The Health Scientist Podcast

Ep.48 Ciaran Fairman: The benefits of exercise for cancer treatment

Ciaran is an Assistant Professor in Exercise Science the University of South Carolina. His research focuses on the impact of exercise, nutritional supplementation and behavioral interventions on the health and wellness of  individuals with cancer. Ciaran received his PhD in Kinesiology from Ohio State University and recently completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Exercise Oncology within the School of Medical and Health Science (SMHS) at Edith Cowan University. Ciaran is also strong advocate of the dissemination of scientific research to a variety of audiences. He is the founder, CEO, and chief exercise physiologist at REACH (Research in Exercise and Cancer Health), a company designed to provide evidence-based guidelines of physical activity to health/medical professionals and individuals with cancer.

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In this episode we cover:

  • How Ciaran got into exercise science and eventually cancer research
  • What is exercise oncology?
  • What physical and mental changes happen during cancer and cancer treatment and how can exercise benefit them?
  • The importance of building physiological reserves for cancer treatment
  • How does prostate cancer treatment lead to muscle loss and what other issues can arise?
  • Why is muscle mass important for preventing falls?
  • Is muscle mass or muscle strength easier to improve in clinical exercise programs and why?
  • The importance of consistent progressive overload and tailored resistance programmes in eliciting the benefits of resistance exercise
  • The reason some doctors are very cautious about recommending exercise programmes
  • The importance and skill of building rapport with the patient's wider care team
  • The complexity of developing an exercise programme for a patient that can have multiple different difficulties from the disease or treatment
  • The need for long term behaviour change to ensure patients continue with their exercise to continue to reap the benefits
  • Helping people find their own motivation that will keep them exercising
  • The value of peer-support and shared experiences in encouraging patients in their exercise
  • How can creatine play a role in exercise oncology?
  • How do researchers actually diagnose sarcopenia?
  • The role that nutrition can play in helping patients during their cancer treatment
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