Public Health Wellness

Breast cancer survivors find healing through program at AdventHealth

Healing from cancer often takes more than surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Recovery also involves changes in diet, exercise and emotional support.

A person holding a box of vegetables

A program co-founded by two AdventHealth physicians seeks to recognize that whole picture of healing for women going through breast cancer or gynecological cancers.

“It’s a deeper conversation than just motivation. It’s awareness, awareness that what you’re doing today can affect you 20 years form now, 10 years from now, tomorrow,” patient Vanessa de la Rosa told News 6.

De la Rosa and Terri Schon met while participating in the Healthy Eating Active Lifestyle (HEAL) program, a lifestyle medicine program designed to decrease the risk of cancer recurrence, improve overall health and wellness.

The program, which was co-founded by Dr. Nathalie Mckenzie, gynecologic oncologist, and Dr. Amber Orman, radiation oncologist, is divided into three segments: HEAL: Breast (directed at breast cancer patients), HEAL: Gynecology Oncology (open to gynecology cancer patients), and HEAL at Home.

Plant-based nutrition, physical activity, stress management and mindfulness are key pieces of HEAL, which aims to walk patients through every step of their health journey.

“No one really knows what you’re going through expect the women in HEAL.” Schon told the news station.

Orman said the program has triggered a domino effect with participants sharing resources with other members of the community.