ECU to introduce exercise oncology courses for healthcare professionals

Professor Rob Newton.
Professor Rob Newton.

ECU will launch three courses next year to equip healthcare professionals with skills to deliver supervised exercise programs for people with cancer.

Medical and Exercise Sciences Associate Dean Rob Newton said with an estimated 134,000 Australians diagnosed with cancer each year, there was a need for more skilled healthcare professionals to provide exercise assessment and prescription to this growing patient population.

“An appropriate exercise prescription can dramatically improve the lives of the vast majority of people diagnosed with cancer,” Professor Newton said.

“Targeted exercise programs can build fitness, improve physical function and increase physical reserve capacity, putting patients in better shape to receive cancer treatments.

“Exercise can also help to counteract some of the side effects associated with treatments for cancer.

“We need to train a workforce to ensure that all Australians diagnosed with cancer have access to trained professionals that can support safe and effective exercise medicine.”

Professor Newton said there was strong demand for health professionals who could deliver tailored exercise medicine programs for patients.

“I get communications weekly from clinicians and patients in Australia and around the world requesting advice on exercise medicine for cancer management, so there is strong demand for healthcare professionals with these types of skills,” he said.

The courses will be delivered online and students can choose the units that suit their needs.

They have been designed for exercise physiologists, physiotherapists, nurses, medical doctors and other health professionals who want to specialise in exercise oncology.