Cancer survivors in Sydney’s Inner West have the opportunity to improve their lifestyle habits thanks to Enriching Survivorship, a tailored exercise and nutrition program run by Cancer Council NSW, commencing 10 March 2017 at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Camperdown.
The Enriching Survivorship program is a free group-based program comprised of eight, two hour, face to face, weekly sessions. It provides cancer survivors with a range of nutrition information, involvement in physical activity and practical information and discussion about adjusting to life following cancer treatment.
For the first time, the program now includes a new yoga and mindfulness session to enable participants to explore mindfulness and relaxation techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Jeny Gautam, Community Programs Coordinator at Cancer Council NSW Metro Sydney, said that with cancer survival on the increase, lifestyle programs like Enriching Survivorship are an efficient and effective way to support behaviour change which is vital to improving the long-term health of those affected by cancer.
“A healthy diet and physical activity have been shown to enhance the physical and psychosocial health of cancer survivors and reduce the risk of cancer and cancer recurrence.
“We understand that previous habits can be hard to change on your own, and with the added fatigue experienced by many cancer survivors, people can easily slip back into their old ways post-treatment,” said Ms Gautam.
“Getting back to a healthy lifestyle after cancer is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Our new yoga and mindfulness session targets overall health and wellbeing by teaching participants a variety of relaxation and meditation techniques to help reduce their stress and anxiety. Every little bit helps and making healthy lifestyle choices can also reduce the risk of cancer recurrence,” she continued.
Being a healthy weight can help prevent the recurrence of breast, bowel and prostate cancers. Physical activity can improve muscle strength, stamina, self-esteem, quality of life, and reduce common side effects of cancer treatment such as fatigue, nausea, pain, anxiety and depression. One study has suggested that physical activity after diagnosis reduces bowel cancer deaths by up to 30 per cent.
Michael Marthick, Exercise Physiologist at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, said that having hosted the first Enriching Survivorship program in late 2016, he is confident that cancer survivors and carers who attend the sessions will learn a lot.
“We encourage all Inner West cancer survivors to join the Enriching Survivorship program to help them move towards, and maintain, a healthier lifestyle which may reduce their risk of cancer recurrence, and improve overall quality of life,” said Mr Marthick.
As with any lifestyle change a support network is extremely important and can help lead to positive long term results. Cancer survivors are encouraged to bring their carers, partners and family members with them to participate in the program, so they too can learn these new healthy habits and support the survivor throughout their journey.
To register your interest in attending the Enriching Survivorship program, visit www.cancercouncil.com.au/ENRICH