Saturday, October 31, 2009

Allison and her Nana

When I learned that family member, Allison, had a story to share about breast cancer, I put together the following questions. Her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Allison was at a young age. Her story helped me to see how her parents handled the situation with her being so young and what kinds of feelings and concerns she must have felt at such an age.

Like Allison, I was young when I heard that a relative was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the updates on this relative's progress were filtered by my mother as she talked with the relative's mother on the phone. I remember being scared and wishing I knew more about what was going on. My mother did not go into detail about my relative's treatment. Thankfully, this relative survived.

As a parent, I understand the need to be careful with how much is told to a child when a close relative is battling such a life-threatening disease. A lot of breast cancer information spread around can imply that it is not a disease many survive and this can be scary to a child. This can cause the child to be fearful of the outcome when someone they love is diagnosed.

Fortunately, Allison's story has a happy ending. Her grandmother survived breast cancer. She and her grandmother are closer because of this experience. Not only was it an educational experience for the both of them, but also a life-changing one.

Below are Allison's answers to my questions.

1. How old were you when you learned of your grandmother's diagnosis of breast cancer? How did you handle the news?

I was about 8 years old when I got the call and found everything out.
I was very educated and mature for that age, so I knew what it meant.

2. What do you know about the kind of treatment she received? Either during the early stages or later stages.

The treatment that I know about was that she qualified for the removal
of her whole left breast because the cancer hadn't spread anywhere
else. Back then, the new law hadn't passed yet about breast
reconstruction being something doctors were obligated to offer and
fulfill if the patient desired. What I know that she was offered was a
prosthetic breast which she did take. I just know that it was very
heavy and she moved on to a cloth prosthetic.

3. How were you able to support her and be there for her while she was receiving treatment?

At first, I didn't support her. I was so young and I was instantly
afraid of her possible death, because to me hearing that someone had
cancer, it meant they were dying. It was all over shortly, and she had
recovered fine, so I was just happy for her that she survived.

4. In what way did you and your family connect on an emotional level while your grandmother was battling breast cancer? In what ways did you cope?

I wasn't told much because I was too young, and though I am sure my parents were afraid, they wanted to protect me and didn't tell me when she was going in for surgery. It wasn't until she had her second cancer (in her chin) that I knew when she was going in for surgery, and we all took it as "she'll be fine, it won't kill her, she's too strong." Plus, the doctor had already made her feel assured, so she assured us.

5. On what other levels (spiritual, intellectual, etc.) did you
experience growth and/or empowerment during this difficult time?

I've grown in my ways of viewing cancer as something that IS beatable, and you DON'T have to go through chemo and all these horrible things in all cancer cases. It's made me feel confident that if I one day got cancer, I would probably be able to beat it.

6. What was your biggest source of support in trying to cope with this experience? Is it still a source of support in other ways?

Her words of assurance that she would be fine, and that if anything DID happen to her, she's lived a happy life. She is such an amazing person, and when she's not scared, it makes me feel like I don't have to be scared.

7. In what ways was your grandmother inspiring to you during her fight with breast cancer?

Her light-hearted humor about her prosthetic, and about how she didn't have a left breast anymore. She poked fun at herself, and it made it all very easy to deal with. She inspired me to laugh at life's challenges when you beat them, and just smile.

8. What is one memory that stands out from this time?

When she showed me her scar tissue on her chest, and her explanation of what it feels like and how she felt about it. And wearing her prosthetic breasts around the house because she thought it was funny.

9. Is there a major or national charity that really made a difference for your grandmother during this time? Please explain.

Not that I know of, actually.

10. How has your relationship with your grandmother improved or been changed ever since she became a breast cancer survivor?

We've always been close and had a very special connection. I know that I admire her more knowing she's battled cancer twice, and she has such a positive outlook about it all. She's so inspiring and such an amazing person. I think anyone who is suffering with cancer would benefit from her company.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Organization spotlight: Ruta Pink

Today's blog post will feature a breast cancer prevention organization in Puerto Rico called Ruta Pink. Here is some info:

Last year, Doral Bank in Puerto Rico teamed up with Susan G Komen for the Cure and launched “Ruta Pink” (or Pink Route). Ruta Pink consists of a pink mobile mammogram clinic that stops through various towns in Puerto Rico, offering women (and men) free mammograms, biopsies and referrals – with or without health insurance.

Since launching in June of 2008, Ruta Pink’s medical team has performed over 2,200 mammograms. In addition to offering mammograms, the Ruta Pink program also offers free cancer prevention seminars to the general public, and offers contributions to the Susan G Komen foundation.

