In every session you will spend time exercising, learning nutrition tips, and supporting one another as you discuss your cancer experience and how to move forward in your survivorship.
Session 1: Get Back to Wellness - Take Control of Your Survivorship
This session will provide an introduction to the program and the concept of survivorship. Participants are given an overview of the tools that will be used throughout the program and what to expect each week. You will also be introduced to customized exercise.
Session 2: Exercise for Wellness - Customized Exercise
Here you will learn about the power of exercise and how to make exercise feel good, safe, and fun. You will work with an exercise specialist who is knowledgeable about the needs of cancer patients and survivors in helping you regain strength and endurance.
Regular exercise reduces some long-term side effects of cancer treatment and increases overall physical and emotional well being for survivors. It has been shown to help with pain, strength and endurance, sexual functioning, sleep, thinking and learning, and psychological distress such as fear, anxiety and sadness.
It is important to learn how to tailor physical activity to match their physical ability after treatment. Even a small amount of physical activity is beneficial. Research conducted as part of this program has shown that participants increased their physical activity over the six weeks and beyond.
Session 3: Emotional Health & Well-Being - From Patient to Survivor
As cancer patients go through treatment, they are often overwhelmed by the demands of treatment and put many other things on hold. The end of treatment may trigger different worries — “What’s next?” “What’s normal?” “How do I live as a cancer survivor?” In this session you will learn more about how your personal experience affects the way you feel, think and act. It will address the impact of emotions and health, and provide healthy ways to cope with stress and how to find support.
Distress is the most under-reported and common side effect of cancer. While initial distress in coping with diagnosis and treatment is expected, continuing distress may interfere with long-term health. You will learn mind-body activities and techniques to learn to express feelings, reduce and lower stress, and increase positive emotions, which can enhance your quality of life.
The evaluation study conducted during the pilot phase of Cancer Transitions® showed that by participating, survivors experienced decreases in health worry and the negative impact of cancer.
Session 4: Nutrition Beyond Cancer
Here you will work with a registered dietician or nutritionist to learn about the importance of a healthy diet in your recovery and can help you feel better and stay stronger. Nutrition for cancer survivors should focus on a plant-based diet, including more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Other important nutrition tips for survivors include eating whole grains and low-fat dairy products, and steering away from saturated and trans fats, red meat, salt, sugar, alcohol, pickled and fried foods. The evaluation study also showed the participants made measured improvements in their fat- and fiber-related dietary habits.
Session 5: Medical Management Beyond Cancer - What you Need to Know
This session will be led by a medical oncologist or oncology nurse to help you better understand what to expect after cancer treatment in order to plan for optimal follow-up care. You will learn about some of the health issues you may face over the short, medium, and long-term and how to manage them if they occur. This information is key to communicating effectively with your healthcare team.
Session 6: Moving Beyond Treatment - Next Steps Toward Survivorship
This final session of the program will review the many things you’ve learned during the program, to celebrate your completion of the program, and discuss how you plan to move forward.
The booster is held one month after Session 6. It is an “open” session that is an opportunity to review what you learned in Cancer Transitions®, focus on the issues most important to you, and to share successes and challenges.