Edmonton sports broadcaster battling cancer through help of fitness – Edmonton Journal

The Alberta Cancer Exercise program is “life-saving and life-affirming” for a local Edmonton sports broadcasting personality battling cancer.

Dave Jamieson, who has worked with the Edmonton Elks and is a radio host on TSN 1260, was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in 2021. He had an operation in July last year to remove the three-centimetre tumour from his neck and underwent six weeks of radiation.
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“Coming out of that, my body was destroyed,” he said. “I mean, I had very little left, I had no muscle, I lost over 40 pounds. There was a period in there during the radiation, I lost my ability to speak, which given my current employment was frightening.”

He then started with the Alberta Cancer Exercise (ACE) program out of Corbett Hall at the University of Alberta, which helps cancer patients regain their physical strength.

“What ACE helped me with was the physical side, obviously, just to very gently kind of rebuild, rediscover the body,” Jamieson said.

“But there’s also, as anyone who exercises knows, there’s the benefit that you get from sort of re-engaging with your body and just understanding that, OK, there’s some hope here, because I was not in a very good place when I arrived here. But I always say, I felt better leaving this program every day that I came here than I did coming in.”

The ACE program is in its sixth year and is a research study that is looking at how exercise benefits cancer patients, said Margaret McNeely, a professor of rehabilitation medicine at the U of A.

“We’re using exercise strategically to address the symptoms and side effects of the cancer treatments so that individuals can either withstand the treatment better and/or recover from the cancer treatments,” she said.

Patients are able to be assessed, problem areas are determined and an exercise regime is strategically built to be tailored to the individual. McNeely said their completion rate for the 12-week program is 93 per cent while exercise adherence is at 84 per cent.

The program is available to all cancer types and stages of cancer and has been rolled out across the province, with more than 2,400 people that have taken part in it.

“(Patients) can self-refer to the program. If there are any issues in regards to safety, in terms of exercises, then we go back to the physician to get approval, but otherwise, they can self-refer,” McNeely said. “So we’ve made it really easy for them to access the program.”

Jamieson completed a 12-week and a 10-week program with ACE and is now considered a graduate. He is now advocating for the program and credits it for giving him hope.

“What ACE did for me, and I believe it does for others, it gives you a path forward and it does it through physical activity,” he said. “For those suffering and struggling with cancer, whatever form that may take, you need hope.”


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