There are a number of different treatments and therapies available for people recovering from breast cancer, but not many women would expect to find fly fishing on the list. Fly fishing is an angling method in which an artificial “fly” is used to catch fish. The fly is cast using a fly rod, reel, and specialized weighted line. Casting a nearly weightless fly or “lure” requires casting techniques significantly different from other forms of casting. In the mid-1990s, a breast cancer surgeon in the US realised the motions involved in fly-casting were similar to the exercises she was suggesting to her post-operative patients. Breast Cancer Care WA counsellor Cathie Smith said the activity also helped women take a mental break from their treatment. “This is why it’s such a beautiful thing to do. It’s
very rhythmic,” she said.
The benefits of fly fishing for trout could help women who are recovering from breast cancer, according to a report on the BBC TV’s ‘Breakfast’ programme. The programme featured the first retreat organised by ‘Casting for Recovery’, a non-profit support and educational programme for women who have or have had breast cancer. Casting for Recovery says it provides an opportunity for women whose lives have been profoundly affected by breast cancer to gather in an attractive, natural setting and learn to fly-fish. It also offers an opportunity to meet new friends and have fun. Weekend retreats incorporate counselling, educational services and fly-fishing to promote mental and physical healing. Casting for Recovery came to UK and Ireland in 2006 and immediately started planning the first retreat, which took place in mid-September 2007 at the Duncton Mill Fishery in West Sussex (left). The retreats provide an avenue for social support and group interactions, reducing the feeling of isolation many survivors might have. According to Casting for Recovery, which relies on local volunteers and organisations to support community based retreats, the dynamics of fly fishing provide a healing connection to the natural world, relieving everyday stress and promoting a sense of calm. Fly fishing techniques also provide a gentle exercise for joint and soft tissue mobility.
The retreats offer a forum for women with similar experiences to meet, learn a new skill and gain a respite from their everyday concerns.October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we encourage you to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect
the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. Take care of yourselves and the ones dear to you, spread the message!