Cancer Survivors: the need to move beyond diagnosis and treatment

Over the past few decades, our medical community has made tremendous advances in the early detection and treatment of cancer. Thanks to these advances, a cancer diagnosis is no longer a certain life sentence. Many are living long lives after their initial diagnosis. But cancer IS a life-changing disease that takes a tremendous physical and emotional toll. Survivors face a wide range of wellness challenges—physical, social, and emotional. According to many cancer patients, “You get to a point that you need help but you do not want to go to a hospital or the doctor’s office anymore. You are well and you need to go somewhere that offers hope and health, not sickness. You are ready to move on.”

The LIVESTRONG program at the YMCA: helping cancer survivors regain their lives

By focusing on the whole person and not the disease, LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA is helping thousands of cancer survivors across the nation reclaim their health and well-being. Participating YMCAs create a welcoming community in which survivors can improve their strength and physical fitness, diminish the severity of therapy side effects, develop supportive relationships, and improve their quality of life.

 Since 2007, this evidence-based, 12-week program has served 333,116 cancer survivors nationwide and is currently offered by 174 YMCAs in 37 states.

LIVESTRONG® is making a difference in the lives of these cancer survivors. Participants:

  • meet or exceed the recommended amount of physical activity
  • significantly increase their cardiovascular endurance
  • decrease their cancer-related fatigue
  • improve overall quality of life
  • form strong connections with other group members
  • plan to continue exercise after the program
  • express high levels of satisfaction with the program

A recent study by Yale Cancer Center and Danna Faber Cancer Institute also supports the positive impact of LIVESTRONG® on the lives of cancer survivors. This study shows improvements in participant’s physical activity levels, fitness, and quality of life.

Perhaps the impact of the LIVESTRONG® program can best be told through the stories of its participants:

“LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA has made an incredible difference in my recovery from breast cancer. I can’t thank you enough for offering it, and I hope you continue this program so that others can heal,” Michelle Lavitt, breast cancer survivor and LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA alumni.

“LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA has been such a gift. I’ve definitely improved my endurance, my flexibility, my balance. I’m just stronger. And I feel better,” Brigitte Sarnoff, uterine cancer survivor and LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA alumni.