You can read more about Ruta Pink at Ruta Pink (click English in upper right corner), or visit their new youtube page at

They’ve also recently been written about in Everyday Health, FastCompany, Brandweek, and more!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Breast cancer survivor poetry

The act of writing poetry can have an enormously profound sense of healing and empowerment. For some, it is the best way, maybe even the only way, for them to cope with the struggles they face in life.

For a breast cancer fighter and/or survivor, writing poetry can have an extra special bonus. Not only is the writing of poetry itself good for their spirit, but it it also an inspiration for others who read their words.

Here are some links to where you can find poems written by breast cancer survivors:

Pink Ribbon Poetry

Breast Cancer Poetry

Breast Cancer DIY Poetry

Breast Cancer poems

There are also books of poetry related to breast cancer:

Her Soul beneath the Bone: WOMEN'S POETRY ON BREAST CANCER

Smiling Thru the Tears: A Cancer Survivor's Odyssey by Pamela deLeon-Lewis

The Cancer Poetry Project: Poems by Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them

Fighting My Way Through Breast Cancer With Poetry by Diana Ballinger

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Five facts about breast cancer in men

While women most commonly acquire breast cancer, the breast tissue in men can become cancerous. It is extremely rare for men to develop breast cancer, yet it has been known to happen. Because breast cancer in men is so rarely discussed and little is understood about it, the following facts about breast cancer in men have been gathered to inform readers.

Fact: Men between the ages of 60-70 are most commonly diagnosed with breast cancer.

Fact: Symptoms of breast cancer in men include a nipple discharge, lump under the nipple, discoloration of the breast skin and dimpling of the skin in that area.

Fact: Risks of men developing breast cancer include genetic factors, exposure to radiation, high levels of estrogen (which commonly occurs in men diagnosed with Klinefelter's syndrome -- having an extra female chromosome, resulting in XXY rather than the normal XY), and liver disease.

Fact: The most common type of breast cancer to occur in men is infiltrating ductal carcinoma, which is cancer with origins in the ducts (tubular structures) of the breast. It is referred to as "infiltrating" because this means that the cancer cells have spread beyond the ducts.

Fact: Once a lump is detected, a biopsy is the most common method used to determine if there is cancer.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Breast cancer and the mobility impaired

Any woman who is used to walking and standing may understand the rigors of trying to get a mammogram, or even what's involved in receiving chemotherapy during treatment. However, if you are bound to a wheelchair, then being able to stand to receive a mammogram or move into a recliner for chemotherapy can be a struggle. Being helped to stand as well as carried around can be humiliating for someone already burdened with the stress of a possible breast cancer diagnosis. The problem is that there are not many handicap-accessible machines to accommodate the mobility impaired patients who must use them.

The good news is, more medical establishments and health care professionals are finally paying attention to the needs of the mobility impaired. Physicians and staff are being trained to accommodate the physical limitations of patients who require a mammogram or chemotherapy.

The first step is to discuss these limitations with your doctor. More and more medical facilities are becoming handicap-accessible and steps are being taken to include this accessibility inside of the buildings. If the arms of your wheelchair can be lowered, this will make it easier to receive a mammogram while in your wheelchair. If you are not able to sit up for the duration of your mammogram, a Velcro apparatus will be used to help you.

It's a good idea to ask someone to come with you to your appointments. A friend, sibling or caregiver is likely willing to assist you if needed so that you can receive your mammogram or be comfortable while receiving chemotherapy treatments.

Before your visit, ask if you can see the imaging center first. Ask questions about what sort of accommodations are in place for patients who are mobility impaired. If this is not provided, then talk to your doctor about finding a facility which is more helpful to the needs of disabled patients.

The MayoClinic understands the rights and needs of a patient who is stuck in a wheelchair. They have created three facilities specially equipped to assist such patients:

The Breast Clinic in Arizona

The Breast Center in Florida

The Breast Diagnostic Clinic in Minnesota

Finally, a free guide for disabled women is available for review on the Internet:

Breast Self-Examination: A Handbook for Women with disAbilities

If you are mobility-challenged and must have a mammogram or chemotherapy treatment, don't resign yourself to the delusion that all disabled patients must "put up" with using equipment not accessible to the disabled or being discriminated against by physicians. Ask questions, speak up. Talk to a medical professional you trust. If you feel your medical needs are not being sufficiently met or that you are being discriminated against, find another physician. Don't accept discrimination from a physician, who is obligated to treat ALL patients regardless of race, ethnicity, social stature, religion, financial situation AND disability. Know your rights but, more importantly, know what kind of accommodations and services are available to you as a patient. Every person, disabled and abled, has the right to receive competent and thorough care for breast cancer and it's important to make sure that care is given to you. Medical treatment of breast cancer is important. Receiving proper medical care for breast cancer could mean the difference between life or death.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Organization spotlight: Bright Pink

Bright Pink is a national nonprofit organization devoted to helping women who are fighting both breast and ovarian cancer. Their goal in offering education and support is to "arm young women with knowledge, options and a great attitude, and offer companionship and empathy during their journey. We empower them to take control of their breast and ovarian health and in turn, grant them the freedom and peace of mind to live a beautiful and fulfilling life."

