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Free healthy lifestyle program improves outcomes for cancer survivors

16th May 2018 - Patient support

Cancer Council NSW and GenesisCare deliver program to the local community

Cancer survivors have reported improvements in their overall wellbeing after participating in Cancer Council NSW’s ENRICHing Survivorship Program.

The free group-based lifestyle program helps participants adjust to life after cancer treatment through an eight-week program of two-hour, face-to-face sessions. An exercise physiologist, a dietitian and trained volunteers facilitate the program, aiming to motivate cancer survivors to maintain an active lifestyle after cancer with sessions on physical activity, nutrition, mindfulness, yoga and peer support.

In a post-program survey, 90 per cent of respondents reported that they’d seen improvements in their general health, levels of fatigue and sleeping habits, as well as a reduction in feelings of worry and sadness that are often experienced during and after cancer treatment.

Annie Miller, Director of Cancer Support Services at Cancer Council NSW says establishing a healthy lifestyle after treatment – for example, by healthy eating and being physically active – can enhance the physical and psychosocial health of cancer survivors and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

“The ENRICHing Survivorship program offers information on healthy eating, involvement in physical activity and a safe space for practical discussions on adjusting to life following treatment.

“It is great to see that participants have noticed positive outcomes after completing the program. It shows that with any lifestyle change, a support network is extremely important and can help lead to positive long-term results,” Ms Miller said.

The program was delivered in Newcastle and Metro Sydney locations with support from specialist care provider GenesisCare. Eligible patients from GenesisCare and other local providers accessed the program after completing their radiation therapy or other cancer treatment.

GenesisCare Managing Director Dan Collins said the need to support an aftercare program for patients has been a key strategic priority for GenesisCare’s National Consumer Advisory Committee, which acts as a voice for its patients.

“Research suggests that regular exercise improves the overall health and wellbeing of cancer patients, before, during and after cancer treatment.”

“We aspire to help improve our patients’ quality of life by treating the person as a whole, not just the disease. Fighting a cancer diagnosis can be incredibly stressful for patients and their loved ones, so we are very pleased to be working with the Cancer Council to expand these services that can make a patient’s transition back to their ‘new normal’ that little bit easier,” Mr Collins said.

If you are interested in attending this program, or would like further information, you can visit www.cancercouncil.com.au/ENRICH, email enrich@nswcc.org.au or call 1300 360 541.

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Notes to editor:

About Cancer Council:

Cancer Council is Australia’s leading cancer charity working across every aspect of every cancer. Every day, we support families affected by cancer when they need it most, speak out on behalf of the community on cancer issues, empower people to reduce their cancer risk, and find new ways to better detect and treat cancer. With your help, we’re getting closer to a cancer free future every day.

About GenesisCare in NSW:

GenesisCare is the largest provider of radiation therapy treatment in Australia. Every year, we treat more than 20,000 people with cancer. GenesisCare recognises that one of the best ways of enhancing quality of care is to listen to and partner with people who have experienced cancer and its treatments. Outstanding patient satisfaction places GenesisCare’s cancer services in the top 1 per cent of outpatient healthcare organisations in the world. The ENRICHing Survivorship program will take place at a venue close to each of our NSW clinics in Newcastle, Macquarie, North Sydney, Darlinghurst and Hurstville.

About the ENRICHing Survivorship program:

The ENRICHing Survivorship program is a free, 8-week group program. Each session is two hours long and conducted face-to-face. The program introduces survivors to a range of nutrition information, involvement in physical activity and practical information and discussion about adjusting to life following cancer treatment. Carers, partners or family members are welcome, and encouraged, to attend with the survivor. The program includes sessions covering healthy lifestyle, yoga, mindfulness and peer support.

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