ENRICHING SURVIVORS’ LIVES
LIFESTYLE PROGRAM HELPS SURVIVORS STAY IN TOP HEALTH
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.
Cancer survivor Ivanka Rakonjac-Novicic enjoys a healthy lifestyle after taking part in ENRICH.