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Stepping Stones to Wellness During and Beyond Cancer

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A decade ago most people experiencing cancer were inclined to rest and take it easy after treatment, but new reports are urging some patients to increase, not reduce, their levels of physical activity. 

That’s right: there’s no need to omit exercise from the self-care New Years’ resolution list.

When undergoing surgery, radiation or chemotherapy to treat cancer, individuals may experience changes in balance, strength, energy level, weight and ability to move comfortably. 

Starting an exercise program can be difficult, even for a healthy person. 

The key, according to the American Cancer Society, is that each person's exercise program should be based on what they and their health care provider agree will be safe, effective and personally rewarding.

Marshfield Clinic Stepping Stones Cancer Rehab and Recovery Services offers rehabilitation and exercise programs designed to help individuals move forward, physically and emotionally. 

Services can help adult patients begin fitness activities for the first time or safely return to an already-established exercise program.

“Cancer rehab and recovery services start with an evaluation by a physical or occupational therapist,” said Physical Therapist Aaron Homolka, Marshfield Medical Center. 

“This one-on-one attention and individualized care provides patients with a personal program for recovery and renewed ability to do everyday tasks.” 

Exercise plans are tailored to each individual’s unique abilities, needs and goals, and designed to help increase strength and endurance. 

“Services can start before, during or after your cancer treatment,” said Homolka. When Stepping Stones sessions are complete, information on continuing with community fitness options, for example a local YMCA, is provided.

The American College of Sports Medicine recently convened a panel of cancer and exercise researchers, which developed a set of guidelines on physical activity for people who are undergoing or have recently completed treatment. 

This effort was inspired by research showing that regular exercise may improve physical and emotional quality of life, increase energy levels and reduce risk of cancer recurrence, heart disease and diabetes.

For more information on Stepping Stones Cancer Rehab and Recovery services at Marshfield Clinic, call the location most convenient for you.

In Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire, cancer rehabilitation and recovery services are provided via UW-Eau Claire Kinesiology Department. ​

For information, please contact Marshfield Clinic Cancer Care at 715-839-3956.

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