We all know the statistics. But what is our best chance to prevent breast cancer from affecting ourselves and the people we love? Awareness is the key. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett would like to remind you of ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer, and also methods of early detection.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) says there is no concrete method to prevent breast cancer, however there are easy and effective ways to reduce your risk. Also, though it’s much more rare, men can contract breast cancer, too. Risk reduction and early detection are important for both males and females.
Here are some ways to help you avoid breast cancer:
Move Your Body
Regular physical activity strengthens your immune system. In fact, Jazzercise was at the forefront of a recent study at the Breast Cancer Survivorship Center at the University of Kansas Cancer Center (BCSC) that strongly indicated the importance of exercise for breast cancer survivors. The American Cancer Society says that exercise benefits people of all ages, even if you begin as an older adult. Do what you are comfortable doing, even if it’s just walking the dog. Begin slowly and keep going!
Eat a well-balanced, low-fat diet including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein and limit alcohol intake. Gravitate to foods that are more natural and less processed. Eat organically-grown food whenever possible and incorporate antioxidant-rich foods into your meals.
For moms-to-be, breast feeding your baby for at least several months may reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
Studies have shown that women who avoid hormone therapy after menopause can reduce their risk of breast cancer.
Survival rates are highest for people who detect breast cancer in early stages. Here are some methods for detecting breast cancer:
Do it Yourself
It only takes 15 minutes per month and a bit of privacy to administer your own breast self exam. Some women have discovered lumps in their breasts through their self exam, however the ACS advises that self exams should never be substituted for mammograms and exams by your doctor. For step-by-step instructions and diagrams of how to examine yourself, visit: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001993.htm
The American Cancer Society recommends that women ages 40 and over undergo a mammogram every year, and women in their 20s and 30s have a clinical breast exam performed as part of a regular exam by a health expert at least every three years. ACS recommends that women in certain risk categories get MRIs in addition to mammograms.
Know your Body
Visit your doctor immediately if you notice any changes including a lump or swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple pain or the nipple turning inward, redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin, or a discharge other than breast milk. Most of the time these breast changes are not cancer.
Remember, leading a healthy lifestyle and early detection are the keys to optimum breast health. Here’s to your health!
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. She has advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, cardio box and Latin style movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.