It is estimated that one in three women and one in four men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. For cancer survivors who overcome this ravaging disease, there is often a lifelong fear of recurrence as well as an increased risk in developing a second cancer. There are ways to minimize this risk and fear by finding balance with a healthy lifestyle.
The clinical experts at St. Joseph Hospital’s Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment understand the importance of cancer prevention. That is why they developed the Cancer Wellness Program, which is designed for cancer patients who have completed active treatment or are undergoing long-term maintenance.
The ultimate goals of the program are to help patients reduce their risk of developing another cancer, decrease their chances of recurrence and increase their survival rates.
“Wellness is an integral part of recovery. We developed this comprehensive approach to help patients move beyond cancer,” said Maria Lopez-Carale, PT, lead physical therapist.
The Cancer Wellness Program is an evidence-based program that addresses the Four Pillars of Wellness:
- Body weight
Numerous research studies show that obesity has nearly surpassed tobacco use as the No. 1 preventable cause of cancer. Being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk of developing certain cancers, including esophageal, liver, kidney, stomach, colorectal, prostate, breast, gallbladder, pancreatic, ovarian and endometrial cancers.
Implementing proper nutrition and exercise is directly correlated with maintaining a healthy body weight and ultimately reducing the risk of developing cancer. The Cancer Wellness Program emphasizes the importance of nutrition by helping patients understand recommended portions for meals, food labels, and how to eat a well-balanced diet that incorporates the right amounts of vegetables, fruits, protein, fats, carbohydrates and fiber.
Regular physical activity is shown to help cancer survivors experience fewer symptoms after treatment such as less fatigue and improved self-esteem. The Cancer Wellness Program offers group exercise classes specially designed for patients who have just completed treatment or are receiving long-term maintenance therapy.
Classes offered each week include:
- Dance for Wellness
- Synergy (toning, strengthening, balance and stretching)
- Yogalates (Yoga and Pilates)
The fourth wellness pillar emphasized in the program is lifestyle, which focuses on mindfulness and meditation practices as tools for sustaining behavioral changes. In addition to preventing cancer, living a healthy lifestyle can prevent other chronic medical conditions and enhance a person’s overall health and well-being.
“Initiating and maintaining behavior changes require effort and persistence. With the right guidance and support, patients can get the motivation they need to begin their journeys to healthier, more balanced lifestyles,” said Janni Buaiz, MS, CWS, CHC, cancer wellness navigator.
For more information about the Cancer Wellness Program, contact Janni Buaiz at (714) 734-6230 or Janni.Buaiz@stjoe.org.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.