The National Health Service (NHS) will be offering a pre-treatment fitness boot camp programme to more than 4,000 cancer patients across the United Kingdom. The fitness scheme is supposed to increase the chance of survival post-chemotherapy or surgery. By signing up for the intensive programme, the patients will have a head-start into the recovery process NHS claims.
450 patients in Southampton have already undergone trial training. The trial reported that the patients who took part in the training before their treatment suffered from fewer complications as compared to patients who did not undergo the regiment.
Another trial is set to take place in Greater Manchester in 2020. 2,000 patients with bowel, lung and upper gastrointestinal tract cancer will be given the option of signing up for the pre-treatment boot camp. More patients from London, Hampshire, Yorkshire, and Leicester will also be given the same option of signing up for the "prehab."
Within 48-hours of being diagnosed with cancer, patients will have to opt for fitness training. The short sign-up time given to the patient has been criticised. However, the short signup time is there to ensure that patients are on the path to recovery faster.
During the boot camp, most patients will have at least nine sessions of High-Intensity Interval Training. Those patients who are unable to take the strenuous training will be given alternative exercise regiments. Apart from the exercise routines, patients will receive nutritional guidance ensuring that they eat right.
A global panel of experts from Edinburgh University, UK cancer charity Macmillan, and the American College of Sports Medicine recommends cancer patients opt for physical exercises before and after treatment.
NHS Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, supported the claims of the global panel. Stevens pointed out that even though cancer treatment has improved, surgeries and chemotherapy take a heavy toll on the patient's body. By enrolling in fitness training, patients will be priming their bodies in preparation for the stress it will soon face. Stevens also told The Telegraph that patients who undergo the pre-treatment regiment have a faster recovery than those who do not.