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New Online Program for Survivors Offers Not Just Promise, but Results

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Helayne Waldman, Ed.D., M.S.

Breast Cancer Home / / September 24, 2015

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A prominent question in nearly every survivor’s mind is “What do I need to do so this never happens again?” Most would rather not “watch and wait” if there are measures that would reduce the risk of a future round of disease. 

While cancer treatment centers are to be applauded for their heroic efforts to remove immediate threats to life, even the most effective standard treatment may still leave the beleaguered survivor in a fatigued, depleted state.

In light of this conundrum, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) identified medical follow-up of cancer survivors as a missing link in cancer care and made recommendations to fill that gap in its seminal report From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition (2006),.  Among the four categories of “Essential components of survivorship care” prevention and recovery support topped the list.

Recovery support includes replenishment of nutrients and physical activity that might have gotten lost in the maze of treatment, while prevention includes monitoring and addressing the physiological indicators closely linked to recurrence, such as high blood sugar and inflammation.

This is exactly what naturopathic doctors, nutritionists and other natural healers do.

Cancer survivors usually jump at the idea of helping nature get back in charge, so their bodies are re-empowered to do what they can to stay well.  Gaining and applying knowledge empowers survivors, helping to transition from passive participants in a tumor-focused process to active participants in a person-based process. This approach relieves the sense of helplessness that can often overtake the mind and enhances emotional wellness, another key aspect of the IOM’s recommendations. : Rather than looking over their shoulders for the next cancer, survivors learn to focus on what they can do to create a healthy future. 

The RENEW!  Online care and support for cancer survivors (www.RenewSurvivorshipCare.com) is the first live,online program in the U.S. to tackle both prevention and emotional wellness for cancer survivors.  Starting Sept. 30, RENEW will work with participants in a live, educational and coaching environment to help them learn and practice the essentials of self-care after cancer, an idea that has been applauded in both conventional and alternative health care circles.  It will be most interesting and exciting to find out how a program like this can change lives.

While there is no good time to have cancer, this is indeed a good time to be a cancer survivor!

 
References
Institute of Medicine, National Research Council of the National Academies. From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition.Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2006.
Berger AM, Gerber LH, Mayer DK. Cancer-related fatigue: implications for breast cancer survivors. Cancer. 2012;118(8 Suppl):2261-2269.
Collado-Hidalgo A, Bower JE, Ganz PA, Cole SW, Irwin MR. Inflammatory biomarkers for persistent fatigue in breast cancer survivors. Clin Cancer Res. 2006;12(9):2759-2766. 
About The Author
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Helayne Waldman, Ed.D., CNE, is an oncology nutrition educator who specializes in supporting women with breast cancer.  She is a faculty member at Hawthorn University and the University of Western States, co-author of The Whole Food Guide for Breast Cancer Survivors and co-facilitator, with Dr. Shani Fox, of the first live, online education and support program for cancer survivors in the U.S: RENEWsurvivorshipcare.com.   Connect with her on Facebook at Whole Food Guide for Breast Cancer.

 

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