Residents of Wakefield, Pontefract, and Dewsbury who are facing cancer will soon have the opportunity to participate in a groundbreaking exercise program funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research. This initiative aims to provide tailored fitness, nutrition, and overall well-being support to aid individuals in preparing for, coping with, and recovering from cancer treatments, ultimately enhancing the chances of survival and lowering the risk of cancer recurrence.

Expected to launch later this year, the service will be a collaborative effort between Yorkshire Cancer Research, Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust, Wakefield Council Aspire Health, and Kirklees Active Leisure. It is anticipated to benefit over 3,000 patients within the initial three-year period.

To enable the program’s smooth operation, Yorkshire Cancer Research is generously contributing £1.9 million, which will cover the costs of the delivery team, including experts like dietitians and physical training instructors, as well as other expenses such as gym memberships. This funding will be sustained for a duration of three years.

Keely Clawson, Lead Cancer Nurse at Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust, expressed great pride in collaborating with Yorkshire Cancer Research and their partners on this innovative initiative. She emphasized the positive impact of exercise on patients’ recovery time, well-being, and overall quality of life, and she looks forward to witnessing patients actively participate and benefit from this service in West Yorkshire.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the significant benefits of incorporating exercise into cancer treatment plans. Physical activity before, during, and after a cancer diagnosis can expand treatment options, minimize side effects and complications, and expedite recovery from procedures like surgery and chemotherapy. Furthermore, engaging in regular exercise has been linked to an increased likelihood of survival, with physically active individuals experiencing up to a 44% lower risk of cancer-related mortality compared to inactive individuals. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that exercise can reduce the chances of cancer recurrence in the future by as much as 66%.

Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research said: “Bringing this programme to Wakefield, Pontefract and Dewsbury is the next step in our goal for everybody in Yorkshire to benefit from exercise after a cancer diagnosis.

“The programme will form part of the biggest global study into exercise and cancer, helping to drive forward worldwide understanding of how exercise can be introduced as a standard part of cancer treatment.”

The programme will be the second exercise service funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research to open in Yorkshire. It follows the success of the charity’s Active Together service in Sheffield, which was launched in February 2022, in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.