Introducing an Individualized Physical Activity Program that could be one of the Keys to Reducing Chronic Fatigue

Please feel free to share this information with others. If you do, please attribute it as follows:
© 2004 Alan Hobson (Updated December 2013)
2-Time Cancer Survivor & Climb Back from Cancer Survivorship Program Founder
Protocol Co-Creator,

Many Thanks!

The Challenge of Fatigue

  • 75% of cancer patients experience fatigue during their illness
  • More than half report that they feel extremely fatigued almost daily
  • The challenge of fatigue is more debilitating than pain and nausea
  • It is more devastating than loss of mobility, income or even self-esteem
  • It can continue to plague survivors long after treatment is completed
  • Because of fatigue, these survivors may be unable to earn a living, meet their mortgage payments, pay their bills, play with their children or grandchildren, or even be a supportive friend
  • They may be breathing, but they are not actually living
  • Everyone from children through seniors is affected
  • Because of fatigue, survivors can become financially destitute, physically isolated and deeply depressed. The human cost is catastrophic
  • The economic cost in lost income and productivity at work and in life, absenteeism and the financial burden placed on government and private industry is huge
  • Every year, North American insurance companies pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in short and long-term disability insurance claims to support these survivors
  • As we continue to search for the all-important cure for cancer, millions of survivors struggle daily to climb back from the disease and its treatment
  • Because two of every three people who are diagnosed with cancer now survive it, the challenge of chronic fatigue grows daily
  • The number of cancer survivors in North America increases by about 1 million every year and with it the number who continue to suffer ongoing fatigue
  • The incidence of cancer increases with age and someone turns age 50 in North America every 7 seconds. Consequently, the number of those diagnosed increases and with it the number of survivors facing fatigue
  • Historically, healthcare professionals involved in cancer care have advised that patients rest and avoid activity but current science shows that this guidance is outdated

 The Discovery

A team of leading oncologists, psychologists and exercise physiologists at the University of Calgary and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, Alberta (north of Montana) has been investigating ways to help cancer survivors reenergize their lives after treatment. Based on my experience using mild individualized physical activity to rebuild my energy, they are studying a variety of methods to help patients and survivors climb back to better lives. These include The Climb Back from Cancer™ Protocol and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) physical activity guidelines. The ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world with more than 35,000 international, national and regional members.

The Climb Back from Cancer™ Protocol Method

The team hand-picked 13 exhausted survivors of adult blood stem cell and bone marrow transplants, traditionally those who experience the most significant levels of chronic fatigue. With mild to more challenging individualized aerobic activity such as moderate walking, cycling, swimming or hiking three times a week for 15 to 30 minutes, researchers unearthed some dramatic findings.

The Protocol* at a Glance

Session A: 30 minutes of mild* cardiovascular activity

Session B: (2 days later) 15 minutes of vigorous* cardiovascular activity

Session C: (2 days later) 20 minutes of moderate* cardiovascular activity

*The type and intensity of each activity session (i.e. mild, moderate or vigorous) is tailored to each participant based on the results of a variety of evaluations conducted by qualified and trained exercise physiologists under the supervision of an oncologist or other qualified physician. Not all types of activities are suitable for all survivors — anyone who has or has had cancer from diagnosis through the rest of their lives – including those in treatment. Those with specific types of cancer, side effects of treatment and pre-existing conditions may not necessarily be able to safely engage in all types and intensities of physical activity. That is why it is extremely important that survivors be carefully evaluated by qualified professionals under proper medical supervision.

Read Complete Protocol (Updated December 2013): InsideCBfCProtocol

The Results

After only 12 weeks of activity, participants were able to:

  • Regain the energy levels of the normal adult population
  • Reduce anxiety, anger and depression by 65 percent

These findings are unprecedented in the history of cancer recovery research for survivors of adult blood stem cell and bone marrow transplants. They could represent a great source of hope for survivors of all types of cancers and cancer treatment.

Read Published Pilot Study Results: BMTexercisefinal

The Next Step

If you know of any forward-thinking individuals or individuals within organizations who would like to help improve the lives of patients, reduce the demands on the healthcare system and decrease disability insurance claims through the use of The Climb Back from Cancer Physical Activity Protocol and other methods, please send Alan an email at [email protected]

The Goal

Our goal is to help as many patients, survivors and caregivers as possible climb back to better lives. With your help, we can do just that — together!

© 2013 Alan Hobson

*The Climb Back from Cancer™ Protocol is in the experimental stages and hence this document is for discussion purposes only. Until full clinical trials of the protocol are completed and the results are peer-reviewed, approved and published, use of The Climb Back from Cancer™ Protocol must not be undertaken without proper supervision by qualified medical personnel and exercise physiologists with cancer-specific training, knowledge and experience in a controlled and properly equipped environment. If you wish to assume any and all risks in trying the protocol and/or The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines, you must first consult a physician. If your physician approves your participation, you must then professionally engage an exercise physiologist(s) with cancer-specific training, knowledge and experience before becoming involved in any activity related to the protocol or the ACSM physical activity guidelines. Thereafter, all activity sessions must be supervised by this/these professional(s) in a proper setting. Failure to comply with any of these directives could result in loss or change of health, accident, injury, or death to the participant and/or those around them. Therefore, all risks are those of the participant(s). Neither the author(s), Climb Back Inc., The Climb Back from Cancer™ Foundation, the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, the University of Calgary, any member of the Survivor Fatigue Study team, the ACSM or any other associated individual(s), institution(s), entity(s) or body(s) whatsoever, whether named or unnamed, assumes any liability whatsoever. Any and all risks are entirely those of the participant(s).