NORANDA resident Jono Cohen, who suffered from a rare tongue cancer, has encouraged cancer survivors and patients to join a youth exercise program.
At 18, Mr Cohen (now 20) was diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue during a volunteering trip in Israel.
He underwent a 12-hour surgery where 75 per cent of his tongue was removed and reconstructed.
Last year, he took part in the Cancer Council WA and WA Youth Cancer Service’s Life Now program and was a mentor to this year’s participants.
An exercise physiologist runs the program that is tailored to the specific needs of each participant.
The results will contribute to a research program at Edith Cowan University.
Mr Cohen said he formed a special connection with his fellow participants.
“(My) fitness, weight loss and health in general have improved from the program but those are side benefits,” he said.
“The main benefit was the socialisation…my best friends do not know what we’ve been through.”
Mr Cohen said his doctor introduced him to one of the participants before his operation.
He said he joined a private gym to maintain his fitness since the program finished.
“I feel confident to go to my own gym without care and students and have workouts made by me,” he said.
“I’ve had a continued benefit health-wise even without the support because I have been given the support from the program.
“It is almost two years since the surgery and diagnosis and remissions are all clear for now but remissions are five years for everyone.”
The program will run until August and is open to people aged 15 to 27 who have been diagnosed with cancer and completed treatment within the last two years.
For more information, go to https://www.cancerwa.asn.au/patients/support-and-services/life-now.