Rehab program helps cancer patients and survivors stay healthy

Rehab program helps cancer patients and survivors stay healthy

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A program at St. Bernards Health and Wellness in Jonesboro helps cancer patients and survivors heal and stay fit.

It’s simply called the Cancer Exercise Rehab Program.

“One of the things I advocate about the benefit of cancer exercise rehab is that it empowers you,” program director Norm Judd said.

Susan Baltz is apart of the Cancer Exercise Rehab Program
Susan Baltz is apart of the Cancer Exercise Rehab Program (Source: KAIT)

Susan Baltz started the program following her diagnosis of breast cancer. Her doctor actually prescribed it.

“They wanted me to do this and I’m so glad I did this because physically it helped and spiritually it help me so much,” Baltz said.

Healing her from the inside out.

“I want to help others over come it, fight through it,” Judd said. “I lost both of my parents to cancer.”

It’s a program that is personal for Judd.

Norm Judd created the Cancer Exercise Rehab Program at St. Bernards Health and Wellness.
Norm Judd created the Cancer Exercise Rehab Program at St. Bernards Health and Wellness. (Source: KAIT)

“Where I was before in Minot, North Dakota, I started a cancer rehab program there and it launched off with great success and then when moving here that was one thing I wanted to recreate,” Judd said.

What separates this program from others is that patients often begin the rehab program while they are going through treatment.

“You get more of that fighter attitude. Then two, when the patient is stronger and more fit, it actually allows maybe the oncologist to administer a stronger dose because if someone is declining and getting weaker and frail, they may have to back off on the dosage,” Judd explained.

The numbers tell the tale when patients are apart of the program. Patients reported improvement in depression by 40 percent, fatigue by 39 percent, and they also reported major improvements in upper and lower body strength.

Baltz’s oncologist recommended three months in rehab, but she loved it so much that three months turned into three years.

The program is not just available to St. Bernards patients, but Judd said it is typically not covered by insurance.

For more on the program, click here.

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