds to undertake this project. Those funds supported the research staff and exercise trainers that allowed the project to happen.

This is our last post as guest bloggers for this month. Thank you for keeping up with us as we discuss the exciting advancements in therapeutic oncology taking place at the BC Cancer Agency.

Kristin