Can Active Prehab and Rehab Benefit Cancer Patients?

The Center for Surveillance and Applied Research and Public Health Agency of Canada shows a current trend of an increase in cancer survivorship, which means that more and more people are winning the battle against cancer. This also means that more and more people are living with the side effects and disabilities of cancer and their treatments. The fact of the matter is that chemotherapy and radiation is extremely hard on the body, but a necessary form of treatment for many. Unable to single out cancer cells alone, chemotherapy is damaging to several cells and systems in the body including the heart and the lungs (American Cancer Society, 2020). On the other hand, surgery is a traumatic experience within itself for the body and can be difficult to recover from depending on the circumstances. All in all, cancer is a debilitating disease on the body and the mind, but the question lies on how to deal with these disabilities post survival.

 

Can exercise combat some of the side effects of cancer treatment?

 

To begin answering that question, we must revert to the diagnosis stage and the action taken before treatments begin. What is becoming more prevalent over the years is research in the grouping of exercise and cancer together and using physical activity to combat some of the side effects of cancer. This research is not only limited to the aftermath of treatments but has taken a prehabilitation approach to prepare patients from the time of their diagnosis to when treatments begin. Dr. Daniel Santa Mina and his colleagues of the University of Toronto have done extensive research in this field of topic. What has been highlighted in his research is the evidence of benefits coming from incorporating a prehabilitation exercise program during the pre-operative or pre-treatment time span for cancer patients.

 

When should I be doing my Prehab and Rehab?

 

As mentioned, the time span for prehabilitation begins the moment of diagnosis and ends with onset of treatment. The idea behind this motion is that a healthier, more physically fit individual is better able to combat the side effects of surgery or chemotherapy and come out the other end with better physiological reserve. The prehab program sets a baseline of functional ability going into treatment as well as highlights and addresses any pre-existing disabilities or dysfunctions. Researchers have seen a significant decrease in post-surgical complications and effects with a minimum of a three-to-four-week prehabilitation period.

 

What would my program look like based on the type of cancer I have?

 

During these three to four weeks patients should be working alongside healthcare professionals and exercise trained individuals, such as a personal trainer, physical therapist or kinesiologist, to create a program specifically suited towards their specific disease and treatment plan. For example, someone who may have bone cancer of the femur and will be undergoing surgery to remove a portion of this bone will train differently than someone who is having abdominal surgery or chemotherapy. The patient with bone cancer is going to follow a program that targets the tissues and muscles surrounding their specific treatment plan. This could result in resistance training as an attempt to build and reserve bone density to the best possible degree, as well as training geared towards any tissues that will be vulnerable to the surgical procedure. Their program may also include lower body strengthening and cardiovascular training to reduce the amount of any deconditioning, loss of strength, loss of range of motion and fatigue. On the other hand, someone who is foreseeing a treatment plan consisting of chemotherapy might have an exercise program based more on retaining cardiovascular function to reduce the risk of cardiovascular toxicity, while also implementing full body resistance and strength training to combat the attack on other collateral body cells and tissues.

 

Train your body like you are training for a difficult but victorious game day!

 

Dr. Santa Mina has compared this stage to an athlete training for competition. An athlete will train specifically to their sport leading up to competition, focusing on every potential outcome to ensure they are prepared when game day arrives. This is a similar situation in which patients train the specific tissues and systems to handle the treatments they are about to begin in order to be victorious on game day. What is important to remember during this time is to consult with a doctor before beginning an exercise program. Based on the type of cancer and how far the disease has progressed there may be certain limitations to what some individuals may be able to participate in. These restrictions are important in forming a safe and effective program individualised for each patient. An athlete must consult a doctor and follow an injury specific return to play protocol, so patients must follow their contraindication protocol.

 

What do I do post cancer treatment?

 

Following treatment there is a long list of potential adverse effects resulting from cancer survivorship, such as decreased cardiovascular capacity, mood disorders, bone loss, and risk of developing heart disease to name a few. Even with the precaution of prehabilitation and the reduction of postoperative or post treatment complications, there are still negative effects that linger, especially for those who did not take a prehabilitative approach. This is where the rehabilitation portion comes in, which takes place after treatment to help combat the side effects from treatments that may still arise. Every patient responds differently to certain treatments and not every patient receives the same treatment, so patients need to seek clinician approval at this step as well, to be cleared for a cancer-based rehabilitation exercise program. Clinicians will also gage any assumed or potential risk and evaluate frailty to once again give the practitioner, may it be a physical therapist, occupational therapist, kinesiologist, etc., the ability to construct a safe program specific to that patient. There are also specific national guidelines practitioners can refer to, including an exercise specific guideline created by Dr. Santa Mina and his colleagues based on disease, symptom or condition management, age group and nutrition in order to create the safest and most beneficial program possible.