Part of the work they do is partnering with companies to create products that promote breast cancer awareness, mainly during September and October. As an example, the specially-created pink Bubblemint Orbit White Gum means 10% of sales of this gum will go towards supporting this organization.

Their Little Bright Book series, which medical professionals can obtain for free from the site, provides information about breast and ovarian cancer. Titles include "A Young Woman’s Guide to Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk and How to Be Proactive with Your Health” and the breast/ovarian cancer fighter/survivor's edition “For Our Mothers and the Women We Love: A Guide to Being Proactive and Protecting Your Family’s Health."

The site also provides a wealth of information about breast and ovarian cancer, all written by a team of medical professionals who understand the needs and concerns of those who are at risk of either cancer.

Also, anyone looking to connect with another cancer fighter/survivor can check out the PinkPals program. This will pair you with someone similar to your own situation who you can talk with and turn to for support via phone or email. You may even be able to meet your PinkPal in person.

The organization also emails or texts monthly reminders to "make time for the girls," offer information about a physical outreach group in your area, and visitors may even submit questions to genetic counselors ready to answer your questions and address your concerns.

They also offer educational workshops and conferences.

For more information: Bright Pink

Sunday, October 25, 2009

10 Cost-Free Ways to Participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

You don't have to break the bank to participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While there are organizations out there who will definitely benefit from any and all fundraising efforts, people who just can't financially help can still do something special in honor of this month. Below are ten no-cost things you can do to participate and still be a part of breast cancer awareness.

1. Volunteer at a cancer support group or center.

2. Join a network of breast cancer survivors and befriend someone and just talk.

3. Wear pink! Even better, something with a pink ribbon on it. Or wear a pink ribbon in your hair.

4. Read a book about breast cancer. Stay informed!

5. Create a sign, card or collage that honors someone you know who has lost their battle with or survived breast cancer.

6. Write a blog series on breast cancer awareness!

7. Encourage your friends and family to learn about breast cancer.

8. Write something that shows why you are glad we have a "breast cancer awareness month."

9. Spread the word about charities who are helping people struggling with breast cancer or a survivors network.

10. Decorate your Web site or page with pink and/or add something which reminds visitors that it's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Add links to charities and foundations or videos of breast cancer survivors sharing their stories, if you'd like.

Personal message from Dawn: Happy Birthday, Jesse! Hard to believe you are now 2 years old! The years go by so fast! We all love you so much and I feel so blessed you are in my life, sweet baby.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Online support and message board forums for breast cancer survivors

For some breast cancer patients and survivors, trying to find a support group to network with other people in their shoes is necessary but scary. There is the fear of opening up to complete strangers or the inability to travel to a group meeting. There also may be confusion as to where to look to find a local support group.

An online support group can make taking that first step easier. The following are a list of some message boards and support groups to try.

Breast Cancer Support discussion forums

The American Cancer Society's Cancer Survivor Network offers one for breast cancer survivors

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Forums

Young Survival Coalition

Breast Cancer Care

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pink Ribbon Breakfast

The next time you eat breakfast, why not do so for a worthy cause? National Pink Ribbon Day is on Monday, October 26th, and this is also the day hundreds will be holding a "Pink Ribbon Breakfast."

The National Breast Cancer Foundation has come up with the Pink Ribbon Breakfast. The Pink Ribbon Breakfast is just one more way to raise funds for and promote breast cancer awareness. It was started in Australia but anyone overseas can participate.

Find out more about it here:
Pink Ribbon Breakfast

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Avon Crusade Tote

Every year, the national cosmetics retailer, Avon, Inc., creates specials and events to benefit breast cancer research and awareness. One of the things they are doing this year is offering the very nifty and pretty Avon Crusade Tote. Designed by Maimekko, this handy tote can be yours for only $10. So why not buy a new bag for a cause?

The new Avon Crusade Tote is only $10 and 100% of the net profits will be donated to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.

Check it out here: Avon Crusade Tote

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Susan G. Komen for the Cure gets Passionately Pink for the Cure

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, which is recognized as one of the largest nonprofit organizations devoted to breast cancer research and awareness, has developed a new program called Passionately Pink for the Cure.

