Bringing strength to cancer care
Sarah Huntly is a highly qualified physiotherapist with more than 21 years’ experience.
She has completed specialised training in Oncology Rehabilitation and is now bringing her expertise to her local community, offering Oncology Physiotherapy to the Bellarine and beyond.
Sarah founded Cancer Exercise Australia with the intention to provide expert, evidence-based physiotherapy in a supportive environment to people with cancer.
“People often ask me if it is difficult to work in the area of cancer care – it is certainly emotional at times, and also a deeply connective and meaningful experience,” Sarah said.
“To share my time with someone and support them through cancer is a privilege.
“Empowering someone through exercise to improve their quality of life and achieve their goals is very rewarding.”
The right kind of exercise is safe at any stage of cancer and has strong evidence supporting improvements in cancer outcomes, treatment tolerance and reduced side effects of treatment. Exercise improves muscle strength, bone health, functional capacity and can improve mood and sleep.
“We also know it can prevent falls and help Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN),” Sarah said.
She acknowledges that despite the long list of benefits, it can be hard for people to know what to do, or where to start.
Sarah’s vision is to empower people through exercise to positively affect their cancer experience and life.
Sarah has experience working with all types of cancer and welcomes people at any stage. “It is never too early or too late to start,” she said.
“Prehabilitation is physiotherapy targeted immediately after diagnosis and before treatment commencement.
“It has evidence-based positive outcomes to help people prepare for surgery, chemotherapy, stem cell transplants and other treatment. Physiotherapy can help even years after treatment completion.
“My clients say that they don’t feel ‘back to normal’ after treatment. Exercise is an important part of long-term recovery.”
Sarah said side effects of treatment such as cancer-related fatigue can be debilitating and can stop people from participating in joyful and meaningful activity.
According to Sarah, exercise is the best remedy.
“The key is doing the right kind of exercise at the right dose. At Cancer Exercise Australia, your cancer type, history and capacity is all taken in to account for an individual, targeted approach,’ she said.
Sarah runs 1:1 and small group sessions at Empower Transformation Studio in Sinclair Street, Ocean Grove as well as offering home programs for people who want to work independently.
Sarah offers an environment where clients will feel welcome, comfortable and individually supported.
Sarah aims to create a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community and First Nations people, and understands the importance of this in health care.
She is also passionate about using video telehealth.
“Telehealth can make access to exercise sessions easy. People find telehealth convenient during chemotherapy or radiotherapy and may be too unwell or too tired to travel, or live a distance away,” Sarah said.
“If you have, or know someone who has cancer, please reach out to me and we can talk through your needs.” Sarah extends her services to educate the community through GP development sessions, cancer support groups and community groups.
“I really just want all people with cancer to know that exercise is part of your treatment plan. It can be an emotional and overwhelming time, and I am here to support you. The right kind of exercise is important and achievable.”
Chronic Disease Management plans via your GP are accepted, and private health insurance rebates may apply.
For more information, head to cancerexerciseaustralia.com.au, phone Sarah on 0493 257 497 and follow Cancer Exercise Australia on Instagram and Facebook.