Busting a move against breast cancer

Bust a Move fundraiser seeks to raise $750,000 to buy mammography equipment for the province.

"It takes a community to kick cancer's ass," says Joan Helson, a breast cancer survivor. Helson learned she had breast cancer on her birthday. Since then, she's become an advocate for the importance of early diagnosis and treatment and a participant of a fundraiser to buy the mammography equipment Nova Scotia needs.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, about 700 women in Nova Scotia are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and every second day a Nova Scotian woman dies from breast cancer. With the purchase of just one piece of equipment---a digital mammography scanner---those numbers could change dramatically. The digital scanner allows technicians to increase the numbers of mammograms they perform by 75 percent more than with the analog machine they currently use.

Increasing the numbers of mammograms decreases wait times while increasing early detection of cancer. A commonly used statistic is that a relatively small increase in screening---just 15 percent---can lead to 30 percent lower mortality rates, 10 years out.

Breast cancer is the most common cause of death for women aged 20 to 49, and accounts for 25 percent of cancer-related deaths in Nova Scotia. Mammograms are the only reliable method of diagnosis.

The Bust a Move fundraiser, January 30 at the Metro Centre, is all about a community coming together to change the numbers and save lives: kicking cancer's ass. Up to 1,000 participants, who pledge to raise $1,000 each, will be groovin' out to six hours of exercise classes led by some of Halifax's best instructors. To add to the excitement, Richard Simmons will be flying in from Los Angeles to lead an energy-packed aerobics class.

The scanner will cost $750,000 and Bust a Move still needs participants and volunteers to help make the purchase possible. As of last week, more than 560 people have signed up to get their groove on and 215 have agreed to volunteer. Check out bustamove.ca for more information.

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