The Bowel Cancer Recovery Toolkit

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Sarah Russell aims to fill the gap in the patient pathway where there is little knowledge about rehabilitation and the benefits of exercise after abdominal surgery. Her research, based on a survey of 2700 patients, showed that people become less active and lose confidence after a cancer diagnosis, but being more active can in fact have disproportionately positive effects, with the power to rebuild confidence and self-esteem when most needed. There is also overwhelming evidence that exercise is one of the most effective ways to manage the side effects of cancer treatment – but what is safe and appropriate? Based on her research and long experience of working with stoma patients and others who have experienced abdominal surgery, Sarah sets out step by step what will help to regain fitness and with it a sense of wellbeing. This is a key part of the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative and therefore of increasing topicality as survival rates for cancer increase.

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PART I: KEEP MOVING, KEEP IMPROVING; What do we mean by exercise? Treatments for bowel cancer and how exercise can help; PART I: STAYING SAFE: Precautions and adaptations; Living and exercising with a stoma; Managing fatigue and self-care; PART III: THE EXERCISES: Principles of exercise and monitoring; Core exercises and rehabilitation after surgery; Advanced core and general fitness exercises; PART IV: DIET AND LIFESTYLE: Healthy nutrition and hydration; Overcoming barriers and getting motivated; Appendix; My story; References and resources

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About the Author

Sarah Russell is a Clinical Exercise Specialist with a Masters degree in sport and exercise science and over 25 years’ experience. She is a qualified cancer exercise instructor and is passionate about the role of movement and physical activity in the recovery process after illness or surgery, helping to rebuild confidence and improve quality of life. She works as a consultant for ConvaTec (a global medical devices company) and has delivered training to hundreds of NHS nurses and clinicians, educating them about exercise after abdominal surgery. She has also presented to thousands of clinicians around the world at International conferences, regularly speaks at patient workshops for the Ileostomy Association and various cancer support groups, and is recognised as one of the leading specialists in this area. Sarah has published her work in numerous clinical journals, magazines and websites. She understands the challenges of going through major abdominal surgery and living with a stoma, as she has had an ileostomy herself since 2010. She has gone on to run 27 marathons, various ultra-distance runs and endurance challenges.

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