With nearly two decades of experience in the industry, Kylie has knowledge and skills in managing a wide range of health conditions, but has a special interest in chronic disease management, and in recent years, working with cancer patients in particular.
Whilst attending a conference in 2016, Kylie was “blown away” with the evidence showing what a dramatic effect exercise could have on improving the outcomes of cancer patients. While patients receiving treatment at large cancer centres such as the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Sydney and the Peter Mac Centre in Melbourne, Kylie realised that Illawarra cancer patients did not have access to these “exercise oncology” programs. Before even returning home from the conference, Kylie was drafting up a plan for what is now know as CanConquer, the Illawarra’s dedicated exercise program for cancer patients.
In May 2018, COSA (the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia) issued a position statement agreeing that:
Exercise to be embedded as part of standard practice in cancer care and to be viewed as an adjunct therapy that helps counteract the adverse effects of cancer and its treatment
All members of the multidisciplinary cancer team to promote physical activity and recommend people with cancer adhere to exercise guidelines
Best practice cancer care to include referral to an accredited exercise physiologist and/or physiotherapist with experience in cancer care
So, the medical fraternity have accepted the evidence, now the biggest hurdle seems to be changing public perception that you should be resting as much as possible to conserve your energy during cancer treatment.
An exercise program with CanConquer isn’t so strenuous that it is designed to leave the patient exhausted. In fact, to the contrary, many cancer patients who participate in exercise oncology actually report their energy levels increase as a result of the exercise sessions.
Every program is prescribed for the individual and takes in to account:
- Age and current fitness levels
- Type of cancer and stage of advancement
- Type of oncology treatment (chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, surgery)
- Side effects of cancer medication (for example, bone density loss in common prostate cancer hormone therapy drugs)
Kylie and her team include certified PINC (womens cancer) and STEEL (mens cancer) physiotherapists, accredited exercise physiologists and a dietician. They work out of Kylie’s Corrimal Physiohealth clinic and a designated CanConquer clinic, which is conveniently located 400 m from Wollongong Hospital so that patients can work their sessions in with their treatment protocol.
The program has the support of Wollongong’s leading oncology specialists including Professor Philip Clingan.
“It has been widely accepted for years that exercise helps in the prevention of cancer”, says Kylie, “but it’s only recently that there has been such convincing evidence showing the role exercise plays in the treatment of cancer itself”
Kylie is attacking the disease from the roots up. Under the banner of her Physiohealth business, she developed a Strong Kids Clinic, a fun, safe, circuit-based exercise program run by trained allied health professionals, designed to get young kids building strength and flexibility. When it comes to an active lifestyle, she walks the walk too. Kylie starts her day as early as 4am as she gets her own dose or exercise in at the gym and spends most weekends outdoors cycling or playing sport with her young family. Somehow amidst the role of mum, wife, boss and health practitioner, she also took out the award for the 2018 Small Business of the Year at the recent Illawarra Women in Business Awards.
Kylie’s passion for her CanConquer is infectious and the relationships she and her team build with their clients is obvious when you see them interact. Going through cancer treatment is an extremely difficult and stressful experience, but stepping in to the CanConquer clinic, the positive energy is tangible.
For more information about the CanConquer program, go to www.canconquer.com.au or ring (02) 4207 9999