Cancer won't stop this ballerina from dancing

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Cancer Won't Keep Bald Ballerina from Dancing

A young ballet dancer diagnosed with breast cancer decided to publicly share her story in a selfless initiative to help other young females plagued by the disease. Maggie Kurdirka, also known as the "Bald Ballerina," was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in June, at the age of 23. Before her diagnosis, Kurdirka, was on a full merit scholarship with the Joffrey Concert Group.

While at the Joffrey Group, Maggie experienced pains in her chest but unassumingly associated it with the muscular fatigue that came with the rigors of dance. It took four months for Maggie to finally go to a doctor to seek help for the persisting pain. What Maggie thought was an overdeveloped muscle from carrying a heavy dance bag around New York City, turned out to an aggressively developed and cancerous tumor.

The Bald Ballerina has taken to social media to share her story and encourage others facing similar battles. Kurdika offers critical advice for young women over her Facebook page and connects with fromer colleagues who have questions or need guidance. Maggie credits her strength to the support of her family. Maggie's cousin, Amber, beat Leukemia 8 years ago. While Maggie's career is on indefinite hold, she wants to take time to help other during this chapter of her life. Doctors are optimistic about Maggie's prognosis and are encouraging her to continue practicing ballet between chemotherapy treatment sessions.

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Cancer won't stop this ballerina from dancing

Stop worrying about the things you cannot change. Based on the current evidence, what can you do to prevent breast cancer?

Survival has improved enormously, so there are more women living with, not dying from, breast cancer. Of course, we know more women with breast cancer, or more encouragingly, who have survived breast cancer.

Life expectancy has increased, and risk for breast cancer increases with age ... older women = more breast cancer.

Women are having fewer children, often at older ages, and pregnancy does offer some protective benefit against breast cancer. However, prevention is not a great reason to have a baby, so there's nothing you can change here.

Breast cancer detection is better, resulting in increased numbers of diagnoses. These early diagnoses are saving lives.

We are no longer ashamed to use the word "breast," or "cancer" for that matter. Your parents' generation wasn't wearing pink ribbons and exposing bald heads to raise awareness. It was there, it was just something we didn't talk about at parties.

A big part of the reason you feel like there is more breast cancer, is because we are talking about it. Thank God for this conversation -- it is saving lives.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise.

Enjoy a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.

Drink alcohol in moderation.

See your doctor and stay current on your recommended screening exams.

There is ongoing research about how working night shifts may increase risk, but before you quit your night job, I suggest giving the evidence time to sort itself out.

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