Passionately Pink for the Cure allows participants to organize a "passionately pink" event with accessories and items to promote their event and the cause. Proceeds raised from such events can be sent to the foundation as the event's donation.

Details: Passionately Pink for the Cure

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Warning signs of breast cancer

The following are signs and symptoms of breast cancer:

* A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle.
* A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
* A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast.
* A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple.
* A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple (dimpled, puckered, scaly, or inflamed).
* Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple.
* An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
* A marble-like hardened area under the skin.

Source: The Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Five Myths and Misconceptions about Breast Cancer

1. Only women get breast cancer.

This is probably the most common misconception about breast cancer. Surprise! Men can be diagnosed with breast cancer, as well. Men have breast tissue and their breast duct cells are just as vulnerable to developing cancer as a woman's. However, because women have many more breast duct cells and hormones attacking those cells than men do, breast cancer is more prevalent in women.

2. Breastfeeding will prevent a woman from developing breast cancer.

While various medical reports and physicians will attest that women who breastfeed have indeed a decreased chance of developing breast cancer, it is not the "cure" for breast cancer. Some women who breastfed their babies have developed breast cancer later in life. While breastfeeding is a good preventative measure against developing breast cancer, it won't guarantee a block against it.

3. Mammograms are dangerous because of radiation exposure.

In the 1970's, the risk of harmful radiation exposure from mammograms was a growing concern in the medical community. This debate over radiation exposure from a mammogram, however, remains very strong and rampant. Still, mammograms are definitely useful in detecting tumors which might otherwise go undetected. Today's technology has improved the performance and safety of equipment used during a mammogram.

4. The breast-self-exam (BSE) is sufficient in detecting a tumor.

There are two things wrong with this myth. One is that not every female knows how to perform the BSE correctly. A young woman should consult with her doctor about the proper way to perform a BSE. The second thing is that relying on BSE to detect any tumors or suspicious lumps is not the best way for finding any. A tumor or lump on the breast can be undetected and hard to locate. By the time a tumor is detected, it is very large and has been festering in that area for some time. As a measure of caution, a yearly mammogram or yearly breast exam performed by a physician is advisable.

5. If I have no family history of breast cancer, I can't get it.

This is also another popular myth about breast cancer. Anyone with a first-degree family member (such as parent or sibling) with breast cancer has the highest risk of obtaining the disease. The next highest risk is anyone with a second-degree family member (such as anyone on the mother or father's side) who has had the disease. However, people with no known family history of breast cancer have also developed the disease. According to the book, Mammography and Breast Imaging: Just the Facts by Olive Peart, "Over 90 percent of women who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Understanding Early Stage Breast Cancer

Once a tumor is detected in the breast, it is advisable to seek medical assistance as early as possible. The soonest medical intervention occurs, the greater the chances of having the cancer removed from the area and for the patient to start recovering or obtain further medical assistance. The moment the tumor is detected is known as the early stage of breast cancer. Understanding the early stage of breast cancer can help a patient to feel more at ease about receiving treatment.

Early stage breast cancer has four stages: Stage I, II (A or B), III (A, B, or C) or IV. The size of the tumor and whether or not the cancer has spread is what determines the category of the cancer. Not all stages of the tumor are considered "early-stage." The only ones which are "early-stage" are Stages I, IIA, IIB and IIIA.

There are no other unique characteristics associated with the tumor which will designate which stage it is. Only the size and its capacity for spreading are what result in the type of stage it is classified as.

Treatment for early-stage breast cancer usually involves surgery. The surgical procedures used for early-stage breast cancer are as follows:

The first type of surgery is called "breast-sparing surgery." In other words, a surgical procedure in which all or most of the breast is spared from removal. The surgeon will either remove the tumor and surrounding tissue involved (perform a "lumpectomy") or remove a part of the breast that includes the tumor (perform a "partial mastectomy"). Usually, with this type of surgery, some lymph nodes from under the arm will also be removed. This type of surgery is also known as "breast-conserving surgery." The affected breast may look exactly the same or mostly the same following this type of surgery. After breast-sparing surgery, the patient normally undergoes radiation therapy.

The second type of surgery is called a "mastectomy." There are two types of mastectomies: "Simple" or "total" mastectomy, and "modified radical mastectomy." The simple or total mastectomy involves removing the entire breast and possibly some lymph nodes located under the arm. With modified radical mastectomy, the entire breast is removed as well as some lymph nodes under the arm, the lining over the chest muscles and possibly part of the chest wall muscles.

The reason for removal of lymph nodes is to help the treating doctors detect if the cancer is spreading. If they detect cancer in the removed lymph nodes, they may need to remove more in order to prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body (to metastasize). From here, the patient may or may not be advised to receive adjuvant therapy, depending on the results.

