Cancer Survivor Group Works Together to Regain Life After Illness


A little more than one out of every three people in the US is diagnosed with cancer at some point in his or her lifetime. Surviving it takes strength. 

KX News sat in on a program that helps survivors move forward.

At the Bismarck Cancer Center, they host a ‘Live Well’ class twice a year. It’s a 12-week nutrition program, that works to give cancer survivors the tools they need to live healthy, happy lives after treatment is over.

Everyone in the room today has strength, they didn’t even imagine they had before cancer.

In January of 2019, Marge Jones was diagnosed with Neck Cancer.

She adds, “I knew before they ever did the biopsy. You know how you just know?”

She told me cancer does not discriminate.

Jones shares, “It wasn’t so bad, the cancer and the two surgeries, but the 30 radiation treatments were wicked.”

Jones is five years cancer free, and the Cancer Center’s survivor group is the best next step for her.

She explains, “It teaches you nutrition, wellness, exercise, a little bit of mindfulness; things that you don’t really think of until you’re in a group of people, you’re all learning it together.”

Oncology Dietitian Amanda Ihmels says, “‘Live Well’ is a survivorship program that we created to help support survivors in figuring out kind of this new normal time period.”

Ihmels recommends thirty minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, and a diet built around plant-based foods.

She adds, “If we’re looking at our plate, the majority of it is going to be from plant-based foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and the other quarter of it comes from a lean protein source.”

Missy Turcotte also underwent radiation treatment and a double mastectomy, before ending up in the class today, cancer free.

She shares, “It just seems like a bad dream when you think back on it now.”

Turcotte says she’s excited to learn about eating well and keeping her re-gained health.

The breast cancer survivor says, “Since my diagnosis and my treatment, I just grasped at all kinds of straws of whatever I could do, you know.”

Turcotte says she and her family are optimistic these days.

She explains, “It helps every month that I get through makes it a little bit better.”

Jones adds, “Yeah, it’s like ‘I’m cancer free!’ So, I’m happy about that.”

A financial planner will also be joining the class to provide them with tips on how to recover after months, even years, of not being able to work, while medical bills continued to pile up. 

Both survivors told me their best advice for other survivors out there, is to find a support group.

The classes just began this week and they’re free. If you’re a cancer survivor and want to join, call the Bismarck Cancer Center.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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