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Leading law firm Slater and Gordon has marked Asbestos Awareness Week by donating $30,000 from its Asbestos Research Fund to a clinical trial examining the potential benefits of physical activity for lung cancer patients.
The clinical trial will be conducted by a number of prominent Sydney doctors and will involve patients from Concord Repatriation General Hospital and Westmead Hospital, as well as Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown and Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick.
Senior asbestos lawyer Joanne Wade said the trial was underway, with promising early results.
“We work with people everyday who are suffering from advanced lung cancer as the result of exposure to asbestos. It is our hope that this funding will, in the future, help to improve their quality of life,” Ms Wade said.
“From their earlier work, researchers are already seeing promising results in patients participating in the eight-week physical activity program.
“These sorts of studies have been conducted with patients suffering other forms of cancer, and shown the benefits of exercise. This trial is, however, the first to focus on patients with advanced lung cancer.”
The clinical trial involves patients participating in a weekly supervised physical activity and behaviour change program over eight weeks. The primary aim of the trial is to examine whether increased physical activity lowers levels of fatigue, anxiety/depression and stress in patients with advanced lung cancer.
Lead doctor Janette Vardy from the University of Sydney said the research had the potential to provide a simple, safe and cost-effective treatment that would improve quality of life for lung cancer patients and help them maintain independent function for as long as possible.
“We currently have 72 patients at four cancer centre sites and their satisfaction with the program is very high,” Dr Vardy said.
According to Dr Haryana Dhillon, a Behavioural Scientist from Sydney University who is also working on the study:
"Our early work has demonstrated that people with lung cancer are both willing and able to participate in a physical activity program. They greatly value the guidance of physical activity consultants."
The other doctors conducting the study are: Dr Hidde van der Ploeg and Dr Melanie Bell from the University of Sydney, Professor Stephen Clarke, a Medical Oncologist at Royal North Shore Hospital and Associate Professor Michael Boyer, at the Sydney Cancer Centre.