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Cancer Support Community Montana: Healthy lifestyle programs help with cancer diagnosis

Posted at 11:04 AM, Oct 11, 2022

BOZEMAN — No one would argue that staying active is important for good health. But what about those diagnosed with cancer?

We continue our series of stories looking at the support Cancer Support Community of Montana offers free of charge. Today, MTN’s Chet Layman looks at some of the healthy lifestyle programs.

“When my mom was taking cancer treatments, she would take a walk to the end of the block a couple of days after each,” said Layman. “She said she thought it helped get rid of that stuff inside her. That worked for her whether it actually did or not. She wanted to keep moving. Cancer Support Community has several different ways to keep moving - From yoga to Tai Chi - or even just a nice walk with some new friends.”

“Well, because I walk everywhere, it was another opportunity to get out and walk around the companionship with people and dogs,” said Michael Hitch, cancer survivor, and an avid walker.

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No one would argue that staying active is important for good health. But what about those diagnosed with cancer?

Michael admits he was lucky with his cancer and treatment.

“It depends on your cancer and your treatment, but I had prostate cancer and didn’t even know I had it,” he said. “But I did the treatments and it hadn’t really bothered me, so I’m pretty much active like I normally would have been.”

Not everyone always feels that way. Cancer Support Community understands that and has programs tailored for however you might feel, on any given day.

“What we offer here, there’s a lot of options, even on the days people aren’t feeling well,” said Amy Strom, a Cancer Support Community fitness instructor. “I teach a gentle yoga class and in some of the classes, we never get up off the floor. Oftentimes, they’re done in a chair, so pretty user-friendly. Even if they’re feeling pretty peaked or tired on a particular day.”

Michael’s oncologist helped him find this place - and not surprisingly, one of his regular walks also helped too.

“I’d been walking down 11th and had seen the fence going up and the sign, so I knew this place was here and then went and looked some stuff up,” he said. “I came back with a calendar for the Cancer Support Community”

“Research really shows that over and over and over again, the more you exercise, I mean within reason, but when you exercise when you have cancer and you’re going through treatment the better you feel,” said Strom. “The outcomes are better and they’re even better even years later because people tend to recover from those treatments.”

“Just like for my mom,” said Layman. “Keeping moving was the answer and feeling better was the real goal.”

“I think the biggest goal here, definitely for me and just for Cancer Support, is that when you come in our door you feel one way, you leave our doors and hopefully that has improved for you,” said Strom. “I’d say across the board that tends to be the case that people’s mood energy all are things that are better.”

A diagnosis of cancer brings up lots of questions from both the person and those around them. Tomorrow, MTN continues our series by looking at the counseling programs available at Cancer Support Community.

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