Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fun Facts about Get REAL & HEEL

About the Program

Get REAL & HEEL is a unique program designed to serve breast cancer patients in North Carolina. Get REAL & HEEL is not just an exercise program. It integrates individualized prescriptive exercise with recreational therapy to provide a program that strengthens your body and mind. We develop an individualized plan that helps each participant manage cancer treatment related symptoms and increase chances of survivorship and quality of life. Because of grant support, this incredible program is currently provided to individuals free of charge.

The acute and chronic side effects usually associated with the diagnosis and the administration of cancer treatments has increasingly gained attention in the oncology arena. The medical community has begun to recognize the importance of using complementary forms of therapy to alleviate some of the side-effects produced by cancer treatments. A debilitative state of fatigue is among the most common side-effects experienced by upwards of 72% of all cancer patients undergoing cancer treatment. Other prevalent side-effects include pain, loss of muscle mass, loss of strength, depression, nausea, and shortness of breath which alone or in combination decreases the functionality of patients, thus diminishing overall quality of life. While the trend in oncology is to address some of these symptoms with the administration of pharmacological treatments some of these strategies provide only temporary relief.
Complementary alternative therapies such as exercise and recreation therapy have received attention for their ability to complement symptom management strategies currently used by oncology physicians. Research has shown that when administered prior, during, and post cancer treatment, exercise and some forms of recreational therapy have assisted patients significantly decrease fatigue, improve strength and endurance, conserve muscle mass, improve metabolism, improve stress management, improve heart rate coherence and heart rate variability, and develop effective coping skills. In turn, individuals are likely to feel better physically and emotionally.

What are you waiting for? Be active in your fight against cancer. Talk to your physician and call us to see if the Get REAL & HEEL program is right for you!

Program Components

Participants in the Get REAL & HEEL program will be a part of an exercise and recreational therapy program 3 times per week for a period of 5 months.
The Exercise Program may include:
Cardiovascular activities on various types of aerobic exercise equipment
Weight training
Flexibility exercises (including specific exercises to regain surgical side shoulder range-of-motion
The Recreational Therapy Program may include:

Pain and stress management
Relaxation techniques
Mindfulness training
Individual leisure education
Group activities such as ropes challenge course, expressive arts and group leisure education

Educational Workshops

In addition to providing services on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill, Get REAL & HEEL staff serves women through educational workshops offered in each of the 13 counties serviced by the NC Triangle Affiliate of the Susan G Komen for the Cure Foundation. The workshops teach breast cancer survivors how to use exercise and recreation to offset the negative side effects of cancer treatment and improve overall quality of life. The three hour workshops provide education and skill instruction in safe exercise techniques, HeartMath® for stress management, and counseling regarding the ways exercise and leisure can enhance overall well-being and quality of life. Participants receive a comprehensive notebook of educational materials and a Theraband for home based strength training. The workshops are offered free of charge and attempt to fill gaps in service delivery by collaborating with agencies that specifically target underinsured and Latina women.

Australia Chapter

The Get REAL & HEEL Breast Cancer Program first opened its door and began serving women in North Carolina in 2006. Since then, numerous survivors have been served. While presenting the program model and outcomes of the intervention at scientific meetings, local cancer organizations, and fitness/ wellness facilities, interest in the concept of combining exercise with recreation therapy began to grow.
Interest in reproducing the GRH program in Australia was explored after members of the U.S. program met Dr. Fiona Naumann, an Australian clinical researcher, at the 11th Annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition, Exercising the Future of Fitness. During the summer of 2007 Dr. Naumann collaborated with the Get REAL & HEEL Breast Cancer Program at UNC to learn what would be required to replicate the program in Australia. That Fall, she returned to Australia where she is a Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Research manager for the Institute for Research and Rehabilitation at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle campus. At Notre Dame, Dr. Naumann received full support from the School of Health Science to implement the Get REAL & HEEL Breast Cancer Program Australia Chapter. Dr. Naumann, Dr. Battaglini, and Dr. Groff received a grant from The Cancer Council WA Early Career Investigator (ECI) Research Grants Program in Australia to start the program at Notre Dame. The program started enrolling breast cancer survivors in September of 2008 and is currently serving the first 12 women. Similar to GRH in the US, participants receive individualized, prescriptive exercise and counseling in an effort to assist them manage the side effects of breast cancer treatment. In the fall of 2008, Dr. Battaglini visited the new Get REAL & HEEL Breast Cancer Program Australia Chapter to help with the implementation of the project and returned to Chapel Hill impressed with the University of Notre Dame, the Get REAL & HEEL Australia Chapter program facility, the students involved in the project, and the wonderful work Dr. Naumann and her assistant Ms. Jena Buchan begin to provide in Australia.

Go Get REAL & HEEL!!!! Reaching out and touching the lives of breast cancer survivors worldwide.


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