Reference: Early Stage Breast Cancer Frequently Asked Questions

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser and drawing

The Web site is holding a Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser for October. Last year, they were able to raise $1,180 to go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This year, they hope to raise $2,000, which will go to The Breast Cancer Research Fund.

To encourage donations from visitors, for every $5 donated, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a variety of make-up and beauty products. There will be eight winners total.

To find out more, visit their site:
Breast Cancer Awareness 2009 Fundraiser

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More events and specials honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Here are more events, opportunities and specials taking place during October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This list is not exhaustive. More will be added in future blog posts. Happy shopping and participating!

The radio station WRVQ Q94.5 (Richmond, Virginia) is partnering with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for the 3rd Annual "Q94 Bras on Broad!" for the month of October. They are collecting bras and for every bra collected, they will donate $1 to the Foundation. On October 23rd, all bras donated will be stretched out along Broad Street.
The 3rd Annual Q94 Bras On Broad

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Save-A-Lot has partnered with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and donated $100,000 towards the fight against breast cancer. In recognition of this and to promote the occasion, NASCAR has created a special pink race car with the Save-A-Lot brand. Additionally, you can purchase a special pink reusable bag at any Save-A-Lot store for only 99 cents.
Save-A-Lot joins fight for breast cancer awareness

Darphin, a skin care company, will donate $20 from each sale of Arovita C Energic Firming Cream to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

When you buy Boscia Rose Blotting Linens, a portion of the purchase will go towards breast cancer research.

"American Airlines and American Eagle employees are joining forces throughout October to do their part in the fight against breast cancer. Among the activities scheduled in celebration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, American and American Eagle are encouraging their nearly 90,000 employees to "think pink" as they participate in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure(®) program Passionately Pink for the Cure(®) on Friday, Oct. 16." Among the ways the airlines are participating is by offering pink menus and any item purchased off of these menus will result in a 10% donation towards breast cancer research. "American kicked off its month-long observance last week with a special gift card offer: during October, when customers purchase an American Airlines Gift Card and specify Komen as the beneficiary, American will donate $5 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for every $50 of travel purchased via the gift card. To purchase gift cards and support Susan G. Komen for the Cure, consumers can go to When completing payment information, "Komen" must be entered in the tracking code box in order for the donation to be made. Gift cards must be purchased by Oct. 31 for the 10 percent donation to be made to Komen, and it applies only to online purchases." Read all about all of their specials and programs here: American Airlines Celebrates National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Web site,, is also participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Go to this page and click on a retailer to shop from. With every purchase made through that click, they will donate $1 to breast cancer charities.

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the company, TeleBrands, has created a special Limited Edition Pink PedEgg decorated with the universally recognized pink ribbon. You can purchase it for $10 at this site and it is available only for a limited time. The company is donating $50,000 of sales of this PedEgg to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Organization spotlight: Breast Cancer Solutions

The Breast Cancer Survivors organization was formed in 1998. They have recently changed their name to Breast Cancer Solutions.

They are a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting anyone who has been affected with breast cancer, either as a patient or as a survivor.

They have contributed more than $2,600,000 to support 1100 people affected by breast cancer. Unfortunately, they only assist people located in Southern California.

They not only assist patients on a financial level but they also become an advocate for that person to receive treatment and information during the course of the disease.

In order to continue their services and assistance to anyone affected by breast cancer seeking their help, they hold fundraisers, accept donations and offer volunteer positions.

Their Web site: Breast Cancer Solutions

Their contact information:

Breast Cancer Solutions
270 Bristol Street, #101-142
Costa Mesa , CA 92626-7940

866.960.9222 phone
866.781.6068 fax

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blogs Against Breast Cancer 2009

Yesterday's blog post showed how just one click can help a woman receive a free mammogram this month. Now, all it takes is just one image!

The Web site Diets in is doing something in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For all of October, if you include the above image on your blog, they will donate $5 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation in honor of your site.

I have included the image above for today's blog post. I am also including it on the side of my blog.

I am excited and grateful to see a web site being so generous and active in fighting for the cause. It's all in the power of your blog! So visit their site today, copy the image to your blog, and you will have just contributed to the fight against breast cancer.

Blogs Against Breast Cancer 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Breast Cancer Site "Click to give" for October

The Breast Cancer Site is partnered with the non-profit organization, the National Breast Cancer Foundation. For the month of October, they are holding a "click to give" program which will help women receive a free mammogram. For every click on their pink button, a sponsor will pay for a mammogram that will help a low-income woman who may not otherwise have been able to receive one.

