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Breast Cancer: Exercise is Medicine | Talk by Dr. Don McKenzie

Date & Time:
June 20, 2017 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Adidas Room (Kinesiology Block B 214)

Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Don McKenzie, MD, PhD

In 1996, Dr. Don McKenzie, professor in the Department of Sports Medicine, exercise physiologist, and director of the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of British Columbia, started researching the physical rehabilitation following diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Challenging the prevailing medical thinking that women treated for breast cancer should avoid rigorous upper body exercise for fear of developing lymphedema, McKenzie used the activity of paddling within a dragon boat team to examine repetitive upper body exercise in women with breast cancer.

At the conclusion of the study, McKenzie found that despite rigorous repetitive upper-body exercise, which dragon boating required, no new cases of lymphedema occurred and none of the existing cases progressed. In addition, the women who participated showed a marked improvement in both physical and mental health. His research has spurred a global phenomenon that started with “Abreast in a Boat,” and it continues to engage and motivate breast cancer survivors around the world.

Guest Speakers:

Jonathon Fowles, PhD

Jonathon Fowles is a professor and exercise physiologist at Acadia University whose work in the Centre of Lifestyle Studies examines the effects of exercise on health in athletes, the elderly and persons with chronic disease or disability. Fowles has done extensive work with many organizations such as Diabetes Canada, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and many regional health authorities, spearheading initiatives to increase capacity for physical activity counselling by health care providers. Fowles is currently the chair of the National Advisory Council for Exercise is Medicine Canada, a multi-disciplinary collective advocating for and supporting practical strategies for exercise implementation as a regular component of quality health care.

Nicole Culos-Reed, PhD

Nicole Culos-Reed is a professor of health and exercise psychology in the Faculty of Kinesiology, adjunct professor in the Department of Oncology in Cumming School of Medicine, and director of the Health and Wellness Lab/Thrive Centre. She also holds a research associate appointment with the Department of Psychosocial Resources at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. Culos-Reed’s research takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and improving the quality of life of cancer survivors by developing physical activity programs to address the physical and psychological challenges they face throughout treatment and survivorship. This research has led to much national and international collaboration, including projects with Prostate Cancer Canada, the Movember Foundation, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Her ongoing work includes the development of an Alberta Cancer Exercise (ACE) program that moves exercise into standard of care for all cancer survivors. The ACE program was recently awarded five-year funding through the Cancer Prevention Research Opportunity offered by Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions.

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