EN­RICH­ING SUR­VIVORS’ LIVES

LIFE­STYLE PRO­GRAM HELPS SUR­VIVORS STAY IN TOP HEALTH

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - Janita Singh

THERE is a lot of ev­i­dence that ex­er­cise and eat­ing right can help pre­vent can­cer. Good life­style can also stop can­cer from re­cur­ring.

Can­cer sur­vivor Ivanka Rakon­jac-Novi­cic can vouch for that. Af­ter tak­ing part in a ran­domised con­trolled trial of Can­cer Coun­cil NSW’s EN­RICH (Ex­er­cise and Nutri­tion Rou­tine Im­prov­ing Can­cer Health) pro­gram for peo­ple who have fin­ished can­cer treat­ment, she swears by the re­sults.

“EN­RICH talks a lot about im­proved health changes. It was very mo­ti­vat­ing, fun and ben­e­fi­cial,’’ Ms Rakon­jac-Novi­cic said.

“I walk reg­u­larly since the pro­gram, ex­er­cise reg­u­larly and have much larger ap­pre­ci­a­tion around how im­por­tant diet is for our health and well­be­ing.”

EN­RICH, de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with the Uni- ver­sity of New­cas­tle and the Hunter Med­i­cal Re­search In­sti­tute, in­volved face-to­face group ses­sions fa­cil­i­tated by di­eti­tians and ex­er­cise spe­cial­ists plus weekly meet­ings for six weeks.

Par­tic­i­pants were given home­work to ex­er­cise at home and walk daily.

“EN­RICH talks a lot about diet ... I was able to make im­prove­ments across all ar­eas in re­la­tion to eat­ing and cook­ing,” Mrs Rakon­jacNovi­cic said.

She is now a smarter shop- per, read­ing food la­bels, cook­ing healthy meals and un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tance of eat­ing a va­ri­ety of fresh foods.

“It also high­lighted the im­por­tance of ex­er­cise for avoid­ing can­cer re­cur­rence by pro­vid­ing rel­e­vant sta­tis­tics and, most im­por­tantly, showed me that ex­er­cise can be fun and you do not have to go to gym.’’

Kathy Chapman, di­rec­tor of can­cer pro­grams at Can­cer Coun­cil NSW, was in­volved in EN­RICH and said the pro­gram was an en­joy­able way to ed­u­cate and help sur­vivors and car­ers.

“Life­style 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, with few meet­ing rec­om­men­da­tions for healthy eat­ing and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity on their own,’’ she said.

Pic­ture: ANNIKA EN­DER­BORG

Can­cer sur­vivor Ivanka Rakon­jac-Novi­cic en­joys a healthy life­style af­ter tak­ing part in EN­RICH.

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