Ground-breaking NZ course for cancer patients
26 July 2017
Breast cancer survivor gives back with ground-breaking NZ course for cancer patients
An Auckland woman who survived breast cancer is now working to help others who have finished cancer treatment with a ground-breaking new course to help reduce the risk of recurrence.
Life 2.0 is the brainchild of Jan Haworth and is designed to support others to “live life well” after cancer through lifestyle changes to improve health and reduce the risk of cancer coming back.
Jan’s own experience with cancer inspired her to create the course. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer at just 36, while living in the UK with her husband and then-toddler.
The diagnosis rocked her world and treatment involved surgery, a gruelling regime of chemotherapy and radiation therapy before she was declared cancer-free.
“The diagnosis left me numb with shock and it all felt so surreal. This wasn’t my life plan, I felt like my future had been wiped away, I was anxious and scared and I felt vulnerable, as though my body had let me down in some way.
However, life after treatment didn’t bring Jan the normality she was expecting. Instead of relief, she was racked with fear about recurrence and the state of her health.
“When I was no longer seeing the doctor regularly, all these fears came bubbling up. Would my cancer come back? Would I spot it in time? Would I die? The worst was imagining my son growing up without me. It broke my heart to imagine him without his mum,” she says.
“I felt very powerless, like I had no control over anything and as though I was standing on the edge of a void not sure of the next step.”
Jan says many people who complete cancer treatment battle the same worries and anxiety. She believes her course, Life 2.0, can help.
“After cancer treatment, many people want to make changes to the way they eat, exercise, deal with stress, and manage personal relationships, but they don’t know exactly what to do and they don’t know what’s best to help reduce the risk of recurrence.
“Life 2.0 gives people the tools, tips and strategies they need to make changes which can help the body recover, increase energy, reduce stress and reinvigorate a passion for life in a fun and supportive environment with others who’ve been through the same experience,” Jan says.
The course uses the latest scientific evidence and helps people to focus on lifestyle changes they can make which have been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer recurring.
Jan, who has qualifications in psychology, meditation and integrated health coaching, says there’s no such course offered in New Zealand for those who have completed cancer treatment.
“There’s a lot of post-treatment support for people in the UK and I benefitted from some of that. But sadly, New Zealanders have been missing out. This is the first course of its kind in New Zealand and I really hope Kiwis who have completed cancer treatment will seize the opportunity to learn how to live life better after cancer,” Jan says.
Feedback from a pilot programme run last year was extremely positive, with all participants saying they would recommend it to others.
Participants achieved significant improvements in their overall quality of life, with a 51% average improvement in emotional wellbeing and 27% improvement in physical wellbeing.
Comments from previous participants include:
• “Do it! It’s definitely been productive in moving on after cancer for me.”
• “If you feel like you haven’t got control over your life and choices then this is the course for you.”
• “This course helps you get back into life. It helps to relieve the stress of the experience of cancer and anxiety of the future.”
Life 2.0 is a six week course available in Auckland from August 22. For more details or to register visit www.life20.co.nz