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Breast Cancer Awareness 2015

Dalton Daily CItizen, Dalton Magazine

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22 Breast Cancer Awareness 2015 assess that risk and take the proper precautions, which may include holding off on limb exercises for about the first four to six weeks after axillary surgery or radiation. However, Dr. Santa-Maria points out that a majority of patients do not develop lymphedema and in the event of it, there are ways to manage it, including exercise. The message is still clear, says Dr. Santa-Maria, "I think the role of exercise is very important for breast cancer recovery." Studies and statistics on exercise's role in recovery are just one part of the whole picture. It wasn't the mortality rates that sent Chrusciel back to the sport she once loved in college – it was the need to take back her body and mind from the diseases that were robbing her of her spirit. "Being active reminded me that I am a vital person," she says. "You remember that as long as you are on this Earth and doing something, you are a valuable member of society and I had sort of lost that sense of myself – that I was of any value to anybody. Rowing gave me back that sense of value." Jenn Gibbons, founder of ROW, notes something very important about the women she works with on the water: These women may share the common thread of breast cancer but that is secondary to the fact that they are athletes, every single one of them. This is an important designation because, "you see these women having gone through this experience of not being able to trust their bodies to becoming powerful through this nontraditional and challenging sport," Gibbons says. "It's so inspiring." There is mounting evidence that not only is exercise a key component of recovery from breast cancer but it can reduce breast cancer risk. According to the American Cancer Society, which recommends exercise pre- and post- diagnosis, some studies have shown that as little as 1.25 to 2.5 hours a week of brisk walking reduced a woman's risk by 18 percent. Walking 10 hours a week reduced it even more. Other studies have indicated the reduction of risk is much higher, in the range of 30 to 40 percent when compared to women who are not active. Dr. Santa-Maria says there is evidence that exercise can lessen the risk. He notes that physical activity goes hand in hand with good nutrition and that by eating a balanced diet, high in fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods and bad fats, along with physical activity, a person lessens her obesity risk, which has been associated with breast cancer occurrence. Committing to a healthier lifestyle can not only cut the risk of breast cancer but many other diseases and conditions as well, though it's easier said than done, which is why baby steps are OK. Sit down and make a diet and exercise plan. The goal is to have a lifetime to keep it up. It's worth it – it's lifesaving in every way. © CTW Features

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