The Breast Cancer Site is affiliated with, which also owns and operates sites such as The Hunger Site, The Child Health Site, The Literacy Site, The Rainforest Site and The Animal Rescue Site. All of these sites have a "click to give" program. One click will mean a sponsor contributes to the designated cause.

To help a woman receive a free mammogram, please visit The Breast Cancer Site today and "click to give."

The Breast Cancer Site

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure T-shirt Design Contest

Do you have an artistic side?

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation is holding a contest! They are soliciting submissions of designs for their newest T-shirt, which will be worn by hundreds of participants in next year's Race For the Cure. The deadline to enter is November 8, 2009.

Read all about it here: It's All About the Shirt!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Businesses supporting breast cancer research and NBCAM

The following is a list of just some businesses and corporations which are taking steps to support breast cancer awareness and breast cancer research as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I will include more later.

For the entire month of October, Hungry Howie's Pizza will be using pink boxes for their pizzas, complete with a pink ribbon on each box. And for every pizza ordered, they will make a donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. This will take place at every Hungry Howie's Pizza location. You can find a location of a Hungry Howie's Pizza at their Web site: Hungry Howie's Pizza

Breath of the Dragon, which creates unique and custom wood burning designs, has an inventory of breast cancer awareness items specifically created in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A portion of the sales will be donated to a local women's resource center. You can check it all out here: Breath of the Dragon

For the month of October, Target is selling pink ribbons in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For every ribbon sold, they are donating to breast cancer charities. Likewise, a New York-based Target is all pink for October, donating 100% of proceeds from sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. There are other merchandise available specifically for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can buy from them in stores or at their Web site: Breast Cancer Awareness items

Bornstein Seafoods is selling pink salmon decorated in pink cans and wrappings in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The seafood company's co-owner, Sharyn Bornstein, is a breast cancer survivor. For every can sold, they will donate $1 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Find a location on their Web site: Bornstein Seafoods

Olive Juice, a company that sells children's clothing, is also donating to the cause. The company's founder, Maryellen Kane, knows the pain associated with breast cancer: She watched her mother battle breast cancer for years. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they are donating $1 for every purchase made to Cuddle My Kids, a company that helps families affected by cancer. Visit them on the Web here: Olive Juice

The company Exygon Health and Fitness teamed up with CYBEX International by installing pink treadmills in their offices. for every mile ran on the treadmills, they are donating 10 cents to breast cancer research organizations. Here is their site:

When you buy a Hobo International pink clutch bag, the company will donate 25% of proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Find out more here: Hobo International Jolie Cosmetics Bag

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Susan G. Komen for the Cure event: "On Track for a Cause"

Tonight at 10 p.m. EST there will be an event benefiting breast cancer awareness.

Here are the details:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure cordially invites you to get "On Track for a Cause" to support the fight against breast cancer.

Hosted by Indy Race Car Sensation Sarah Fisher and Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block.

Pink carpet begins at 10 p.m.
LIV Nighclub, Miami Beach

Sounds by Ross One


Susan G. Komen for the Cure invite you to "On Track For a Cause"

Host: Betty Wood Breast Cancer Foundation
Type: Causes - Fundraiser
Start Time: Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 10:00pm
End Time:
Friday, October 9, 2009 at 2:00am

LIV Nightclub

4441 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Types of breast cancer

Common types of breast cancer

The most common types of breast cancer begin either in your breast's milk ducts (ductal carcinoma) or in the milk-producing glands (lobular carcinoma). The point of origin is determined by the appearance of the cancer cells under a microscope.

In situ breast cancer
In situ (noninvasive) breast cancer refers to cancer in which the cells have remained within their place of origin — they haven't spread to breast tissue around the duct or lobule. The most common type of noninvasive breast cancer is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is confined to the lining of the milk ducts. The abnormal cells haven't spread through the duct walls into surrounding breast tissue. With appropriate treatment, DCIS has an excellent prognosis.

Invasive breast cancer
Invasive (infiltrating) breast cancers spread outside the membrane that lines a duct or lobule, invading the surrounding tissues. The cancer cells can then travel to other parts of your body, such as the lymph nodes.

* Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). IDC accounts for about 70 percent of all breast cancers. The cancer cells form in the lining of your milk duct, then break through the ductal wall and invade nearby breast tissue. The cancer cells may remain localized — staying near the site of origin — or spread (metastasize) throughout your body, carried by your bloodstream or lymphatic system.
* Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC). Although less common than IDC, this type of breast cancer invades in a similar way, starting in the milk-producing lobules and then breaking into the surrounding breast tissue. ILC can also spread to more distant parts of your body. With this type of cancer, you typically won't feel a distinct, firm lump but rather a fullness or area of thickening.

