What is next: Life after cancer

4:04 PM, Feb 24, 2014   |    comments
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DENVER - For cancer patients, surviving the disease is only part of the battle. Once they enter remission, they must learn to live a life that is completely different from before their diagnosis.

University of Colorado Hospital and the CU Cancer Center have joined forces for a program called WIN, which stands for "What is Next." Through group classes and individual meetings, survivors can get support. They can also get information on exercise, nutrition and stress-management.

Dr. Virginia Borges, an oncologist at University of Colorado Hospital and director of the Young Women's Breast Cancer Transitional Program, told 9NEWS WIN helps complete the package for survivors and helps improve their quality of life. "It's a great opportunity for patients to get the information that they need to launch forward in their survivorship and empower themselves to take care and charge of their own health," said Dr. Borges.

In July of 2010, Karen Wehling's husband of 32 years was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx. In January, he was cured, but two weeks later, he died of a heart attack. Four months later, Karen was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer. She survived and is now learning to live again. 

"Treatment is very regimented and you are focused so much on the treatment. Once you come out, you have to figure out 'What is Life?'. I had no husband ...I also had a job, which I no longer had," said Wehling. "You have to go and try to figure that all out and WIN helped me with that."

Another thing Dr. Borges likes about WIN is that cancer survivors can learn what to now expect from their bodies and how to take care of themselves to help make sure the cancer doesn't return. She told 9NEWS similar classes have helped patients with heart disease and diabetes.

WIN is covered by insurance. To be eligible, patients must meet the following criteria:

• Any cancer type-men and women welcome

• Completed active cancer treatment within last 5 years

• Diagnosed as adult (over age 21)

• Have Health insurance/Co-Pays

To learn more, contact Eryn Callihan, WIN Program Coordinator at (303) 724-8064 or eryn.callihan@ucdenver.edu

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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