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Wimmera residents affected by cancer can soon access a comprehensive survivorship education, exercise and wellness program.

The ‘Wellness and Life after Cancer Exercise and Supportive Care’ program will provide people who have finished their active cancer treatment with two-hour education and exercise sessions. Local health professionals will deliver the sessions at multiple sites in the region.

The first eight-week program starts on June 22 at health services in Warracknabeal and Stawell. The education session will be delivered at each site using video conferencing to link participants together.

The Cancer Council Victoria program will assist participants to:

  • Increase their fitness and strength
  • Improve their ability to perform daily tasks
  • Learn to cope with life now
  • Identify local support services available

Cancer Council Victoria head of Strategy and Support Meg Chiswell said the program would provide invaluable support and information for locals diagnosed with cancer.

“On average, there are 209 people who are diagnosed with cancer in the Grampians each year,” Ms Chiswell said.

“We hear regularly that cancer patients can have trouble adjusting to their ‘new normal’ after active treatment ceases,” she said.

“This program will provide people with the tools they need to get back into exercise and to deal with changes in their lives at home and at work. Research shows that exercise rehabilitation programs help cancer survivors manage pain, reduce fatigue and improve quality of life; while group-based education programs develop resilience and empower patients to improve their health and wellbeing.”

Local cancer survivor Leonie Bird said she found it challenging when she first completed treatment.

“After initial diagnosis and treatment, knowing what exercise to do and how to improve my recovery was really difficult,” Mrs Bird said.

“Once I searched for and found the right advice and activities, I was able to shift my focus and improve my health,” she said.

“I wish I had access to this advice and exercise professionals earlier.”

To register, or to find out more, contact Rural Northwest Health on 5396 1315.

Cancer Council Victoria acknowledges the support of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and the Grampians Integrated Cancer Service.

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