7 Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

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 of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Jazzercise 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 rarer, 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 Healthy

Eat a well-balanced, low-fat diet including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein. Make sure to 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.

Breast Feed

This is for moms-to-be. According to the American Cancer Society, breast feeding your baby for several months may reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Avoid Hormones

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

Get Screened

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.

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Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga and cardio box movements, has positively affected millions of people. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor.  For more information go to jazzercise.com or call (800) FIT-IS-IT.

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