Dance whatever happens to you. I wish it were true, but even if moving to the rhythm of music doesn’t cure the tumor, it helps those who suffer from it to face the disease with a different spirit. Numerous scientific studies have long demonstrated the beneficial effect that physical activity can have both as prevention and therapy and dance is no exception, but rather adds the further benefit of positive effects on mood, self-esteem and socialization that allows. He knows it well Carolyn Smith, president of the jury of Dancing with the Stars, who has lived the experience of cancer first-hand and who now wants to offer patients the opportunity to experience the therapeutic power of dance. This is why Dance For Oncology (D4O) was born, a project that offers free dance courses designed specifically for cancer patients. The entire initiative, presented today in Rome with a national conference at the Chamber of Deputies, is promoted by the newly formed association D4O which for the first time in Europe activates this service throughout the Peninsula.
Anxiety and depression due to cancer
40% of patients being treated for cancer experience symptoms of anxiety and stress. Seven out of ten have an emotional tone that is not within the norm. With clinically significant discomfort and repercussions on the outcome of treatment. Furthermore, less than 50% of cancer patients regularly carry out physical activity, which is essential to counteract anxious-depressive symptoms. “Numerous scientific research has demonstrated how important physical activity can be in the treatment process of a cancer patient – he explains Adriana Bonifacinopresident of the IncontraDonna Foundation, scientific director of D4O. It is part of the tertiary prevention of cancer and therefore of avoiding recurrences after an initial diagnosis, of controlling the symptoms of the neoplasm and of counteracting the possible complications caused by the treatments. Dancing, in all its styles and different artistic expressions, is a valid ally for health. It is fun, pleasant and, in particular conditions, can be recommended to patients.”
by IRMA D’ARIA
In company to chase away dark thoughts
Dance For Oncology was born precisely to try to overcome these problems. “Cancer represents a very difficult experience to face – he underlines Carolyn Smith. Men and women, of every age group, need concrete help as well as, obviously, adequate medical assistance. Dancing may seem like a frivolous activity with no connection to the disease. It can actually lead to a whole host of benefits. It can guarantee a good mood, because it allows you to have fun and rediscover enthusiasm and light-heartedness. Improve your fitness with an activity that is engaging and can be done at low intensity. Finally, it helps to find new friends to meet and share the same illness experience. Since 2015 I have been fighting my battle against an ‘intruder’ that I found in my body. I must admit that dancing, which has always been a fundamental part of my life, was also decisive in my treatment journey. Now, thanks to our project, it can be the same for many other people.”
by Irma D’Aria
An increasingly chronic disease
In Italy there are over three and a half million people currently living with a diagnosis of oncology disease. “Today, thanks to new therapies and early diagnosis, we are able to guarantee a good quality of life for patients. For some tumors we can talk about healing, for others about chronicity, guaranteeing a return to emotional and working life for tens of thousands of people”, underlines Saverio Cinierinational president of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (Aiom). “Having the opportunity to also attend dance courses organized and recommended by the treating doctor represents a new and effective way of promoting tertiary prevention. As Aiom we are happy to sponsor and share this innovative project dedicated to the ever-increasing number of cancer patients”.
by Dario Rubino
A gift with a dance step
Since last July, more than 50 dance teachers from all over Italy have been trained. “Special thanks go to all the dance teachers who enthusiastically joined, making it possible for thousands of patients to attend the courses for free in this initiative which has no equal in Europe,” he adds. Mauro Boldrini, partner of D4O and director of Aiom Communications. In October, 15 dance schools were launched in Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont, Liguria, Tuscany, Lazio, Emilia-Romagna, Puglia, Sicily. Another 35 will start in January 2024 and more than 20 oncology centers and associations throughout Italy have already joined the initiative. “Dance is an ally of well-being even during old age – he adds Roberto Messina, president of Senior Italia FederAnziani. More generally, with the right precautions, it can also be practiced by fragile people such as, for example, cancer patients who, in half of the cases, are over 70 years old. Dance For Oncology is an excellent initiative and we hope it can help a growing number of men and women across the Peninsula.” The Dance for Oncology association can be supported by contacting the site’s email address or through the social channels Instagram and Facebook (@dance4oncology).
For donations: IBAN IT25X0306909606100000196420.