 

What are the three types of exercise programs for post cancer treatment?

 

Based on the 2019 exercise guidelines for cancer survivors there are three types of program approaches; resistance exercise, aerobic exercise, and both combined; each of which provide their own list of benefits. Examples of benefits that overlap in all programs are a decrease in depression, anxiety, and fatigue as well as an increase in perceived physical function and overall quality of life. The guidelines for aerobic exercise include three thirty minute sessions a week of exercise at a moderate intensity which may include activities like a brisk walk, biking, or water aerobics. For resistance training, two sessions a week for thirty minutes is the minimum, doing two to three sets of each exercise that includes a large muscle group. These sessions may include the use of resistance bands, free weights or just body weight.

 

Heal your mind, and body post Cancer treatment.

 

It is inevitable that cancer does not only attack the body, but the mind as well. By getting the body moving and being active, patients are able to contest and decrease the negative side effects of their survivorship physically and mentally. It is important to note that these prehabilitation and rehabilitation periods should be handled by a team of experts together. This team should be constructed of a clinician, nutritionist, psychologist and fitness professional that work together in several areas to improve overall health and wellness. By seeking the help of these health professionals, the results are astounding in suppressing the depression, anxiety and countless other mental and physical aftereffects. Exercise is an endorphin releasing activity which has already been proven to enhance mental health, so why not transfer this knowledge to help recovering survivors. The results are in and it has shown that a healthier body and mindset going into trauma creates a stronger competitor who comes out the victorious side standing taller!

About Revamp Wellness

Revamp is for everyone, whether you’re in your golden years or gunning for gold medals. It’s a place for you to recover, heal, and feel like you’re in the best shape of your life.

Treatment(s)
  • Massage Therapy
Education
  • West Coast College of Massage Therapy

Jacalyn Lynch

Co-Founder & Registered Massage Therapist

Before studying massage therapy, she was a competitive gymnast for over ten years and continued with the sport as a coach. She also competed and coached in track and field (pole vault, hurdles, sprints).

Because of her experience in sports, Jacalyn believes stretching, strengthening, and self-care go hand in hand with an effective massage treatment. She is impassioned with how the body works as a whole and makes sure to incorporate all appropriate aspects to ensure the patient’s goals are met.

Fun Fact! Do you know the difference between tendons and ligaments? Ligaments connect bones to other bones, tendons attach muscle to bones, and muscles to other parts of your body such as your eyeballs.

Education
  • Northern Michigan University

Jake Baker

Co-Founder

Jakes passion for health care stemmed from his career in hockey and his life long interest in sports. After playing years of competitive and professional hockey Jake was able to see the importance and value of body maintenance and enhancement.

After seeing and dealing with many injuries over the years he was able to experience many different types of treatment. What fascinated Jake the most was how much therapy has evolved over the years. His vision for Revamp Wellness is to always be at the fore front of the leading therapies for patients.

Experience
  • 10 Years in customer service
  • Administration

Kristy Cowie

Front Desk Receptionist

Kristy has always enjoyed helping people any way she can. She has 10 years experience in customer service and has worked as a medical receptionist for 3 years. Her goal for you is to make sure you always feel heard and taken care of. Kristy will help you with all of your front end needs, from direct billing to booking and everything in between. She is very familiar with our system and goes above and beyond for each and every patient.

Treatment(s)
  • Massage Therapy
Education
  • West Coast College of Massage Therapy

Stephanie Gillespie

Registered Massage Therapist

Stephanie is a graduate from West Coast College of Massage Therapy, out of New Westminster. In her two years there, she volunteered at many different outreaches to provide therapeutic massage therapy for people with many different conditions: depression, anxiety, musculoskeletal injuries, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Pregnancy, just to name a few.

Before starting her career path to become an RMT, she gained a number of experiences working in the Health and Wellness field as a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. She still loves to teach indoor cycling classes and even enjoys her own personal workouts on the bike whenever possible. However; what she enjoyed most was leading an ‘Active Age’ class to help rehabilitate those who had suffered from strokes or heart attacks to get them back into healthy mobility. Being able to help people of all ages become more aware of their body, strength and overall wellness was what originally kicked off her idea to become an RMT and she hopes to keep up both careers equally.

