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Come Celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day!

May 25, 2010

Women’s Center class will discuss healthy nutrition, relaxation and healthy balance

In recognition of the 23rd annual National Cancer Survivors Day, Washington Women’s Center is devoting a special Evening Lecture Series session to celebrating the lives of women in our community who are cancer survivors. The event is scheduled for Monday, June 7 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Washington Women’s Center Conference Room at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont.

"National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual event celebrated in communities throughout the U.S. and in other participating countries," says Kathy Hesser, R.N., Washington Women’s Center Coordinator. "There are many different definitions of who is a ‘cancer survivor,’ but this celebration is intended for any woman who has been diagnosed and is living with cancer, whether she has been deemed ‘cured’ or not. National Cancer Survivors Day is intended to proclaim to the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful, productive and active."

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the prevalence of cancer among women in the United States is higher than that of men, with an estimated 5,912,000 women compared to 5,116,000 men living with cancer. The ACS defines cancer "prevalence" as the total number of people living with cancer at any point in time. It includes people diagnosed with cancer in the past who are still alive, as well as people recently diagnosed.

A nurse with 35 years of experience in women’s health issues, Hesser will open the event with a discussion of suggestions for medical follow-up care for women who have been diagnosed with cancer.

"We’ll talk about how often women should see their doctors, what follow-up tests should be done for various types of cancer, and how to organize the medical information they need to keep with them in case they need to see a new health-care provider," Hesser explains. "We also will discuss and demonstrate various exercises – including yoga – and other relaxation techniques to help women learn how to lower their stress levels and maintain their physical strength."

In addition to Hesser, Kim Alvari, a registered dietitian at Washington Hospital will discuss the nutritional needs of cancer survivors. "While research on the effect of diet is still in the very early stages, the available science does support a few simple dietary guidelines," she says.

"A pivotal point in this research is that maintaining a healthy weight is important, so cancer survivors need to take a look at making some positive lifestyle changes," Alvari adds. "For example, they should try to incorporate 30 minutes of physical activity into their daily routine – depending, of course, on how well they feel on any given day. Another step is to ‘remake your plate.’ Instead of having meat as the main course for every meal, think of it as a side dish. Make two-thirds of your meal from plant-based foods, and one-third from protein sources. Having meatless meals using tofu, beans or Portobello mushrooms instead of meat several times a week may make a significant difference."

Information also will be provided about Washington Hospital’s Breast Cancer Support Group that meets on the first Thursday of every month and the general cancer support group that meets weekly. Open-ended discussions will allow women who attend to share their experiences and successes.

"This event is not only a chance for women who are cancer survivors to learn new ideas for staying well, it is also a celebration of life," says Hesser. "Our goal is to inspire and encourage women with cancer to live well and fully each and every day."

Washington Women’s Center offers a patient focused environment in which collaborative health screenings, diagnostic and educational programs are tailored to meet a woman’s needs. For a complete list of services and classes offered at the Washington Women’s Center, visit www.whhs.com/womenscenter or call (510) 608-1301 for more information.