Free exercise center for cancer survivors launches Sept. 28

SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 14, 2011) – It’s no surprise that that regular exercise brings enormous benefits to cancer survivors. The trick is putting that knowledge into widespread practice, and that’s the goal of a new fitness center for cancer survivors opening Sept. 28 at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at The University Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The fitness center will be free and open to all cancer patients in the area, regardless of where they sought treatment.

Stacey Young-McCaughan, RN, Ph.D., AOCN, a professor in the psychiatry department of the School of Medicine at the Health Science Center, crafted the program based on her 12 years of work with hundreds of cancer survivors at Brooke Army Medical Center. In that time she has built the evidence showing that all people, regardless of type of cancer, stage of disease, treatment, or previous experience with exercise, can benefit from an exercise program tailored specifically for them.

“It is so rewarding to see cancer survivors take back control of their lives with exercise, whether they are beginning again or just starting out,” Dr. Young-McCaughan said. “We do so many things to people with cancer, from drawing blood to administering treatments. This is something they can do for themselves, and people really appreciate that.”

Survivors will get complete physical assessments from the fitness center staff, who will design individualized fitness programs that participants can practice either at the facility or in their homes. They’ll be asked to come in for further assessments, both to make sure they’re doing well and give feedback to the staff.

That feedback means the program will continue to produce more data on the links between cancer prevention and physical fitness.

An added bonus for patients: they can bring close family members.

“One of the questions we’ll be asking in each case is, what are the barriers to exercise?” said Jeff Monaco, MS, CSCS*D, the exercise physiologist who will direct the center’s daily operations. “A huge barrier for a lot of people is social support. So hey, you know what? Bring your family member.”

Over the next two years, the program is looking for 750 cancer survivors at any point along the cancer trajectory, and people interested in joining the study can call 210-450-1765. It is funded primarily through a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, with support from the School of Nursing and the Division of Behavioral Medicine at the Health Science Center.

Media will be able to view the fitness center and conduct interviews starting at 10:15 a.m., before the ceremony. Available for interviews will be:

  • Ian M. Thompson, Jr., M.D., director of the CTRC
  • Dr. Young-McCaughan
  • Daniel Hughes, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics
  • Mr. Monaco
  • Nick Davies, a 13-year lung cancer survivor who can talk about the benefits of exercise

Dr. Hughes is also available for Spanish-language interviews.

The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit

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