Fun Fact! Some muscles you control, like your bicep when you’re lifting something heavy. Other muscles, such as those that help you breathe, move without you thinking at all.

Treatment(s)
  • Massage Therapy
Education
  • West Coast College of Massage Therapy

Tawnya Smith

Registered Massage Therapist

Tawnya graduated in 2014 from the 3000 hour program at WCCMT in Victoria. During her education, she volunteered for Team Canada Rugby, Team Canada Swimming, Team Canada Rowing, Olympic Figure Skaters, as well as world level triathletes. Tawnya’s experience as a high-level athlete competing in gymnastics for ten years, and now competing in Crossfit, have made her keen to continually learn and understand the human body. She uses her education and experience to help athletes and clients perform to the best of their ability.

As an RMT, she focuses on modalities such as Swedish Massage, Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Active Release Therapy, Deep Tissue, and Joint Mobilization.

Fun Fact! As you age, you start to lose muscle mass. But if you exercise your muscles with strength training and resistance exercises, you can slow down that process and maintain a mighty muscular system for a long time.

Treatment(s)
  • Massage Therapy
Education
  • West Coast College of Massage Therapy

Melanie Snow

Registered Massage Therapist

Melanie attended the Vancouver College of Massage Therapy and graduated from a 3000 hour program in 2014. Her interest in the body and health began while studying Anatomy & Physiology at the University of the Fraser Valley in 2010. At UFV, she has completed three years of coursework and is currently working towards her Kinesiology degree. In addition to her 5 years of massage experience, she has focused her continuing education in Soft Tissue Release, Manual Lymph Drainage, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization and Functional Release. She was certified as a yoga teacher with the yoga alliance in 2017, and enjoys offering a holistic approach by incorporating therapeutic yoga, stretches and breathing exercises into her treatment plan. In 2018, Melanie became apart of the faculty at WCCMT and taught massage to students providing therapy at a men’s drug and addiction center. Melanie is passionate about helping athletes reach their peak performance, whether in preparation, maintenance, or recovery of their sport. In her practice, she has experience with professional athletes and has worked for sports events such as Iron Man Canada, HSBC Rugby Sevens, and was a core member with the BC Lions massage therapy team for 3 seasons. In her leisure time Melanie keeps an active lifestyle including yoga, hiking, strengthening and in 2018 ran her first full distance marathon and is always in pursuit of a new athletic goal.

Fun Fact! Muscle movement counts for almost 85 percent of the total heat produced inside the body. When you’re cold, your muscles contract involuntarily. When you shiver, those are muscles trying to warm your body.

Treatment(s)
  • Massage Therapy
Education
  • Vancouver College of Massage Therapy

Kristina Tangaro

Registered Massage Therapist

Kristina moved from Kamloops, BC in 2018 to attend school at the Vancouver College of Massage Therapy (VCMT) in Vancouver, and graduated in August of 2020.

Her passion for massage therapy stems from her personal desire to have an impact on helping patients achieve their goals and further expand their understanding of their body’s kinesiology. Throughout school she has had the opportunity to be apart of many clinic outreaches – working with athletes, the elderly, and individuals with both systemic and central nervous system pathologies. This along with her many clinic internships has allowed her to broaden her hands-on skills which has further allowed her to continue to learn and work towards helping her patient’s achieve their goals.

Prior to attending school, Kristina worked as a Certified Dental Assistant for 10 years in a variety of different clinical settings. After graduation she is looking forward to moving to Langley, starting her career at Revamp Wellness as an RMT and getting a dog!

Fun Fact! Muscles usually work in pairs When one shortens, its corresponding muscle lengthens. Think about doing bicep curls. When you curl your arm up so the bicep is shorter, the tricep on the other side of your arm is straightened out.

Treatment(s)
  • Massage Therapy
Education
  • West Coast College of Massage Therapy

Brianna Tham

Registered Massage Therapist

Brianna is a graduate from the Massage Therapy program from the West Coast College of Massage Therapy in New Westminster in 2017. Brianna has worked with the BMO Marathon, the Vancouver White Caps FC2 team, Canadian Men’s National rugby team, the BC lions and at BC Women’s Hospital. She also has experience in working with the MS society, pre/post-natal mothers, senior centers, and amputees.

After several years of playing hockey and swimming competitively and playing on her high school rugby team, Brianna experienced a number of injuries. Those injuries led to an interest in learning about the human body and pursuing a career oriented around it.

