In this unprecedented time of COVID-19 with social distancing and isolation, a cancer diagnosis and the prospect of surgery or other treatment can be more worrying than ever.

There has never been a more important time to look after your health and wellbeing than after a cancer diagnosis.

Keeping yourself active – even in isolation – is a big part of that.

Cancer and its treatments can cause physical changes such as reduced energy levels and fatigue as well as low mood and anxiety.

In the past, doctors would advise people to rest as much as possible during treatment but that has changed. Evidence now shows that simple physical activity can reduce many of the side effects of cancer treatment and also the risk of recurrence in some cancer by up to 60 per cent.

Being active before, during and after treatment can:

  • Reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improve your mood and alleviate depression
  • Help look after your heart and bones
  • Help keep your weight healthy
  • Improve your sleep patterns

The importance of preparation for cancer treatment – known as prehab – and active recovery programmes are now recognised by healthcare providers around the world.

Research shows that patients who undergo prehab should have improved outcomes, including better survival rates, greater tolerance to treatment, reduced post-operative complications and less time spent in hospital.

You may be a little nervous about building up your activity levels, particularly if you haven’t been active for a while. You may feel too tired or just not know where to begin.

However, being active carries fewer risks than being inactive.

Exercise positively contributes to the reduction of the secondary symptoms of cancer with the overall aim of improving your quality of life and aiding faster recovery.

While our support centres are temporarily closed, FORCE Cancer Charity’s specialist oncology physiotherapist Louise Ballagher is offering phone or video consultations to discuss personal exercise programmes in detail.

She can offer an individual assessment and advice on appropriate exercise programmes.

Even if you are not particularly mobile or have concerns about other medical conditions, you can still exercise safely.

If you are interested in individual advice or an exercise programme, get in touch with our Louise on 01392 403094 or email her on

For further updates on exercise and other information from FORCE, check out our news pages.

Talk to us today

Offering support to anyone locally affected by cancer since 1987

FORCE Cancer Charity

Corner House, Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW

FORCE nursing team, including benefits advice

01392 406151

Psychological and emotional support

01392 406168

Specialist oncology physiotherapy

01392 403094

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Support is still available from FORCE

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Where to get active with FORCE

When visits to gyms and leisure centres are permitted, there are eight-week exercise programmes run by fitness instructors specially qualified in cancer rehabilitation in Exeter, Exminster, Crediton, Okehampton, Ottery St Mary, Axminster, Barnstaple, Exmouth, Cullompton, Tiverton and Honiton.

Contact us TODAY

Call: 01392 403094