The SMART Program at Miami Cancer Institute

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August 11, 2020

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Cancer survivor Carla Walker comes to the Cancer Patient Support Center at the Miami Cancer Institute for acupuncture and massage therapy. And one of the workshops the find most helpful is SMART (Stress Management and Resilience Training).

A Harvard-based curriculum workshop, SMART includes eight sessions that focus on mind-body strategies to help with ongoing life challenges, decrease stress and anxiety, improve sleep and more. The fee is $150 and patients must be pre-screened.

“I have really put the SMART program to work,” said Ms. Walker, who trains 911 dispatchers for a living. Her life was put in a spin again when both of her adult daughters gave her the news that they, too, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. “I never imagined, after what I went through, that my daughters would have to go through this, too.”

Today, when her mind races and she feels overwhelmed, she uses her breathing techniques and visualization. “I can actually see my heart rate slow down on my Apple watch.”

Sean Schwinghammer, a colon cancer survivor, celebrated his last infusion by wearing a tux.

Another SMART fan is Sean Schwinghammer, a colon cancer survivor often labeled a Type A personality by others. “That’s just me. I’ve always maximized my day, drained myself on purpose, whether it was through athletics, my work, everything I do,” he said. “This program helped me understand how to release my stress, how to sustain a lower heart rate and slow my breathing.”

Mr. Schwinghammer now meditates daily. Each night, before going to bed, he recalls the reasons he has to be grateful. “It’s surprising how effective it’s been,” he said.

Cancer Patient Support Center

Research shows that exercise, nutrition, and stress reduction and mindfulness programs, help to improve everything from the fog of “chemo brain” to strength and balance and overall quality of life. If you’ve received cancer care at Miami Cancer Institute and would like to know more about the survivorship programs, call the Cancer Patient Support Center at 786-310-3560.

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