October is Breast Cancer Awareness month

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women, affecting roughly every 1 in 8.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, where charities raise awareness about the importance of detecting breast cancer early as well as raise funds for continued medical research and affordable treatment care.  Here are some ways that you can do your part in the fight against breast cancer.

Get educated.  Women are getting diagnosed with breast cancer younger and younger.  Understand the signs and symptoms for yourself—including how to perform a breast self-exam.  Consult with your doctor if you notice any lumps or changes.  You usually don’t need to start getting mammograms (breast x-ray examinations) until you’re in your late 30s.  But it doesn’t hurt to know the early signs and symptoms.

Fundraise at your studio. Host a bake sale, sell pink T-shirts and hair ribbons, or simply encourage dancers and parents to contribute to a donation jar at your studio’s front desk.  You can also ask your dance teacher if he or she might host a benefit master class or dance-a-thon to raise more money for organizations such as Dancers Against Cancer, the American Cancer Society, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Participate in a community walk.  Encourage your dance team to walk in your local Breast Cancer Awareness Walk. Another fun idea is to cheer on the walkers from the sidelines with motivating chants and dances (be sure to get approval from the organization hosting the walk first. They’ll often give you a prime location and sometimes even pom-poms and posters to support your cheering).

Host a letter-writing party.  Get together with a group of friends for an hour of writing letters of encouragement to breast cancer patients.  Cancer treatment processes such as chemotherapy can take over three hours per visit.  Reading your card at the hospital can help brighten a patient’s day.  Click here for tips and guidelines before you start writing.

Lower your risk. While there’s no sure way to prevent breast cancer, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk.  Here’s a list of what you can do now: Stay active, keep at a healthy weight, don’t smoke or drink alcohol, get regular check-ups with your doctor, and understand your family history of breast cancer and other types of cancers.

There’s still so much medical experts and scientists don’t know about cancer.  It can feel overwhelming.  But you can make a difference in the fight by raising funds, promoting awareness, and taking care of yourself.