Health coaching supports people with cancer

health coaching for cancer patients
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How can health coaching support people with a cancer diagnosis?

At Oncology Recovery Services, we offer integrated care in the disciplines of physiotherapy, massage therapy and exercise therapy. Health coaching adds another level of support to the integrative care offered, that helps reduce or eliminate cancer treatment symptoms and side effects.


What does a health coach do?

Emotional support. A cancer diagnosis may be emotionally overwhelming. A health coach can provide a safe space for you to express your feelings, fears, and concerns. Coaches can offer empathy, validation, and encouragement, helping you better navigate the emotional rollercoaster that often accompanies a cancer diagnosis.


Empowerment. Empowering you to take an active role in your management is key, and health coaches can help you better understand and engage with your treatment and the potential side effects of treatment. The health coach may help to enhance your communication skills and facilitate a better and more collaborative relationship with your health care team.


Purpose and meaning. Exploring values may be a key part of the coaching relationship, as cancer treatment involves addressing not only the physical aspects of the disease but also the psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions. Having a safe place to explore changes in your life may lead to shifts in what you see as your purpose in life, your direction and what cancer means for you. Identifying and using your character strengths to deal with the challenges of a cancer diagnosis may help this process.


Goal setting. Health coaching may include goal setting, that is working collaboratively to set and achieve realistic and achievable goals. These goals may vary depending on your priorities. Goals may be specific, such as managing treatment side effects or pursuing specific health outcomes, or broader, such as nurturing your mind, body and relationships, performing more meaningful activities, or changing your life goals. Health coaches provide support that is based on sound evidence-based principles as you work towards your goals.


Evidence based health coaching 


Using evidence-based interventions ensures that clients receive the best possible psychological treatment, integrating the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of what the client needs and wants. Collaborative decision-making between the client and the coach is key to this approach.


Evidence based interventions include mindfulness, positive psychology and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). Mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged in the present moment – free from distraction or judgement.

Mindfulness practices can include focusing on the breath and observing each rise and fall, body scan meditations, and mindful walking. Mindfulness has been shown to help cancer patients with anxiety and uncertainty and to cope better with the adverse impact of cancer treatment.

Positive psychology aims to improve your psychological strengths, enhance coping and may help to improve your resilience and quality of life. Positive psychology interventions are deliberate, simple, and systematic exercises such as writing a letter of gratitude or performing simple acts of kindness.

Cognitive behaviour therapy is a practical, goal-focused approach that focusses on achieving behavioural change through changing incorrect and unhelpful thinking using the relationship between thinking and behaviour. CBT helps to address symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

What your health coaching journey might look like


Your needs will vary depending on where you are in your journey. We offer programs of coaching support that are tailored to your needs. Each program will have clear goals, based on evidence-based interventions, use collaborative decision-making and actively encourage your informed participation, with regular reviews of your progress.

Your role in your recovery

In coaching, you are the driver in the relationship, setting the agenda for each session, choosing the health goals, strategies and targets. The health coach helps you look for positives and create the framework that suits your needs and wants, and offers strategies to best achieve your goals within the constraints of your life. Celebrating the wins and the good times that will occur is critical, whether that’s completing chemotherapy or getting some exercise into your day.

In summary

A health coach uses an evidence-based approach to help you return to or develop an active and satisfying life; they can provide valuable support and guidance for individuals navigating the challenges of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Engaging in a coaching relationship that offers emotional support, promotes your empowerment and assists with goal setting and achievement, helps you to focus more on holistic wellbeing and optimising your quality of life and resilience.

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About Us

Oncology Recovery Services Inc. is a multidisciplinary centre that specialises in cancer care and lymphoedema management.

Clinic Hours

Monday Closed

Tuesday 8:00am – 5:00pm

Wednesday 8:00am – 5:00pm

Thursday 8:00am – 5:00pm​

Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm

Saturday 8:00am – 3:00pm

Located in Sydney