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June 2020

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

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By Brooke Luethen

Bowel Cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the second most common cancer in men and women in Australia. Bowel cancer develops when cells in the lining of the bowel grow too quickly, forming a clump known as a polyp or an adenoma. Polyps can often be harmless, however over time can develop into a cancerous tumour if left undetected. In advanced cases, the cancerous tumour can spread (metastasise) beyond the bowel into other parts of the body.

Around 17,000 Australians are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year. However if detected early, 90% of cases can be successfully treated. Upon diagnosis, treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

During the early stages of bowel cancer, there may be minimal or no symptoms, which is why screening is so important. Screening is recommended for Australians aged 50 to 74, and involves a non-invasive test for blood in the faeces which can be done at home. Symptoms include recent, persistent change in bowel habit; blood in the stool; abdominal pain, bloating or cramping, anal or rectal pain; a lump in the anus or rectum; unexplained weight loss or swelling; and unexplained tiredness and/or weakness.

Bowel cancer risk is increased by having a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, excessive red and/or processed meat consumption, drinking alcohol, and being overweight or obese. These risks can be addressed through diet and lifestyle and are referred to as modifiable risk factors. There are also non-modifiable risk factors including age, family history and hereditary conditions.

Exercise plays a significant role in bowel cancer prevention and management. Evidence suggests individuals who engage in regular exercise are at a reduced risk of developing bowel cancer. There is also emerging evidence that suggests exercise can prevent physiological decline, assist fatigue management and improve quality of life for people with bowel cancer and cancer survivors.

Exercise for people with bowel cancer should be prescribed and delivered by an Allied Heath Professional, such as an Exercise Physiologist. An Exercise Physiologist will be able to develop an appropriate exercise program tailored to a person’s capacity, exercise preferences and goals. Our exercise physiologist, Millie, has undergone additional training in Exercise Oncology and can prescribe safe exercise programs for individuals with any type of cancer, in both individual and group class settings.

Freeze “the Beast”

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By Sarah Noske

With Fight MND- Big Freeze 6 just around the corner, non-footy followers may wonder what all the fuss is about and why so many people are donning a blue beanie. The Big Freeze may look a little different this year due to COVID-19 restrictions- there’ll be no big slide in the stands of the ‘G and they certainly won’t be packed with 90,000 plus roaring fans cheering on the poor souls who dare to plunge into the ice water. However, the cause stays the same, the fight to find a cure for Motor Neuron Disease (MND) is still as big a goal as ever.

MND, dubbed “the beast,” is a progressive, terminal neurological disease and to this date, there’s no cure. In Australia alone, two people are diagnosed with MND each day and a further two die from the condition. People with MND progressively lose the use of their limbs and ability to speak, swallow and breathe, while their mind and senses are usually not affected. In 2015, taken from the Deloitte Access Economics report Economic Analysis of MND in Australia, the cost of MND in Australia was $2.37 billion; this equates to $1.1 million per person of the 2000+ people already diagnosed. For every diagnosis, it is estimated that a further 14 people of their family and friends will live with the effects of MND forever.

While researchers are still working hard to find a cure, sufferers of MND are required to live out their lives and try to maintain function and quality of life for as long as the debilitating disease allows them. With no effective treatment to slow down the progression of the disease, one of the many goals for sufferers is to work towards improving their quality of life. As Exercise Physiologists, our greatest defence against this terrible disease is exercise.

Exercise prescription for every MND client is different and is dependent on their symptoms, progression of disease and physical fitness. Early stage treatment works towards maintaining and optimising mobility and function. Exercise prescription should be functional and goal oriented. Mid stage treatment is focused around continuing to maintain functional mobility, as well as managing pain and monitoring and addressing symptoms of respiratory compromise. During later stages of treatment, exercise prescription is all about maximising quality of life for the client.

So I suppose you are thinking, how can I help, where can I donate and where do I find myself one of those blue beanies? The Fight MND Big Freeze 6 beanies can be purchased online at www.fightmnd.org.au as well as all Coles and Bunnings stores Australia wide. Donations can also be made via the Fight MND website or if you’re looking to keep your dollars a little closer to home you can donate to MND SA via their website at www.mndsa.org.au

Multiple Sclerosis – May 50k!

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By Brooke Luethen

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease which affects over 25,000 people in Australia and more than two million people worldwide. MS is characterised by damage to myelin, the protective layer that surrounds nerve fibres, within the Central Nervous System (CNS). This damage causes sclerosis (Greek word meaning scars) which interfere with nerve impulses or messages within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. MS symptoms vary depending on which part of the CNS is affected, and can include muscle spasms, issues with coordination and balance, cognitive difficulties and memory loss, and fatigue.

There is currently no cure for MS. However, there are number of treatment options which can help to manage symptoms and slow disease progressions, including exercise.

In addition to optimising general health and well-being, research suggests exercise can also help manage MS symptoms. Regular exercise can have benefits for people living with MS including improving cardiovascular health, improving muscular strength and endurance, managing spasticity, helping to relieve MS-related fatigue and can contribute to stabilising mood.

Move EP took part in the May50k – a virtual fundraising challenge by completing 50km of walking or running in the month of May. This event helps raise funds and awareness for life-changing MS research. Funding of medical research is essential and people with MS still need better treatments, prevention and ultimately, a cure. We ended up doubling our goal with our 4 EP’s completing over 100km in the month of May. For more information or to donate, please head to https://www.themay50k.org/donate

We loved coming together to show that nothing will stop us from leaving MS where it belongs, behind us. For more information about exercise and MS, please contact Move Exercise Physiology and speak to one of our friendly Exercise Physiologists.