June 24, 2020

Dayani now offers exercise consultations for cancer patients

The Vanderbilt Dayani Center for Health and Wellness is now offering exercise planning consultations for people with cancer diagnoses.

By Tom Wilemon


The Vanderbilt Dayani Center for Health and Wellness is now offering exercise planning consultations for people with cancer diagnoses.

The exercise plans are tailored according to someone’s medical condition and personal goals. Exercise physiologists develop the personalized plan for a one-time fee of $45. The Medical Fitness Cancer Rehab assessment session can be done in person or via a virtual visit with telehealth technology from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“The exercise physiologists will spend the majority of that time tailoring a program that is realistic and reasonable for the patient to do on a regular basis,” said Carey Tomlinson, PT, assistant manager of rehab at the Vanderbilt Dayani Center. “Our goals with this program are to address physical activity and cardiovascular function because we know they are correlated with survival rates as well as quality of life.”

The program is available to Vanderbilt cancer patients by physician referral. The exercise physiologists providing the consultations are Rachel Moore, MS, EP-C, and Elizabeth Tolliver.

“If I meet with someone and they tell me right off the bat they hate running, I will never make that person’s goal running,” Moore said. “We really tailor the exercise plans to what people like. If someone says, ‘I have a bike at home’ or ‘I have a stationary bike and like to watch TV while I bike,’ we will come up with a plan around that.”

Some patients may need to start with walking, chair exercises or other less strenuous activities. The exercise physiologists will develop the plan according to a patient’s medical records to ensure that no activities are harmful. The exercise routine can be designed

“If someone’s goal is to play with their grandchildren, that can work,” Tomlinson said. “That can count as exercise. Or if someone has a daughter in high school and wants to be able to go to her basketball game, we will work with that patient on being able to climb the stairs in the bleachers.”

The exercise routines can be designed for a gym environment or home setting, depending upon patient preferences. Many cancer patients are avoiding gyms to avoid potential exposure to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

“I ask each patient where they would prefer to exercise,” Moore said. “If they want to avoid a gym, then we work together to identify things around their home they can use to exercise. If they enjoy going to the gym, we can certainly plan a gym routine. There is always an option to exercise even if gym access is not available or just not your preference.”

Working with cancer patients is not a new endeavor for the staff at the Dayani Center, which already offers therapy programs for people affected by lymphedema as well as a strengthening regimen for people recovering from stem cell transplants.

“The staff at Dayani will be sharing their expertise with our exercise physiologists to help them grow and develop the program,” Tomlinson said.