Less common types of breast cancer

Not all types of breast cancer begin in a duct or lobule. Less common types of breast cancer may arise from the breast's supporting tissue, including the fibrous connective tissue, blood vessels and lymphatic system. In addition, some tumors don't actually begin in the breast but represent a different type of cancer that has spread (metastasized) from another part of the body, such as the lymphatic system (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma), skin (melanoma), colon or lungs. These are not called breast cancer but are referred to as cancer from where it started, now metastatic to the breast.

Unusual types of breast cancer include inflammatory breast cancer, phyllodes tumor, angiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, metaplastic breast cancer, adenoid cystic carcinoma and Paget's disease of the breast. There are also rare subtypes of invasive ductal carcinoma — tubular, mucinous, medullary and papillary.

Read more: Types of breast cancer

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Special guest blog post by Sue Chehrenegar

Residents of Nebraska Join the Battle against Breast Cancer

After Tracey Bartlett DuPont failed to win her fight against breast cancer, her husband decided to set up a foundation in her name. He called it the Tracey Bartlett DuPont Foundation. To go online and read about this new breast cancer organization, the Internet viewer should enter this URL:
Tracy Bartlett DuPont Foundation

“Tracy’s Angels,” those who have assisted with the establishment of this organization, have chosen to direct their efforts towards progress in three separate areas. They have decided to allocate a part of their Foundation money to the establishment of nursing scholarships. A second portion of the Foundation money will help to fund a new state of the art hospital.

Once a sufficient amount of the Foundation money has supported the creation of nursing scholarships and the building of a new hospital, the remaining money will cover the costs of selected breast cancer research and development programs. At the same time, the Foundation website will continue to post information on the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

Because Tracy’s husband is a programmer, he has organized his website with an eye to the needs of the breast cancer patient and the breast cancer survivor. In fact, his website focuses on delivery of information to those two groups of women. So, do not think that you need to be a programming pro, in order to benefit from visiting this Foundation website.

Sue Chehrenegar became a freelance writer about six years ago, after devoting 30 years to the pursuit of a career in biomedical research. Sue has been writing online content about health related issues since 2004. Sue has also done some grant writing, as well as composing articles for a couple children's magazines.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Books related to breast cancer

Breast Cancer Survival Manual, Fourth Edition: A Step-by-Step Guide for the Woman With Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer by John Link

The Breast Cancer Survivor's Fitness Plan (Harvard Medical School Guides) by Carolyn M. Kaelin, Francesca Coltrera, Josie Gardiner, Joy Prouty

After Breast Cancer: A Common-Sense Guide to Life After Treatment by Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW

Breast Cancer for Dummies
by by Ronit Elk Ph.D., Monica Morrow M.D., and Ronit Elk

The Breast Cancer Book of Strength & Courage: Inspiring Stories to See You Through Your Journey by Ernie Bodai M.D. and Judie Fertig Panneton

Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor's Soul: Stories to Inspire, Support and Heal by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Mary Olsen Kelly (with contributors)

The Human Side of Cancer: Living with Hope, Coping with Uncertainty
by Jimmie Holland and Sheldon Lewis

Dear God, They Say It's Cancer: A Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey by Janet Thompson

I Am Not My Breast Cancer: Women Talk Openly About Love and Sex, Hair Loss and Weight Gain, Mothers and Daughters, and Being a Woman with Breast Cancer
by Ruth Peltason

Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book (4th Edition)
by Susan M. Love and Karen Lindsey

Just Get Me Through This!: The Practical Guide to Breast Cancer by Deborah A. Cohen and Robert M. Gelfand, M.D.

Breast Cancer: Real Questions, Real Answers by David Chan, with an Introduction by Frank Stockdale and a Foreword by John Glaspy

Sunday, October 04, 2009

October events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

What: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
Who: Open to the public

When: All October
Where:" National, check the site for races planned in your area

What: Global Breast Cancer Conference
Who: "This conference aims to bring together scientists, researchers, healthcare providers, advocacy groups, and policymakers to increase global awareness of breast cancer, enhance a better understanding of the disease and its medical treatments, and improve the quality of life of breast cancer patients."

