October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  Kelly Murray, Wellness Coordinator

October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You may have noticed that during month of October, and throughout the year you tend to see a lot of pink ribbons. The pink ribbon is to honor survivors, remember those who lost to the disease, and to support the battle of breast cancer. The purpose of this campaign is to help people spread awareness of the disease, and educate people on prevention, screening & early detection, and treatment plans.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer are very important for screening and early detection of the disease. The most common symptom is a new lump or mass. Other possible symptoms include swelling of all or part of a breast, skin irritation, dimpling, breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction, redness or thickening of the nipple of breast tissue, and nipple discharge. These symptoms can be caused by things other than breast cancer, so if you experience any of these symptoms it is important to speak with your doctor.

Screenings and early detection are used to look for breast cancer. Screenings are the tests and exams that are used to find the disease in people that do not have symptoms. Early detection is the process of finding and diagnosing the disease earlier than what might happen if you waited for symptoms to start. A few different types of breast cancer screenings include self breast exams, clinical breast exams, and mammograms. Speak with your health care provider to set up a screening/early detection plan that will work best for you.

For more information on the guidelines for your age and risk level, you can also visit the American Cancer Society at http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/breastcancerearlydetection/breast-cancer-early-detection-acs-recs

Helpful Information

National Breast Cancer Foundation

Make a Pink Ribbon

Breast Cancer in Men

7 Thinngs to Know About Getting a Mammogram

Going Beyond Diet and Exercise

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 Toni Sperlbaum, CWWPM, CHWC, Vice President of Sales & Marketing

When you think of the term “wellness program”, the first thing that often comes to mind when it comes to programming are diet and exercise.  More and more, however, we are seeing a more whole-person wellness movement in the field which includes not only diet and exercise, but many other factors such as financial wellness, stress management, ergonomics, spiritual wellness, and much more.

September is National Yoga Month, which means it’s the perfect time to offer onsite yoga classes at your facility or at least provide local resources and information to your members.  Luckily, yoga hits two birds with one stone.  Many yogis see their practice as their own personal escape, connecting deeply to their core values and philosophy.  It also combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation and stress relief.  Seventy seven percent of people report regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, and those who participate in yoga report reducing stress levels.

Outside of the mental benefits, no one can deny that yoga is a better workout than seems to those who haven’t done it before!  Not only does it improve flexibility, strength, and muscle tone, one 2011 study showed that 12 weekly yoga classes resulted in better function than usual medical care in adults with chronic or recurring low-back pain.  What this means for your health plan is less doctor or physical therapy visits!   It has also shown to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, improve respiration and energy, and reduce cardiovascular disease. It’s really a win-win.

If you’re not a big fan of yoga, or feel you are unable to host a class onsite for whatever reason, I encourage you to put out a Deep Breathing, Meditation,  at-home yoga challenge to your members, or even a Lunch & Learn seminar regarding some of these topics.  As you can see from the few benefits I sited above (there are many more!), mental and emotional wellness are just as important as diet and exercise.  That makes healthier, happier, more productive, and lower cost employees.