Yorkshire Cancer Research Announces Pioneering Exercise Referral Service

05 March 2019

Cancer patients in Harrogate will receive access to a pioneering exercise and health referral service following a £712,000 investment announced today (Tuesday, March 5) by Yorkshire Cancer Research. 

The unique service, expected to launch this summer, will be delivered by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust and offered at diagnosis to all cancer patients in the Harrogate area. 

The programme will include group exercise, one-to one support, home-based activities, yoga and Pilates. Exercise classes will be provided by physiotherapists and physical activity trainers at Harrogate Sports and Fitness Centre, Hookstone Wood Road. 

Research shows that physical activity following a cancer diagnosis can reduce the risk of cancer returning 1. People living with and after cancer who are more active also experience less fatigue, pain, anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances 2,3.

Dr Thomas Collyer, clinical lead for the service and a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Despite the well-established benefit of exercise as a treatment for cancer, access to classes with specialist trainers, delivered in a safe environment, remains extremely limited at best, and often totally unavailable for patients.

“In partnership with Yorkshire Cancer Research, we hope to change this situation for patients living with cancer in Harrogate, and create a model of care that has the potential to be rolled out across Yorkshire.”

The service will be offered to approximately 600 patients a year for an initial period of two years, and will be available before, during and after treatment. It will run alongside an existing Health and Wellbeing programme delivered through the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Cancer Centre, which offers a range of support services including complementary therapies.

Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “This innovative programme represents a step change in the way we think about cancer and achieve the best possible outcomes for patients. 

“Increasing fitness can help to reduce the risk of major cancer surgery and increase the chance of a full recovery. Exercise can also help to reduce the physical decline associated with cancer treatment and improve psychological wellbeing. 

“As the number of patients surviving cancer continues to increase, it’s also important that we offer effective rehabilitation programmes, reducing the risk of the cancer returning and ensuring patients are able to go on and live long and healthy lives.

“We’d like to thank our generous supporters for helping to bring this service to cancer patients living in the Harrogate area.”



  1. Lahart IM, Metsios GS, Nevill AM, Carmichael AR. Physical activity, risk of death and recurrence in breast cancer survivors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Acta Oncol. 2015;54(5):635-654
  2. Mishra SI, Scherer RW, Geigle PM, et al. Exercise interventions on health-related quality of life for cancer survivors. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2012;8:CD007566
  3. Mishra SI, Scherer RW, Snyder C, Geigle PM, Berlanstein DR, Topaloglu O. Exercise interventions on health-related quality of life for people with cancer during active treatment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2012(8):N.PAG-N.PAG 1p.


Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Email: nikki@ycr.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  • Harrogate-based Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity.
  • We are committed to reducing the devastating impact of cancer on the lives of people living in Yorkshire.
  • Our mission is to work in partnership, fund research and support initiatives that will help people in Yorkshire avoid, survive and cope with cancer.
  • Current statistics show that 583 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. Incidence and mortality rates are higher than the England average due to social deprivation, post-industrialisation and lifestyle choices but also availability of healthcare services and difficulties accessing early diagnostics, clinical trials and the latest treatments.
  • We aim to:
    • Be the leading authority on cancer in Yorkshire, understanding the problems and priorities in the region and sharing knowledge with partners.
    • Raise awareness of cancer and how to prevent it by working in local communities, schools and colleges, sports clubs and with other health-related organisations.
    • Promote screening programmes and fund research that can improve the diagnosis of cancer so we can detect and treat it at the earliest opportunity.
    • Invest in innovative research projects at every stage of a cancer patient's journey.
  • For further information, please visit www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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