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Breast Cancer and Covid-19

Since March of this year we know that our lifestyles have changed. Some activities and routines are returning to something that resembles “normal”. The way we socialize, gather and even run errands have changed and we have adapted for the most part. However, healthy lifestyles have suffered.

In October we focus on breast cancer awareness. This is important for women, but it is also important for men. While rare, men can be diagnosed with breast cancer and men are often support systems for women diagnosed. During covid-19 there has been a 62% decrease in imaging and 25% decrease in basic screening of breast cancer. This is a very scary statistic. The direct result of that is a 52% decrease in diagnoses. Breast cancer is not on hold while we fight the covid-19 pandemic. In fact, with an increase in alcohol use during this pandemic the concern grows even more. 80% of breast cancer is fueled by estrogen and alcohol increases estrogen.  While there is no “safe” level of alcohol use, experts are now suggesting to limit alcohol intake to one glass a day, or less. Create refreshing mock-tails and serve them in wine glasses and champagne flutes for a fun flare.

Another challenge for prevention, screening and early diagnosis of breast cancer during covid-19 is that as a society we have become much more sedentary. Our exercise routines have been completely derailed.  A sedentary lifestyle in fact increases the risk of breast cancer by 30%! Exercise is an incredible tool in a healthy lifestyle overall. It helps maintain healthy weight, reduce stress, anxiety and depression. In fact, even a brisk walk of only 11-18 minutes everyday can reduce your risk of breast cancer by 18%! So, try to incorporate movement everyday. As days get cooler, especially here in Michigan, it can be more difficult to get those walks in everyday. No longer are we heading to malls to walk. So instead let’s do what we have done since March; let’s get creative! Turn on some music and dance, or do some high steps as you dust and vacuum. You can even grab those canned goods and create some weights!

We know that people who have support systems have greater survival rates when battling cancer, or any illness. The same is true when you have a support system for exercise.  Again, covid-19 restrictions have created challenges for supporting each other or even communicating that we need support. Supporting each other helps everyone. Again, let’s get creative! Phone calls, zoom calls and socially distanced activities can benefit everyone! Don’t let the restrictions of this pandemic restrict your ability to control your health.

Sources:

www.cancer.org

www.nationalbreastcancer.org

www.pinklotus.com/covid

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