Started in 2011, Maple Tree Cancer Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals who battle cancer. We accomplish this through an evidence-based program of supervised, individualized exercise training. Grounded in research, our program has demonstrated improved patient outcomes in terms of increased fitness parameters, decreased symptom severity, and decreased health care utilization. To date, we have 55 clinical partners across the US and partnership sites in Brazil, China, and New Zealand. We are in active conversations with other countries to grow our license program, and desire to continue to grow this program internationally.
Program Description and Methodology
Maple Tree Cancer Alliance has created a unique phase system of exercise oncology that our patients progress through as they complete their treatment journey. Four basic phases are employed:
Phase 0: Prehabilitation
Includes patients at the time of their diagnosis prior to the start of treatment. In this phase, baseline measurements are taken and the patient is provided with wellness education to equip them for their cancer journey. If time allows, exercise programming is initiated.
Phase 1: Active Treatment
Includes patients who are currently in chemotherapy/radiation. The focus of this phase is to protect immune function and minimize treatment-related side effects.
Phase 2: Pre-Survivorship
Includes patients who have either completed chemotherapy/radiation, or only received surgery and/or hormonal therapy. The primary goal in this program is to bridge the gap between the need for rehabilitation services following surgery/active treatment and survivorship, where the patient is cancer free and able to exercise on their own in a community-based setting.
Phase 3: Survivorship
Consists of patients who have successfully completed treatment and are in remission from their cancer. This phase often takes place outside of the clinical setting in the community, with exercise trainers who have been trained and certified to work with a cancer survivor.
Maple Tree will collaborate with you to provide education, training and certification of professionals in your country to conduct and manage cancer rehabilitation programs. This partnership involves three specific areas:
Training and Certification
Maple Tree will offer two courses. The first is to educate and certify Exercise Oncology Instructors (EOI) who can then operate the exercise portion of the cancer rehabilitation programs. The second is to go into more depth to educate and certify Exercise Oncology Educators (EOE) who can then teach others how to prescribe exercise in the cancer rehabilitation programs.
Developing Exercise Oncology Programs
The EOEs and the EOIs can then develop the exercise programs in your country. The EOEs can train others to work in a cancer rehabilitation clinic. When a clinic expands to another hospital, it is assumed that at least one EOI and EOE will go to the new clinic to organize and direct that program. If a new independent clinic is established in another city or hospital or if there is a need for more personnel, it is recommended that another group of professionals take one or both of the courses. When an EOE trains others and they want to be certified by MTCA, they will have to meet the theoretical and practical requirements before they can take the certification exam. This exam will be controlled by MTCA and there will be a fee (to be agreed upon) payable to MTCA. The exam fee is included in the cost of the course.
Information Exchange and Program Establishment
In consultation with the partner country, MTCA may send experts to your country to give lectures and guidance to their colleagues who have set up or want to set up cancer rehabilitation programs. Another possibility is for the partner country to send EOIs to Maple Tree in Dayton, Ohio to be given in-depth training, followed by the certification exam for EOE. Finally, there may be on-line forums, in which experts from the US give lectures and have discussions with their international counterparts about mutually agreed-upon topics.
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