Postgraduate Profiles

Bonnie Furzer

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Thesis: A randomised, controlled trial assessing the efficacy of exercise versus a complementary therapy on physical and psychosocial outcomes in lymphoma and myeloma patients post-treatment

Dramatic increases in cancer survival rates due to the improvements in diagnosis and treatment has resulted in the need to assess and investigate the life-altering side effects of cancer treatment. This RCT trial aims to assess the effects of a 12 week aerobic exercise, resistance training or Bowen therapy intervention on key physiological and psychosocial outcomes post chemotherapy treatment.

Outcomes including quality of life, anxiety, depression, fatigue, body composition, aerobic fitness and strength will be investigated in what is currently an under-researched and under-funded cancer population of haematological malignancies.

The findings will enable researchers to develop a best practice recommendation for haematological cancer patients following chemotherapy.

In the short term it will illustrate the beneficial impact of exercise for cancer patients to haematologists, oncologists, medical professionals, exercise professionals, and importantly, patients. Longer term outcomes include the dissemination of findings and recommendations to health professionals and individuals associated with cancer.

Why my research is important

This study is designed to significantly impact on the lives of cancer patients who are suffering the life-altering side effects of the chemotherapy treatment regime. The physiological and psychosocial side effects have the potential to impact patients for many years and prevent a ‘normal life’.

Crucially, this study is designed to improve outcomes for cancer patients who continue to suffer from disease related and treatment related side effects long after treatment has ceased. For individuals with a promising prognosis following treatment it is important to facilitate their resumption of a ‘normal’ life post cancer. But, importantly, for patients with poorer outcomes following treatment, exercise and complementary therapies represent a promising intervention to enhance their physiological and psychosocial health status following treatment.