Sport to help beat cancer

Sport to help beat cancer

On 8 October 2018, Stade Toulousain Rugby Club and the IUCT-Oncopole, two of Toulouse’s most prominent institutions, signed a partnership agreement to facilitate the inclusion of sport in the treatment of cancer.

Since 3 September 2018, the IUCT-O’s Supportive Care Department, in collaboration with CAMI Sport & Cancer, has given patients the opportunity to participate in twice-weekly sports therapy sessions in the motivating environment of Stade Toulousain’s extremely well-equipped Ernest-Wallon Stadium.

Thanks to support from Malakoff Médéric, the partnership is able to run special events throughout the rugby season, offering patients, their families and IUCT-O staff seats at Stade Toulousain’s home games and opportunities to meet the club’s top players.

In addition, Stade Toulousain raised extra funds for the IUCT-O’s Sport & Cancer Initiative by holding a charity event during their home game against ASM Clermont Auvergne in April 2019.





IUCT Oncopole

Less fatigue, less stress, less pain… These are just some of the undisputed benefits of taking regular exercise after cancer treatment. Consequently, we encourage patients to take up an appropriate form of physical activity, either as soon as possible after surgery or during drug therapies, as it provides an effective defense against fatigue and the side effects of treatment. What is more, recent studies suggest that doing sport regularly can reduce the risk of relapse by up to 50%.

We are happy and proud to have been able to create this partnership with Stade Toulousain, as it represents a fabulous opportunity for ensuring the long-term future and development of the physical activity offer provided by the IUCT-O’s Sport and Cancer Initiative", explains the IUCT-O’s director, Professor Michel Attal.

In 2017, the IUCT-O, in conjunction with CAMI, created a program of intra-hospital sports therapy sessions. The resulting Sport and Cancer Initiative is sponsored by Malakoff Médéric and steered by Dr. Nathalie Caunes-Hilary.
Over the last 18 months, 200 patients have taken advantage of the Initiative’s sports therapy sessions, which are free and provided on prescription for a period of six months.
Initial evaluations show clear benefits, with 76% of participants reporting a reduction in fatigue.

However, the Sport and Cancer Initiative had to overcome three major obstacles if it was to expand its activity: a lack of suitable premises, a lack of funding for sports educators, a lack of motivation on the part of patients, who often find it difficult to get to the sessions. The partnership with Stade Toulousain has removed these obstacles. It will also enable us to offer this service to larger numbers of patients. Sessions will take place in a safe and well-equipped environment, away from the hospital, where patients will rub shoulders with elite athletes. We hope this will encourage more patients to take part and create the long-term commitment to physical activity that is needed to obtain the greatest impact on health and well-being,” continues Prof. Attal.
In addition, operations such as invitations to prestige rugby matches, and meet-and-greets with players and coaches, will be held throughout the year.

The first session attracted 20 patients, who were welcomed by Didier Lacroix and the players before being given a tour of the club’s facilities, including the senior team’s changing room.

Finally, this agreement will provide extra resources for carrying out pilot studies to evaluate the medical and economic benefits of physical activity. We are designing research programs to measure the impact of physical activity on the development of side effects that certain molecules induce, such as fatigue, pain, tendon fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis and neuropathies” concludes Prof. Attal.   



I would like to thank the sponsors of this initiative, Malakoff Médéric, as well as the pharmaceuticals companies that will undoubtedly join the project – I’m thinking of Celgène and Sanofi – for their deep and sincere commitment to the Sport & Cancer Initiative. Their contribution will not only finance the sessions provided by CAMI, it will also enable numerous operations to be carried out for the benefit of the IUCT-O’s patients and staff. Finally, I would like to extend my warmest thanks to Didier Lacroix, Stade Toulousain’s president, for being so open to the project from the very start of our discussions, and to all of the club’s teams, which, we have seen, are highly committed to making sure our patients receive the best possible welcome.



Stade Toulousain Rugby Club

Rugby is a sport in which nothing can be achieved without commitment and teamwork. This is also the philosophy that motivated Stade Toulousain’s decision to support a venture that is both people-oriented and unifying.

This partnership is Stade Toulousain’s first step in the field of “Sport & Health”, a theme to which the club intends to make a concrete and long-term commitment.

 Personally, I believe that empathy only becomes truly meaningful when it is accompanied by concrete actions. Cancer does not define us, but our actions to help those who fight this disease every day do.

This is why I am very proud that, today, thanks to the commitment of all – players, managers, staff and partners – alongside the Oncopole and Malakoff Médéric, we can use the word team in its most noble sense.” Didier Lacroix, President of Stade Toulousain Rugby Club.




Malakoff Médéric - CAMI

Malakoff Médéric has made overcoming fragilities a priority for its social and societal actions, especially in the fight against cancer.

This commitment illustrates our desire to contribute to advances in treatment pathways by promoting the development of new therapeutic models and making them accessible to as many people as possible.

Thus, through its strategy of setting up carefully targeted partnerships, Malakoff Médéric promotes supportive care as a non-drug-based therapy whose benefits are now widely recognized. Our partnership with CAMI to develop Sport & Cancer Initiatives throughout France is a concrete example of this commitment.

Our partnership with Toulouse Oncopole and Stade Toulousain has allowed us to expand our commitment to encouraging people with cancer to take up a physical activity,” explains Pascal Andrieux, Malakoff Médéric’s director of social responsibility.

For Jean-Marc Descotes, Director of CAMI, “in addition to the intra-hospital Sport & Cancer Initiative, the partnership with Stade Toulousain will allow us to help patients continue participating in a physical activity when they leave the IUCT-Oncopole. It means that we can immediately offer sessions at Stade Toulousain to patients whose health allows them to make their own way to the stadium (unlike the more “fragile” patients at the IUCT-Oncopole, who are sedentary and/or undergoing/beginning treatment with side effects such as severe deconditioning or fatigue)”.

In practical terms, a consultation session (Monday from 9 am to 10 am) and four sports sessions (Monday from 10 am to noon and Thursday from 9 am to 11am) have been held at Ernest-Wallon Stadium every week since September 2018. A course of activity sessions lasts four months and can be repeated as many times as the patient’s health requires.

Sessions are led by sports therapists trained by CAMI Sport & Cancer, who ensure they are safe and adapted to the patients’ needs.

Around 100 patients will be able to take advantage of the program during the first year.