A NEW advisor is on hand at Andover Leisure Centre to help patients recovering from cancer.

People can now get extra advice and support on how to exercise during treatment and recovery from the newly-trained Every Body Active co-ordinator Laura Thomson.

Laura has completed a course organised and run by charity Macmillan Cancer Support to become a specialist instructor in cancer rehabilitation.

Laura said: “Gone are the days when the advice was ‘rest is best’. A physically active lifestyle has been proven to help manage the side-effects of many cancer treatments and also dramatically improve cancer patients’ recovery and long-term health.

“We can give specialist advice and support to make sure people can feel absolutely confident and enjoy what they’re doing.”

Laura can help anyone referred to the Every Body Active physical activity referral scheme by a health professional, even if they have made the suggestion to the physician themselves.

Macmillan has invested in the training courses because research showed that less than half of health professionals proactively talk about the benefits of keeping physically fit during and after treatment.

Michelle Wilkinson, the regional Macmillan project lead, said: “More than half of GPs, practice nurses, oncologists and cancer nurses do not speak to their patients about the possible benefits of physical activity.

“By providing this training, we hope to help many more people to become physically active during and after cancer, to improve their health and wellbeing.”

For more information about the local support programme and how to join Every Body Active, contact Laura Thomson at Andover Leisure Centre on 01264 347100 or visit valleyleisure.com.