University of Canberra researchers are working in collaboration with the Canberra Hospital’s Oncology Unit and ICON Cancer Centre to research cancer recovery and life after cancer for patients and their loved ones.
The PACES (pre-habilitation, activity, cancer, exercise and survivorship) research group came together in early 2019 and consists of academics at the University of Canberra who are passionate about conducting research in oncology.
The research is a multi-disciplinary approach to improvement for not only the person with cancer, but their loved ones too.
PACES investigates the effect of exercise on cancer patients and those living post-cancer. Initially it focussed on providing group exercise classes at the ICON centre. However, in 2020 it has evolved to include telehealth options (online classes) and one on one classes to minimise risk to participants concerned about exposure to COVID-19.
“It’s been a game changer for me. I have stage 4 cancer, I can’t go to the gyms now they have reopened, it’s too risky.” - Kathy, current PACES participant
Whether online or in person, the classes improve the strength and fitness of participants and have been proven to improve overall health outcomes for those battling cancer and/or recovering from it.
People with any type of cancer can be referred or can self-refer into the program.
"The benefits are incredible. Patients are building their strength back up, they are able to complete their chemotherapy and their treatment much easier if they’re fitter and stronger".
I came to nursing to make a meaningful difference to what matters most to people affected by cancer, and most importantly, the areas in which they are in most need of support and intervention.
Catherine Paterson Ph.D
PACES Researcher and Clinical Assistant Professor Ph.D,
(All Distinctions: BA, MSc, PgCert LTA, FHEA, Non-medical prescriber, RAN)
The benefits are incredible. Patients are building their strength back up, they are able to complete their chemotherapy and their treatment much easier if they’re fitter and stronger.
Dr Kellie Toohey
PACES Researcher and Clinical Assistant Professor,
University of Canberra
I have seen the referrals for patients with a diagnosis of cancer increase by more than 4000 per cent in four years in our department. It’s amazing to see the uptake in this group. I want to ensure that all patients have access to the expertise of an Exercise Physiologist.
Higher Degree by Research academic
University of Canberra
PACES focusses its research activity on three distinct themes: prehabilitation, physical activity in people affected by cancer, and life after cancer.
At it’s core, PACES focuses on:
Explore some current reasearch projects.
So far, the program has seen some amazing results.
With many cancer patients unable to attend work while receiving treatment and during recovery their day-to-day costs can really add up and having to pay to participate in the program can be yet another burden.
How can you help?
“A few months ago it got really hard financially. So I said, “I’m going to reduce the sessions.” And Mel (Moore, UC Cancer Wellness Clinic Supervisor) said “No. You need this, you have to come.” So she found funding for me through the University. It’s amazing. It’s a really important program.” Kathy – PACES participant with stage 4 cancer.
PACES also offer seed funding grants for its researchers in order to support the development of special projects.
For example, during the COVID shut down, PACES researchers needed to devise a telehealth (phone/online consult) option for patients who could no longer visit in person but still required rehabilitation. Researchers quickly investigated how to continue to provide treatment to cancer patients remotely. They have realised that having seed funding opportunities would help them explore new services quickly when the need arises.
A donation of $10,000 would fund a seed grant project for a PACES researcher.
Philanthropic funding is vital to continue the work of PACES researchers. With $90,000 the team would be able to fund a PhD candidate for three years to undertake important research. The outcomes for those with cancer in the community would be life-changing and cannot be achieved without your generous support.
Our goal is to ensure the cancer recovery program is seen as an important part of cancer treatment that becomes available nationally and is fully funded for those who need it.
100 per cent of funds raised go directly to the University of Canberra Cancer Recovery Research Fund.Give now
Dr Kellie Toohey
Exercise Physiology, physical activity, survivorship, chronic disease, rehabilitation, prehabilitationResearch profile
Professor Nick Brown
Movement analysis and motor controlResearch profile
Associate Professor Catherine Paterson
Oncology nursing, chronic disease, prehabilitationResearch profile
Professor Karen Strickland
Oncology nursing, chronic disease, health services, digital healthResearch profile
Dr Irmina Nahon
Pelvic floor, prostate cancer, rehabilitationResearch profile
Dr Jane Kellett
Oncology palliative care, nutrition and dieteticsResearch profile
Dr Reza Mortazavi
Diagnostic pathology, haematology and blood transfusion, thromboemolismResearch profile
Professor Stuart Semple
Physical activity, CVD, exercise, immunologyResearch profile
Associate Professor Andrew McKune
Stress physiology, immunology and bioenergetics in adaptation to exercise in cancer stress responsesResearch profile
Associate Professor Rachel Bacon
Clinical education and community research, dieteticsResearch profile
Professor Desmond Yip (Adjunct)
Development of biological agents in cancer, renal cell carcinoma and GI cancersResearch profile