Oxford Paddlers For Life was founded in early 2018, and launched their first dragon boat trip on the water in February 2019

Oxford Paddlers For Life was created to promote and support the good physical and mental health of people who have been affected by cancer, in particular but not exclusively breast cancer, and their friends and family by providing facilities and training in dragon boating in Oxfordshire. The aim is to keep things fun, full of camaraderie and mutual support.

Why do we need this?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer, with one in eight women in the UK developing breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. More women than ever are surviving breast cancer thanks to better awareness, better screening and better treatments. Around five out of six women diagnosed in the UK today will be alive in five years’ time, compared to three out of six women 40 years ago. However, nearly 1,000 women still die of breast cancer every month in the UK.

Oxfordshire has a higher incidence of breast cancer compared to the England average, as the county is relatively affluent, and research indicates that women in the least deprived socioeconomic groups have higher breast cancer incidence. Macmillan, Breast Cancer Care and the International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission (IBCPC)  all support the importance of exercise during and after treatment for both primary and secondary breast cancer.

Physical activity can be an important part of recovery after cancer treatment. Being active has many benefits and can help to:

  • reduce tiredness and some treatment side effects
  • reduce anxiety and depression
  •  improve your mood and quality of life
  •  strengthen your muscles, joints and bones
  •  look after your heart and reduce the risk of other health problems

Physical activity is consistently linked to a lower risk of breast cancer recurrence. A large study showed that women who exercised moderately (the equivalent of walking three to five hours a week at an average pace) following a breast cancer diagnosis had 40 to 50 percent lower risks of breast cancer recurrence and death from breast cancer or any cause, compared with women who exercised less.

Research strongly suggests that dragon boating specifically helps with improving wellness and post-treatment quality of life.Breast cancer participants dragon boating is an international movement inspired by the research of Canadian sports medicine specialist Don McKenzie. Survivors of breast cancer join together to paddle dragon boats to the benefit of their physical health and social well-being.

There are now more than 140 breast cancer survivor dragon boat teams paddling all over the world. Before Oxford Paddlers for Life the nearest team for breast cancer participants was Worcester (some 60 miles away).

Please contact info@oxfordpfl.org if you would like any further information