Buddy Check 25: Getting fit

By WEEK Producer

January 27, 2014 Updated Jan 27, 2014 at 12:46 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- Your resolution to get fit and eat right could reduce your risk of breast cancer.

A team from UnityPoint Health Methodist is partnering with local fitness center and others to increase the public's breast health knowledge.

It is the most popular New Year's resolution and could benefit more than your waistline. Getting fit can reduce your breast cancer risk, especially if you are a post-menopausal woman.

"I think prevention is the key," said Joy Grove, fitness manager at Five Points in Washington. "So getting your monthly checks or your self-exams is one great way for prevention, but ideally exercising and eating healthy."

"Well I think if you're going to make that commitment to take care of yourself and exercise you have to realize you're making that decision for good breast health too," said UnityPoint Health breast health representative Donna Richmond. "The studies show that women who work out moderately have 14 percent lower risk of getting breast cancer. And if you bump that up to vigorous exercise, it's 25 percent less risk, that's pretty big. "

Richmond came to Five Points in Washington for its open house earlier this month. Her mission: to engage health-minded individuals to get screened for breast cancer and know what's normal for their bodies. That may be easier than it sounds.

"I have to recruit a lot of times, I have to get out there and flag them down. That's okay," said Richmond. "They'll walk by me and kind of avert their eyes, but once I get them over hear and start talking about mammography, I get to hear stories like oh my best friend is a breast cancer survivor or my sister went through this. They just kind of start opening up to me a little bit."

So, remember, making healthy choices starts with diet and exercise and an annual check-up with your doctor.

If you're a young woman, get a clinical breast exam each year and do your monthly breast self-exam. Then, starting at age 40, get an annual mammogram. Experts say prevention and early detection may be the best medicine.

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