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Newcastle-based charity the Kaden Centre is launching a new online platform that provides cancer sufferers and survivors access to Exercise Oncology within their own homes, helping to overcome limited support and isolation caused by COVID-19 pandemic. Kaden Centre Founder, Sue Clark-Pitrolo, said the new platform, which was developed using a $48,400 COVID-19 Community Recovery grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, will extend the reach of exercise therapies for cancer and chronic conditions beyond Newcastle, helping cancer sufferers and survivors around Australia.

“My vision is that every person diagnosed with cancer in Australia, or who has a chronic condition, has access to a Kaden Centre exercise programme. Whether that is via a shopfront or accessing the new platform elsewhere in Australia, everyone who is diagnosed with cancer deserves to be offered exercise oncology support in their treatment journey”, Ms Clark-Pitrolo said.

An Australian first, launched in 2017, the Kaden Centre provides individualised exercise-based programs that complement traditional cancer therapies. Home-based exercise oncology can allow clients to continue treatment through periods of isolation or lockdown, and extends the reach of exercise oncology therapy into regional areas where services do not currently exist.

“The Kaden Centre home exercise platform will help people take back some control of their journey and improve every aspect of it. They now have a role to play, beyond patient,” said Ms Clark-Pitrolo. Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chair, Jennifer Leslie, said utilising available technology to ensure people have access to care and clinical treatments during periods of isolation or lockdown is critically important.

“COVID-19 has only exacerbated the sense of isolation that people in regional areas feel when trying to access services for cancer and chronic conditions. The Kaden Centre’s new platform was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but will have wide-reaching and long-term impacts for people starting or continuing a cancer journey,” Ms Leslie said.

Research from Edith Cowan University, that underpins the Kaden Centre indicates exercise oncology can increase survivorship and decrease recurrence by 30-60%, while clients describe improvements in both physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing. Providing individualised programs within a readily accessible digital platform will give many more people access to an adjunct therapy that was previously unavailable. The new online platform complements existing services and treatments to deliver benefits to survivors and quality of life.

Kaden Centre client, Nicole, said the home-based program gives her some power and control in her own treatment journey. “The program has given me an opportunity to take control of some part of my life, the doctors do their thing, the treatment does its thing… here, I can do my thing and start to feel like me again,” said Nico.

Professor Erica James of the University Of Newcastle School Of Public Health said the Hunter Region is lucky to have a service like the Kaden Centre to provide personalised exercise support for people impacted by cancer.

“One of the most impressive parts of the service is how they balance clinical excellence and evidence-based care with a warm and welcoming environment. The staff at the Kaden Centre recognise that coming to the centre is not always possible or preferable, and have developed a home-based program using the latest research to allow people to access expert advice and supervision from home,” said Professor James.

In the three years since opening, the Kaden Centre has helped over 850 clients; a figure set to grow with the availability of an in-home program thanks to the new platform.

“The utilisation of the web-based platform breaks down geographical, economic, social and physical barriers to accessing a service that is increasingly being recognised as an intervention with significant impacts on prevention, treatment and survival,” said Ms Clark-Pitrolo.

Kaden Centre

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