Before joining Massage Therapy, Brianna attended the University of Fraser Valley, graduating with her level 1 and 2 certificates in the carpentry and joinery.

Fun Fact! The strongest muscle, based on its size, is the masseter. It’s a muscle in your jaw. It can close your teeth with a force as great as 200 pounds.

Treatment(s)
  • Massage Therapy
Education
  • Vancouver College of Massage Therapy

Kurt Baker

Registered Massage Therapist

Kurt is a recent graduate of the Massage Therapy program at the Vancouver College of Massage Therapy (VCMT). He spent the last 9 years as a personal trainer and CrossFit Coach. His profound interest in the human body and movement began at a young age when he discovered how to change his body with weight training for football, hockey and lacrosse.

During that time, he worked with a wide range of clientele ranging from elite national level athletes of multiple sports, to weight loss, to those with the goal of aspiring to get fit.

Kurt’s goal is to share his passion for wellness with his patients by not only treating, but by educating them on how their body works, how it should move, how to prevent further injuries and ultimately, how to improve performance.

When Kurt is not at the clinic, you can find him training at the local CrossFit gym, playing football or snowboarding one of the local mountains.

Fun Fact! The muscles in your eyes are constantly adjusting as you read, watch TV, or look around you. In an hour of reading, your eyes may make as many as 10,000 coordinated movements.

Treatment(s)
  • Massage Therapy
Education
  • St. Edward’s University

Calli Birch

Kinesiologist And Acupuncturist

Calli attended university in Brenham, Texas receiving an associates degree in arts at Blinn College before transferring to the kinesiology program at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas to complete two more years attaining a bachelor’s of arts with an emphasis in pre-physical therapy. Her desire to be a physical therapist stemmed from her love for sports. She has been an athlete her whole life participating in a variety of sports and played college softball throughout her four years of university.

With intense sports comes a lot of injuries and she wanted to learn how to help and heal injured people as well as prevent future injury from occurring. Motion is lotion and the body deserves to be strengthened and healed in a holistic manner. Throughout school she has had the opportunity to work with many groups such as the GO project, the Austin wheelchair basketball league and various rec centers focusing on adaptation in physical activity. These experiences, as well as internships with physical therapy clinics has provided Calli with a vast knowledge of health, rehabilitation and the human body. ⠀

Fun Fact! You use 200 muscles to take a single step forward.

Treatment(s)
  • Chiropractic
Education
  • Palmer West Chiropractic College
  • Simon Fraser University

Dr. Kamran Eghtesad

Chiropractor

Dr. Kamran Eghtesad grew up in Vancouver, BC. Growing up in Vancouver he enjoyed learning about health and wellness. This led him to Simon Fraser University where he studied Kinesiology. From there he began to explore his options in health. He worked with local high school football teams addressing acute injuries. Also, worked on the manufacturing side of creating and designing custom foot orthotics. Conducted ergonomic assessments at PepsiCo to reduce workplace injuries. All these different jobs had one thing in common, they allowed people to do what they love without injury or pain.

This led Dr. Eghtesad to attended Palmer West Chiropractic College in San Jose, California, where he graduated with Cum Laude with a Doctorate in Chiropractic. While in San Jose he spent his free time teaching anatomy and conducting cadaveric dissections to further understand the human body. He also worked with Stanford University Neuroscience and Pain Lab to publish research to explore artificial intelligence for neck MRI’s.

Fun Fact! The spine has an exceptional memory. Your spine will remember and become used to your posture. This is why it can be hard to get out of the habit of having bad posture. But once you do make a habit of good posture, your spine will remember it.

Treatment(s)
  • Chiropractic
Education
  • Palmer College of Chiropractic West
  • University of the Fraser Valley

Dr. Dana Bloomquist

Chiropractor

Dr. Dana Bloomquist has always had a passion for leading an active lifestyle. Horseback riding injuries led her to try out chiropractic care in her teens, which inspired her to pursue a career in the health and wellness field. She completed a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of the Fraser Valley, in Abbotsford, BC and worked as a personal trainer for 3 years. She then went on to graduate with academic honours from Palmer College of Chiropractic West, in San Jose, California. She is certified in Active Release Technique (ART), Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehabilitation (FAKTR), Functional Movement Screening (FMS) and Functional Movement Taping (FMT).

