Hospital offers special program for cancer patients and survivor - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Hospital offers special program for cancer patients and survivors

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February marks National Cancer Prevention Month, and those who have had cancer know it's a tough battle. Traditional medical treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are proven methods to fight the disease. But cancer also creates emotional distress. That's why one local hospital is stepping up to help. The programs at Saint Anne's include yoga, nutrition information, journaling and massage therapy to help comfort patients. And many patients say these programs help during treatments and long after.

Rita Konecki was diagnosed with Non-Hotchkins Lymphoma in 1997. She was given 5 to 10 years to live. This year, she's going on 15 years as a cancer survivor. "My oncologist is very thrilled to see how well I'm doing and he says he wishes all his patients could be that good."

Rita has turned to yoga and massage therapy since her diagnosis and says she won't give it up for anything. "It really, really has helped me. Not only emotionally but physically, and I think the more you do it to help yourself, the less you think about it."

Massage Therapist Tina Ferner says patients notice a difference right away. "We've been able to see the affects of it by decreasing fatigue, decreasing nausea pain and anxiety." The yoga classes also help. Everyone in the class is either a cancer survivor or currently undergoing treatments. Steve Trzaskowski, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment, says "I'm still in treatment for prostate cancer. I also had congestive heart failure. Everything that could happen in the last six months has happened, but I'm surviving both of those."

He says the big thing for him is finding a way to relieve stress. "I've quit smoking now after 40 years. I've been off for 3 months now and that was my stress remover, but I found it really wasn't and this is the type of stuff you really need."

Tina says it's all about improving confidence. "Sometimes people lose their hair, sometimes their skin is burned through radiation, sometimes parts of their body is cut out. So what we do is we try to improve that self image," she says.

The classes are predominately women right now, but men are encouraged to take these classes too. Steve says he wants to see more men there so he isn't so out-numbered. The therapy classes are free for Saint Anne patients, but any cancer survivor can take these classes for a fee. Call them at 419-407-1168 for more information.

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