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Cancer awareness event in Edwards Thursday

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The Bookworm and The Community Cancer Coalition are teaming up again to promote cancer awareness with their fourth seasonal program.

Today’s program at The Bookworm will focus on maintaining a healthy, fit lifestyle before, during and after cancer treatment. Three wellness staff members from The Shaw Regional Cancer Center will discuss nutrition, wellness and fitness. The program will begin at 6 p.m.

Those scheduled to present are Christine Hasselbach, who holds a clinical doctorate in physical therapy; Dustin Buttars, an exercise physiologist; and Melaine Hendershott, registered dietitian and nutritionist. The outline of their discussion will be based upon Kris Carr’s book, “Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips,” a resource for those recently diagnosed with cancer.



Hasselbach is a physical therapist who focuses on several aspects of recovery during and after cancer treatments, including posture correction, specified strengthening and range of motion exercises, she said.

Since starting at the Shaw, Hasselbach has become certified in lymphedema massage, which she said can alleviate pain and stimulate parts of the body affected by treatment.



“The approach used is determined by the individual patient’s needs,” Hasselbach said, “including whether they have had surgery, the course of their cancer treatment and the patient’s goals.”

Buttars said he offers full physical assessment to help tailor a program specifically for each patient. While at the Shaw he has been developing a Fit for Survival program, a comprehensive rehabilitation program open to all Shaw patients, he said.

Although formal research on the link between strength training and cancer prevention/treatment is forthcoming, Buttars said, the benefits of conditioning are obvious.



“Research has shown time and again that the best thing you can do for yourself is to exercise at a low-to-moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day,” Buttars said, noting that regaining muscle mass, proper posture, balance and strengthening organs are all vital to a full recovery.

Both Hasselbach and Buttars stressed the fatigue felt by many patients during and after treatment, and the need to combat it to begin a healthy and successful rehabilitation. Regaining physical fitness is a gradual process that takes time, they said.

“Many patients become fatigued with their cancer treatments and do not want to participate in exercise,” Hasselbach said. “This can be as minimal as starting with a few minutes of walking and working up to doing this several times per day, then continuing to progress as the patient feels better.”

The third member of Thursday’s panel is Hendershott, the resident dietitian and nutritionist at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center. This will be her second event discussing the necessity and benefits of proper nutrition in fighting cancer and aiding recovery.

“Patients undergoing active cancer treatment can suffer many side effects,” Hendershott said. “It is my job to help patients alleviate these side effects and better tolerate their treatments, and help them maintain a healthy nutritional status throughout their treatment period.”

Hendershott said one overriding misconception regarding cancer is that genetics and environment are responsible for a diagnosis. She said she hopes to debunk this myth during today’s presentation.

“The truth is that up to 65 percent of all cancer deaths can be attributed to diet, exercise and lifestyle components such as smoking and drinking,” she said. “Coming to this talk on lifestyle for cancer survivorship will educate the attendees on important components to prevent cancer.”

Today’s event is being offered free by The Bookworm and The Community Cancer Coalition, however, it is asked that a reservation be made in advance as space is limited. Guests will be treated to dishes prepared by Bookworm co-owner/chef Kristi Allio. The recipes are from Carr’s “Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips.”

Call 970-926-READ for further information.

What: Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips, taking care of yourself before, during and after treatment

Who: Community Cancer Coalition/Bookworm event.

When: Thursday, 6 p.m.

Where: The Bookworm in Edwards.

Cost: Free, but a reservation is required as space is limited.

More information: Appetizers provided using recipes from the book.


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