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Internet may help cancer patients in recovery

LindsayRobertson

Cancer patients face barriers to recovery in sparsely populated countries, and a researcher is looking to the internet to help build online support groups.

A recently published research has identified barriers to physical activity for cancer patients which may slow their path to recovery.

A New Zealand group has recently completed a study in finding out what the barriers were for cancer survivors in terms of participating in physical activity.

Researchers at the Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit, found that concerns about body image or a lack of confidence about what they can safely manage to do, were reported as being issues that might prevent cancer survivors from exercising.

Lindsay Robertson

The researchers, led by Lindsay Robertson, interviewed representatives from the Cancer Society’s Support Services from around New Zealand.

“We know from previous research that regular physical activity is beneficial for the health and wellbeing of cancer survivors,” says Robertson in an interview with The Global Indian magazine.

“As a group, the needs of cancer survivors are very varied; the amount of physical activity someone can do depend on their particular situation.  Because of this, it seems important to tailor exercise programmes for cancer survivors according to their individual needs, but in practice this is difficult to achieve.

“Many organisations such as the Cancer Society, which uses volunteers to support some of its services, only have a limited amount of capacity.

The Cancer Society also finds dispersed population a limiting factor. “In a country, such as New Zealand, which has a small population in relation to its geographical size, delivering physical activity programmes tailored to individual cancer patients’ specific needs is not an easy task, especially in small and rural communities.”

However, Robertson is keen to use Internet to bridge the gap. “Moving forward, research looking at the feasibility of online physical activity support groups could be useful.”

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