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HMNW Screening and Fitness Program Saves Senior’s Life
02/19/2008

AZLE, Texas — When Bob Martin of Azle attended a health screening offered by Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital’s Better L.I.F.E. Senior Program last February, colon cancer was the furthest thing from his mind. He intended to be screened for skin cancer at the urging of his wife, Martha, but learned that particular test was unavailable at the time. Reluctantly, he agreed to a colon cancer screening instead, and it proved to be a life-saving decision.

After learning that his screening results were abnormal, Martin underwent a colonoscopy only to find that he had a tumor so large — 11.3 inches to be exact — that the doctor wasn’t able to complete the test.

“I was a little shocked,” the 83-year-old retired teacher said. “I did not have any signs or symptoms. Looking back, I didn’t have as much energy as I did when I was 30, but I did not worry about it.”

Chemotherapy and radiation treatment significantly decreased the size of his tumor. Now on the road to recovery, Martin is returning to the place where it all began. On February 19, he’ll attend HMNW’s Better L.I.F.E. health screening to share his success story and encourage others being screened.

“I would advise anyone to be proactive with their health and have the [colon cancer screening] test,” he said. “You will feel better knowing you do not have a problem.”

Better Living through Improved Fitness and Education (L.I.F.E.) Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital’s Better L.I.F.E. Senior Program focuses on improving the health of people 65 years of age and older through a range of physical activities and health education and screenings.

“Our risk for cancer and other diseases increases as we age, so it is particularly important for senior adults to engage in activities that keep them active and healthy,” said Marsha Ingle, community relations specialist and coordinator of the Better L.I.F.E. Program.

Upon joining the free program, participants’ health status is evaluated through measures such as blood pressure, cholesterol, resting heart rate and self-perception ratings of physical and mental well-being. In addition to educational opportunities and screenings for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, balance and bone density, Better L.I.F.E. members participate in select physical activities designed to improve and maintain endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.

Even Bob Martin remained a faithful attendee of the program, walking and keeping up his exercise regimen during his cancer treatment. Members also benefit from a number of social opportunities.

“With baby boomers entering their mid-60s, it’s imperative we offer programs that allow them to be proactive about their health and well-being,” said Winjie Tang Miao, president of Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital. “We are committed to supporting seniors and helping them to live an active life. We all know exercise improves health, and early detection is often the key to better outcomes. Our hope is that many more lives will be saved through this program.”

For more information or to become a Better L.I.F.E. member, call 1-888-4-HARRIS (1-888-442-7747) or log on to www.harrismethodisthositals.org.

About Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital
Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital, a member of Texas Health Resources, serves Azle, Springtown, Lake Worth and greater northwest Tarrant County and Parker County. Founded in 1954, the hospital has 100 physicians practicing on its medical staff and offers a wide range of services including cardiology, orthopedics, imaging and rehabilitation. For more information, call 1-888-4-HARRIS.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR controls 13 affiliated hospitals and a medical research organization, and is a corporate member or partner in seven additional hospitals and surgery centers. THR’s family of hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.

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