Living with cancer, and even the after effects of a cancer diagnosis and treatment, can not only impact a person’s physical well-being but also his or her emotional health.
Carrie Hayden, a two-time cancer survivor, and her husband, John, understand how important this is, so much so that they have made a gift of $25,000 to the UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness to host classes on mindful stress reduction for other cancer survivors. Hayden says this gift will help ensure that other cancer patients and survivors have access to the tools they need to complete treatment, heal from treatment and live life to the fullest.
The class, "Living With Cancer—Mindful Stress Reduction and Skills Building Class,” is designed to provide participants with practical strategies to reduce stress and manage their illness from diagnosis through post-treatment and is being led by Barbara Walker, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the UC College of Medicine and an integrative health and performance psychologist with the center.
Another class on healthy eating for cancer survivors will be formed in coming months.
"This is a way to align integrative medicine and survivorship efforts,” says Sian Cotton, PhD, professor of family and community medicine within the UC College of Medicine and director of the center, adding that she’s working with Beverly Reigle, PhD, director of the UC Cancer Institute’s Survivorship Program on this initiative. "Mindfulness-based interventions promote the use of focused attention practices to increase present-moment awareness of conscious thoughts, feelings and body sensations in an effort to manage negative experiences, and promote positive ones, more effectively.
"Both those who are actively living with cancer and those who have survived cancer have and are dealing with a number of stressors that affect overall outcomes and quality of life. These new classes will assist in giving them the tools to deal with and overcome these stressors for their overall health and wellness. We are very thankful to the Haydens for this generous gift which will provide increased supportive services for families with cancer.”
The class, which is free thanks to the support from the Hayden family, will be held the fourth Wednesday of every month at 11 a.m. at the UC Health West Chester Hospital Women’s Center, 7675 Wellness Way, beginning in 2018 and will include the assessment and discussion of factors that could improve stress, like sleep, nutrition, exercise and breathing exercises. Participants will also be introduced to use of mindfulness in daily living and will leave with their own individualized plan that can be implemented immediately.