Dr Emma Williams shares news about the Fit to Fight campaign…
Who am I?
My name is Dr Emma Williams and I am a mum, a doctor and a patient. I am also a member of Lonely Goat Running Club.
I have a rare condition that causes me to produce neuroendocrine tumours. I have recently had major abdominal surgery to remove a cancerous tumour in my pancreas. I recovered quicker than expected, with friends, family and even my surgeon amazed at how quickly I was back to normal.
A couple of years ago, before being diagnosed with cancer I completed a diploma in lifestyle medicine to help improve the health of my patients. I began to practice what I was preaching and over the months that followed I got pretty fit and felt great. I was in the best shape of my life when my cancer was diagnosed. My world was turned upside down and the “fight” to beat cancer was on!
No doubt the excellent care I had made a huge difference to my recovery but my fitness going into surgery played a significant part in my recovery.
My mission; to get the nation fitter and healthier to be ‘fit to fight’.
Fit to Fight
I started with the idea that I would run a marathon to raise money for the AMEND and PLANETS cancer charities, but realised that getting my friends and family fit by walking and running together was equally important. By improving their health not only would we prevent disease but also help them recover quicker when and if they needed to win a fight of their own.
I was amazed that most people I spoke to wanted to help and join in so with the support of a number of like minded friends we decided to not only help our own friends and family, but to spread the word to as many people as possible. I am organising a virtual running event from the 5th to the 10th November, as the 10th is World Neuroendocrine Tumour Awareness Day. You can sign up at this link:
The benefits of physical activity
Studies have shown physical activity leads to a significant reduction in all cause mortality. More specifically, physically activity improves mental health, reduces your chance of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, falls, and is helpful in diabetes, obesity and dementia.
The list does not stop here.
Patients who are physically fit prior to cancer surgery tend to have a better recovery. Wesfit is a trial in Southampton looking at prehabilitation in cancer patients offering physical activity and psychological support. There is now the Safefit trial delivering physical, nutritional and emotional advice through virtual sessions to cancer patients throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Physical activity is a fundamental intervention of prehabilitation or “prehab” in the lead up to surgery. There is established evidence that prehab is not only shown to be affective in cancer patients but also non cancer patients. Increased functional capacity, decrease depression, reduced hospital length of stay, improved quality of life, reduced complications and increase in physical fitness.
We are what we do
Our genes play an important role in our health but so does our environment and behaviour. Did you know that what we eat and how much physical activity we do affects the way our genes work. So if like me you get dealt a bad genetic hand, make the most of it by getting fit and healthy!
Let’s get the nation fitter and happier. Let’s join together and be “fit to fight”.
+++[Lonely Goat editor’s note: Dr Emma Williams is organising the Fit to Fight event. Lonely Goat Running Club supports Emma and her Fit to Fight campaign, but we are not responsible for it]