Cancer survivorship and enablement.

Ms Kathryn Rorke1, Mr  Michael Leach2

1Saint John of God (SJOG) Bendigo Hospital, Bendigo, Australia, 2Loddon Mallee Integrated Cancer Service (LMICS), Bendigo, Australia


Saint John of God (SJOG) Bendigo Hospital runs an individualised group outpatient oncology rehabilitation program that combines exercise and education from multiple allied health disciplines to treat patients diagnosed with cancers of various types, during or after treatment. The program was designed to address the short- and long-term side effects of cancer treatments. This study aimed to assess whether cancer survivors’ quality of life and fitness outcomes changed following completion of the SJOG oncology rehabilitation program.


This study retrospectively reviewed those patients discharged from the SJOG oncology rehabilitation program between May 2014 and June 2016 who completed pre- and post-program assessments (n = 58). Eligible patients’ discharge letters were examined. Changes in outcome measures from before to after the program were assessed using the paired samples t-test or the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.  P-values < 0.05 were considered significant. A descriptive analysis of the program model was conducted to understand its impact and identify if it met the needs of cancer survivors.


From before to after the program, there were significant improvements in all five outcomes. This included significant improvements in FACT-G (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy – General) quality of life score (n = 57, mean improvement = 9 points, p[paired samples t-test] < 0.001) and distance walked in 6 minutes (n = 55, mean improvement = 128 metres, p[paired samples t-test] < 0.001).

Significance of findings for allied health:

Cancer survivors’ physical, functional and psychosocial health outcomes improved significantly following completion of the SJOG oncology rehabilitation program.