Research shows that survivors of childhood cancer have lower levels of fitness and also rate their physical health lower than their peers – the hospital team wanted to find a practical way of showing families that it is possible to get back to an active life. The first DIFY (Do It For You) Day was held at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield in 2012, showcasing many different sport and leisure activities and actively encouraging patients (at all stages of treatment and follow-up) and families to try them out. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with many parents appreciating the opportunity for their children to try out new activities in a safe and supportive environment.
Survivors of childhood cancer are known to rate their physical health below that of population norms, and have also been found to show lower levels of physical function and fitness compared to ’healthy children’. Cancer and its treatment predispose individuals to late morbidity – this is particularly true for children who received intensive treatment. Late effects that have the potential to impact on physical functioning include cardiopulmonary toxicity, endocrinopathies and neurocognitive dysfunction. Treatment for childhood cancer also impacts on future psychosocial functioning with problems ranging from distorted body image and loss of confidence to learning difficulties and post-traumatic stress disorder.
To address the health inequality between childhood cancer patients/survivors and healthy peers by encouraging patients to increase their activity at all stages of their treatment and follow-up. To hold a family orientated event which could help to strengthen relationships within the family.
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