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Lexington residents learn simple steps for breast health

Over 5,000 inspired Lexington residents will be actively involved in breast health this year at the annual Susan G. Komen Lexington Race for the Cure®, which takes place on October 5, 2013 at Robert Stephen Courthouse, Downtown Lexington, 120 N. Limestone.

Komen Lexington Affiliate is working with several volunteers from Lexington area that will inspire women through a groundbreaking initiative called I AM THE CURE®, an educational awareness program that teaches simple action-oriented, breast health information that race participants can put into action in their own lives.

Race for the Cure® encompasses a series of messages that are emotional, memorable and motivational. They speak to the importance of early detection; understand that early detection is the best defense against breast cancer.

“We have so many people who come to our Race in support of a loved one who’s faced breast cancer,” said Jennifer Bricking, Executive Director of the Lexington Affiliate. “We are so happy they are here to honor loved ones and support the cause, but we also want to make sure people leave the Race with tools to manage their own breast cancer risk.”

Breast cancer is a disease that strikes at random and for which the causes and cures are still unknown. And because breast cancer knows no age, gender, geographic or social boundaries, everyone is at risk. Through I AM THE CURE®, Komen is focusing on four things people should know to create a proactive breast health program:

• Your doctor can help you learn your personal breast cancer risk. You should also talk to your family to learn your family history.

• Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at higher risk. Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk. Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at 20, and every year starting at 40.

• Know how your breasts look and feel, and report changes to your health care provider right away.

• Make healthy lifestyle choices that may reduce your risk of breast cancer, such as maintaining a healthy weight, adding exercise to your routine and limiting alcohol intake

These messages will come to life through collateral and educational outreach leading up to the Race, and specifically on Race day through signage, educational key chains for Race participants, and through a program called “Cure Leaders.” Cure Leaders, who are the official “cheerleaders” of the Race, will lead sideline supporters in cheering on runners and walkers along the Race course while reminding them about important steps they can take to protect their own breast health. These cheers include:

See your doctor, learn your risk!

Get mammograms and breast exams!

Notice changes to your breasts!

Start the fight by living right!

“Over the years we have seen the great progress that has been made in diagnosing and treating breast cancer,” said Mrs. Bricking. “America’s 2.5 million breast cancer survivors, now the largest group of cancer survivors in the U.S., are a living testament to the power of society and science to save lives. But we know that since there is no cure, all of us have a duty to ourselves to know our risk and to take charge of our breast health.”

To learn more about what you can do to take an active role in your own breast health, visit www.iamthecure.org. At Komen Lexington there have been local initiatives started that you can also get involved in. There is a monthly Kentucky Health Task Force meeting that engages to learn what barriers are out there in the community for all health initiatives. This task force is open to the public, the next meeting is October 16th at the Komen Lexington office, 324 N. Ashland Ave, Lexington, KY at 10:30am. If you have an interest in getting involved please join us. There is also specific breast health outreach programs that Komen has started called the Colors of Promise focusing on the African American population and the Ties that Bind working with the Latino/Hispanic population. If you would like to learn more about these initiatives contact missions@komenlexington.org.

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