CanWell is a 12-week supervised exercise and education program designed for individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer at any stage of their cancer treatment.

CanWell participants have access to Kinesiologists and certified fitness leaders who have completed additional training on exercising safely with people diagnosed with cancer. The CanWell YMCA staff are further supported by the on-going collaborative relationship with a physiotherapist and nurse practitioner from Hamilton Health Sciences who have expertise in cancer.

The CanWell program was developed in partnership between Hamilton Health Sciences, the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford, and McMaster University.


How to Stay (or Become) Motivated

Research shows that people who exercise with others (family, friends, other people in “the same boat”) are more likely to continue and exercise over the long term. At CanWell, you can join and exercise with… well, anyone you want!

People who do exercises they enjoy, will continue to exercise! This does make sense, does it not? At the YMCA there is a large gym with many different types of equipment to choose from. Participants also have access to all the different YMCA programs such as pool exercise, step classes, Pilates, and others.

What if I hate exercise? Try and find some physical activity you do like. Maybe dancing, walking, or, any physical activity. There are many benefits related to exercise for people with cancer, that are very important. These range from improved strength to potentially improving survival (for some cancers).

The bottom line: Find a way to get moving… safely!

Working Together

CanWell is unique in that it is founded on a partnership between Hamilton Health Sciences (Juravinski Cancer Center), McMaster University (School of Rehabilitation Sciences), and the regional YMCA program.

The partnership allows Hospital based health professionals to work with people with cancer in the community. The hospital staff help YMCA develop and learn the needed skills to help people with cancer exercise safely and how to conduct clinical research. The University partners help with supporting community-based research and on-going development of the CanWell program. The YMCA staff provide a fun, safe, and clean environment for the program participants to exercise in.

Together, the partnership helps CanWell participant maximize their abilities, learn to control fatigue, pain, poor sleep, and other complications related to cancer or its treatment.

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