Spirit of Survival FAQ
Learn more about our Spirit of Survival program by reading our Frequently Asked Questions.
Shaw Regional Cancer Center created Spirit of Survival for cancer patients and survivors. Spirit of Survival is a comprehensive wellness program that begins with an assessment of each patient's physical health, dietary and exercise needs, patient and family support needs and results in an individualized program designed specifically for each patient.
Your physical therapy program is a component of your customized Spirit of Survival program. You may need physical therapy to regain functional strength in specific areas.
Fit for Survival is not an exercise class. It is a specific fitness program designed to help patients regain wellness and promote a better quality of life. Exercise classes are offered to patients as part of the program.
Currently, we offer yoga and tai chi to patients under treatment and cancer survivors. Please visit our events calendar for a complete listing of classes.
You will work with our certified exercise physiologists, and in some cases, our physical therapist and certified lymphedema therapist.
Patients can begin Fit for Survival even right after diagnosis. Studies show that the sooner patients start exercising or being physically active, the better their chance at reducing the negative side effects of cancer and its treatment. Fatigue is a very common issue with patients who undergo radiation or chemotherapy or who have previously gone through either treatment. Not all patients experience fatigue, and those who do report different levels, ranging from debilitating to mild. When your body is better conditioned and more efficient at performing daily activities, it will be better suited to battle any level of fatigue.
It is never too late to start an exercise program. The sooner you start, the sooner you and your body will reap the benefits of regular exercise. Even if you have never exercised before, our exercise physiologists will build a program around you and your specific needs. We will start slowly and gradually build up the muscular and cardiovascular strength to your personal tolerance. Ultimately, the program will help increase energy, make you think more clearly, rid your body of stress, increase endorphins, and help you feel good about your body.
Losing body fat helps cancer patients in many ways, both directly and indirectly. Decreasing body fat is a direct result of increased activity. A study by the American Cancer Society showed that women who were more active (participated in six hours/week of vigorous activity, such as jogging, swimming or running) decreased their risk of breast cancer by 30 percent. Another study showed that men and women who jogged the equivalent of five hours/week lowered their risk of colorectal cancer by 40 to 50 percent.
Losing weight also decreases the risk of developing complications from surgery. The time needed for recovery from surgery also decreases, allowing you to get back to your daily routine sooner. Shorter recovery times lead to less protective posturing by the body to compensate for the weakened areas.