Dr. Bloomquist believes in implementing an active, patient-centered approach in determining the root of the problem and by identifying ways to decrease problem repetition. She strives to help patients to not just live day-to-day, but for them to thrive and live optimally. Treatments include integrating soft-tissue techniques with joint mobilizations, and healthy living education. When not in the clinic, Dr. Bloomquist can be found exploring the beautiful trails of BC by foot, horseback and bike.

Fun Fact! The spine is very strong It can hold hundreds of kilograms of weight.

Treatment(s)
  • Physiotherapy
Education
  • University of Sydney

Mike Hosseini

Physiotherapist

Mike’s approach to physiotherapy is to not only decrease your pain, but to identify the real reason behind your injury. Properly understanding why the injury occurred in the first place will lower its chances of happening again. To accomplish this, Mike treats with manual therapy, education, exercise and improving movement patterns.

Mike decided to become a physiotherapist after tearing his ACL while playing soccer at the age of 21. Working closely with his physiotherapist, he was sold on Physio as a career path. To pursue his goal, he made the big decision to move to Sydney, Australia and completed a Master of Physiotherapy degree. He then stayed in Australia to gain valuable clinical experience but is now back home, providing his Australian perspective to clients.

Fun Fact! Adults will end up with only 206 bones, but babies are born with about 100 nore It’s not that bones disappear as we grow older. Instead, these tiny bones fuse together to form the larger bones of the skeletal system.

Treatment(s)
  • Physiotherapy
Education
  • Queen’s University
  • University of British Columbia

Johnny Guan

Physiotherapist

Johnny completed his Master’s degree in Physical Therapy at Queen’s University, and bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. Johnny has also completed two diplomas in General Studies and Sport Science at Douglas College. Johnny’s clinical experience includes time in both public and private settings. Johnny started his career in public practice (hospitals) and private clinics in Kingston and the Greater Toronto Area. In addition to his clinical experience, Johnny spent four years as a behavioral interventionist, and was a research assistant for a Parkinson’s disease and concussion study at UBC. Johnny has a variety of interests including treating patients with MSK (musculoskeletal), cardiopulmonary diseases, neurological conditions, vestibular issues, and concussion. He also enjoys helping patients who have injuries from sports, motor vehicle accidents, and other chronic conditions. In his spare time Johnny enjoys playing basketball, table tennis, tennis and badminton. He also loves volunteering and has spent eight years with organizations geared towards helping those with physical and behavioral challenges such as the Special Olympics and the Vancouver Chinese Policing Center.

Johnny is fluent in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

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我可以用普通话交谈

Fun Fact! Bone marrow is a spongy substance that’s found inside large bones like your hips, pelvis, and femur. Bone marrow houses stem cells. Stem cells are responsible for producing many of your body’s most important cells, including blood, brain, heart, and bone cells

Treatment(s)
  • Massage Therapy
Education
  • Vancouver College of Massage Therapy

Olivia Mah

Registered Massage Therapist

Olivia graduated in 2019 from the Vancouver College of Massage Therapy. During her education she had the opportunity to work with a variety of conditions and believes that finding the right combination of techniques to fit each clients needs is key to providing pain relief and restoring functional movement.

Prior to working as an RMT, Olivia spent 5 years as a competitive cheerleader. This experience showed her how important it is to have balance in the body and is what motivates her to help others and continue to expand her skills. Techniques Olivia may utilized during treatment include: Swedish, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, joint mobilizations and IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization).

Fun Fact! Bone marrow is a spongy substance that’s found inside large bones like your hips, pelvis, and femur. Bone marrow houses stem cells. Stem cells are responsible for producing many of your body’s most important cells, including blood, brain, heart, and bone cells

Treatment(s)
  • Registered Massage Therapist
Education
  • West Coast College of Massage Therapy

Julie Klimko

Registered Massage Therapist

Julie graduated from the program for Registered Massage Therapists at West Coast College of Massage Therapy in April 2020. Julie styles her practice to encompass the body and mind as a whole while treating patients with the utmost care and consideration. Her experience has led her to work with many different clients; those who struggle with pain, migraines/headaches, muscle tension, pre/post-natal pain, scar tissue, anxiety/depression and much more. 

Her unique blend of fascial work combined with gentle but effective deep tissue techniques positively affects her clients who are experiencing pain, needing help with an injury or are using massage to maintain a state of wellness. Julie is committed to making sure you get the most out of your personalized treatment session.

Fun Fact! Bone marrow is a spongy substance that’s found inside large bones like your hips, pelvis, and femur. Bone marrow houses stem cells. Stem cells are responsible for producing many of your body’s most important cells, including blood, brain, heart, and bone cells