22 Jan Triage Cancer Speaker Spotlight: Meet Dr. Kate Wolin
When we asked her about the main areas of focus when talking about exercise and cancer she broke it down into three main points. First, there are psychological advantages of physical exercise. Exercise has a range of benefits that can help cancer survivors manage symptoms and side effects, as well as improve function and quality of life.
But Dr. Wolin isn’t suggesting that we all have to become marathon runners, but rather to “start low and slow and progress up,” especially for those that have not been active in some time. Therefore, Dr. Wolin recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a day; a brisk walk is enough at first to gain the benefits of physical exercise. And finally, don’t forget about strength training. Even moderate resistance training has huge benefits. If you have access to a personal trainer or fitness specialist, ask them for help in developing a program and proper form. Many gyms and community cancer centers offer exercise programs that are free of charge for those coping with cancer.
Dr. Wolin doesn’t just rely on other’s research to develop her ideas. She is currently working on a study that looks at colon cancer patients that have completed treatment and analyzes the methods and benefits of a home-based strength-training program called Thera-Band resistance training. She is also developing a web-based program that helps cancer survivors with their health/exercise questions and needs. Dr. Wolin advocates using technology more in order to reach those who do not live near gym centers or who cannot afford to go to fitness classes. The Internet gives everyone the opportunity to have the tools and programs available to them.
Reaching out to a larger audience and to those who are unable to get the information they need is very important to Dr. Wolin. She is honored to be a member of Triage Cancer’s Speakers Bureau because it allows researchers like her the opportunity to get out into the community and share their findings with survivors, their families, and as many people as possible. She holds that a lot of the research out there is written in journals that require a subscription, is not always accessible in language or format, and is written for an audience that already knows the material. The Speaker’s Bureau makes this important knowledge accessible to everyone and it helps the public see that cancer treatment and survivorship goes beyond drugs, surgery, and the care that goes on in the doctor’s office; there are lots of other elements to caring for the whole patient.
Dr. Wolin is looking forward to speaking in Philadelphia this year at The Society for Behavioral Medicine Meeting. She hopes to encourage other researchers to get engaged in social media and use this as a way to communicate with the public. There is a very active and growing cancer community online, and she wants to get her academic peers involved and engaged in this community to be able to reach out to as many people as possible and share their research.