Posts Tagged ‘Cancer’

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

The Big C (TV series)

The Big C (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently I noticed that I had a new blog follower, The Editor, aka Marie Ennis O’Connor, who writes Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer. As I am a big fan of health-related blogs and the show  The Big C, I checked out her blog and found an amazing treasure-house of wisdom, compassion and support for cancer survivors, friend and families.

Her My Story page made me think of the wellness aspect of cancer and of all serious illnesses. Ms. O’Connor talks about how support is needed long after the cancer is gone. People often do not realize that long after we lose a loved one, the funeral is over or people have beat an illness or recovered from an injury or trauma, there can be lasting psychological effects. I recall a friend telling me years ago that she needed more support many months later after her father died, not just during the funeral. People did not want to talk to her about her father’s death, however. It made them uncomfortable and many did not understand her pain and grief many months afterwards. Luckily she had a few close friends that had lost parents to and she could share and find support with them.

Social support is an important part of stress management. Having people we can turn to when we are having a hard time is important to our well-being. The blogosphere is one way that survivors can share and find social support among people who have similar experiences. If you have had breast cancer or know someone who has, read her blog. it can inspire you and may comfort you. And maybe even give you a new social support network.

Check out these posts from Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer:

• A great post about the social hierarchy of suffering,Is there a hierarchy among cancer survivors?
• Go to this link for a collection of great blog posts about the Psychology of Cancer.

• Go to this link for a a great guest post about one woman’s story and the importance of early detection and being assertive with medical personnel.

And check out Showtime’s The Big C if you want to watch a somewhat humorous take on a woman going through her own fictionalized story of cancer.

Note: I do not get any advertizing dollars or any other compensation from Showtime for plugging the show, The Big C. If I did I could likely retire. I just like the show and I think watching it gives people insight into some of the issues cancer survivors struggle with.

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Fresh fruit and vegetables
Image by Mundoo via Flickr

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensd Massage Therapists, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Today an article about Wellness Coaching caught my eye.  There’s been a new study that shows that using wellness coaching has had a positive effect on people maintaining their health after completing their cancer treatments.

Read the excerpt below from the press release from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, “Wellness Coaching Study Finds Long Term Benefits for Cancer Survivors,” by Tim Kelly of the Office of Public Relations of Galloway Township, NJ to find out more.

New research published in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences and conducted by The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, showed that wellness coaching, a relatively new type of health intervention, had significant, immediate, and lasting impact in reducing anxiety and depression, while simultaneously improving quality of life and increasing other healthy lifestyle behaviors.

The American Cancer Society recommends survivors maintain a healthy weight and engage in healthy lifestyle habits to reduce risk of recurrence, mortality, and other chronic diseases, yet the majority do not, according to recent research. This study looked at the initial and longitudinal benefits that wellness coaching might have with cancer survivors.

The Study

Principle Investigator, Dr. Mary Lou Galantino, PT, PhD, MSCE, professor at Stockton College and Adjunct Research Scholar at University of Pennsylvania, said that it is the first research published utilizing this methodology as a single intervention, which has promising results and potential application in other areas.

The idea to apply this methodology to cancer survivorship came in 2004, when wellness coach and fitness professional, Pam Schmid was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was a leader in the new field of wellness coaching and recognized the wide reaching benefits coaching might offer survivors, after struggling personally with the challenges treatment brought her way.

Pam Schmid said, “Being a professional, I knew what I needed to do to be healthy and feel my best, yet so many obstacles came my way. I watched others struggle and saw no real support for them. Some health behaviors can reduce risk of recurrence or dying of their cancer as much as 50 percent. It’s critical to support survivors to do the things they can do to not only improve their risks but to improve their quality of life.”

Read Pam’s blog, Priorities Simplified, here.

In this observational cohort study of 30 breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer survivors, participants received six coaching sessions over a three month period. They were followed for a year after the intervention to evaluate the sustainability of changes through the wellness coaching. Wellness coaches are credentialed professionals who are trained and certified as coaches.

How Wellness Coaching Helps Patients

In this study, a fitness professional certified as an ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Health Fitness Instructor and Wellness Coach (through Wellcoaches Corporation – in partnership with ACSM) served as the coach.

Wellness coaching moves people from point A to B says Schmid, “Instead of being stuck, they have a partner to start moving ahead to be their best. As one survivor told me, ‘This is not like anything I’ve experienced. It’s given me a pathway out … I need to move forward to do the things I know I need to do to be my best’.”

To read the entire press release, click here.

And, according to the actual study reported in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Wellness Coaching helped study patients improve their lifestyle habits using goal setting, increased food choice awareness and exercise.  Working with a personal coach helped subjects by providing  motivation and feedback. Patients reports that their consumption of fruits and vegetables increased, and their BMI and weight was reduced with the help of Wellness Coaching.

Link to the actual study abstract in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences here.

What is Wellness Coaching?
Coaching focuses on building self-efficacy and autonomy from a strength-based approach that encourages the individual to think about what is going well, where they have been successful in the past, and what will support success in the future and is delivered using a number of tools from evidence based domains/theories such as positive psychology, motivational interviewing, and appreciative inquiry.

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