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Breast Cancer Awareness 2015

Dalton Daily CItizen, Dalton Magazine

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20 Breast Cancer Awareness 2015 SURVIVE, EXERCISE, THRIVE Exercising during breast cancer treatment and recovery may be the most important thing you can do By Dana Carman CTW Features Erin Chrusciel has had three different types of cancer, including breast cancer. She spent 10 years in and out of doctors' offices, enduring numerous tests, surgeries and treatments that left her feeling broken. She wanted to get everything back in shape –her mind, body and spirit. At her therapist's recommendation, she sought out ROW, which stands for Recovery on Water, "a rowing team that gives survivors of breast cancer the unique opportunity to interact, become active in their recovery, and gain support from fellow survivors." The Chicago-based program has played a hugely important role for Chrusciel, 50, of Evanston, Illinois. "It is allowing me to move. I feel invigorated. I am going outside. I see people. I'm rowing again. That was such a gift to me," she says. Whether it's rowing or another activity, exercise is imperative for women undergoing breast cancer treatments or in recovery. Studies show that exercise, even after diagnosis, is associated with prolonged survival and improved quality of life. In a 2012 systematic review, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and National Cancer Institute found that 27 out of 45 observational studies showed consistent evidence that "physical activity is associated with reduced all-cause, breast cancer- specific and colon cancer-specific mortality." Additionally, a 2011 analysis of published studies regarding physical activity and survival after breast cancer showed that the mortality rate for women who were very active dropped 34 percent when compared to women who weren't. According to the American Cancer Society, there is increasing evidence that not only is exercise beneficial during treatment and in recovery but that it can reduce the risk of getting breast cancer. (See sidebar.) While the evidence is clear, the reality is murky. A recent study conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that 65 percent of the breast cancer survivors followed were not meeting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. African American women participants reported lower activity levels prior to diagnosis and lower drops in activity after, which is particularly problematic as African

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