When: October 8-10
Where: Sheraton Grande Walkerhill, Seoul, Korea

What: Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk
Who: Open to the public
When: Various dates through October
Where: National, check the site for walks planned in your area

What: Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Who: Open to the public
When: October 10-11

Where: New York

What: National Mammography Day

Who: Open to the public
When: October 15

Where: National

What: Ride to Empower
Who: Open to the public
When: October 22-25
Where: Red Rock, Nevada

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Special guest blog post by Carolyn Howard-Johnson


From: Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Beating Time At Its Own Game

Life Begins With Cancer

The day after my biopsy, my husband and I drove to Las Vegas on a business trip, never thinking about possibilities. We stopped at the state line for a ride on the giant Ferris wheel. We shelled giant prawns for lunch at the Stardust buffet. We slid quarters into a slot machine—the old fashioned kind I like with spinning cherries that will surely triple my money and spill the winnings into a silver trough.

That was not a bad approach at the time. There is no reason to assume the worst, to project abject possibilities that may never come to pass onto the present. Denial is sometimes very useful. On the other hand, it often keeps one from examining one’s own behavior, one’s own motivations. I share this anecdote because it illustrates how thoroughly denial had become entrenched in my life.

I was raised in times that were not easy for women. Most of the barriers I faced were ones that couldn’t be seen nor acknowledged because I didn’t know they were there. They crept up silently on padded feet and, if I sensed them at all, I choose not to turn and face them.

This faculty for denial was intact and very healthy when I was diagnosed with cancer. By 3 p.m. that day, the picture was not so jolly. We had to return home so I could begin autogenous blood donations. The risk of AIDS in the blood supply was still high; my doctor believed that we should have my own blood on hand in case it was needed.

My first reaction was true to pattern. I reassured myself that everything was going to be just fine, that I wasn’t nervous, that cancer was not a terrifying word. Unfortunately, my doctor had not sounded especially positive when he demanded that we set a surgery date in that moment, over the phone.

My husband was also up to the task. “We won’t work today. We’ll just take off, have some fun and drive back tonight.” We were two peas in a pod. We’d both try anything other than just saying, “Gee, I’m scared.”

I almost went along with that plan. Instead, I used the time on the open road to meditate. In that time, I realized—sort of knew at a cellular level —that I had to do more than donate blood to myself and that cancer doesn’t just happen.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe those of us who have it are being punished but I do believe that it follows those of us who haven’t taken care of our own needs. The way we relate to ourselves, more than the way we relate to the world, is a factor in our illness, or for that matter in our health. When I tried to excuse myself out of those thoughts, that was only another indication that I needed to look through the glass in my kaleidoscope one more time—at its fragmentation as well as its beauty—and to make sense of the patterns I saw there.

I began to read. At first I chose books that helped me deal with my fears. My favorite is Love, Medicine and Miracles, by Bernie Siegel, M.D. I also liked some of the practical skills offered by Louise Hayes in her books. I read books on how to deal with grief. Even though most of them explored grief that follows death, the understanding of it and the coming to terms with it are the same whether we are grieving for a lost parent or pet or career or health.

As I began my recovery, I utilized some hatha yoga I had done in my youth and continued with a vitamin regimen (with the permission of my doctor) that I started when I first found little chicken scratches in the skin around my eyes. I used vitamin E oil on my incisions.

“You’re healing so quickly,” my doctor said. “What are you doing?”

“Yoga and snake oil.”

He just shook his head.

The next step was healing my life. At first my family wasn’t crazy about the changes in me. Families are a bit like mobiles—little works of art that are delicately balanced. I read When I Say No I Feel Guilty by Manuel J. Smith, Ph.D., Mother Daughter Revolution by Elizabeth DeBold, Marie Wilson and Idelisse MalavĂ©, and The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

Therapy was also a good support system for me during the changes I was making in my life.

With another book, Deepak Chopra’s Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, I was ready for my epiphany. Actually I wasn’t all that taken with the entire book for it seemed he wasn’t saying much I hadn’t already learned, but I did keep reading to the part where he said that those who live until they are fifty in these times may very likely see their hundredth year. Honestly, it was like a sunrise, all pink and aqua, in my brain. To think that I might have another entire lifetime before me—plenty of time to do whatever I wanted, in spite of the fact that I had thrown a very important part of that away by ignoring my call to write, in spite of the fact that I had experienced cancer. I suddenly knew right down to my toes that women in their 50s—and that was me—might have even more time for their second life because they won’t have to spend the first twenty years preparing for adulthood.

That is where the real story of my recovery begins. I sat down and began to write the “Great Utah Novel" I had always wanted to write. Much of what I wrote about is my own story. If my novel were a tapestry, the warp would be real but the woof would be the stuff of imagination—real fiction. For me it was more therapy, but this time in my own ink, not someone else’s. I also know that novel and what I have written since is just the beginning. I know that. In my heart, in my head, in my bones.

I believe that cancer was a lesson. It taught me to live in the moment. It also taught me to be aware of those moments, not to resist them but to nurture what was in each one so I could learn from them, to do that without participating in the patterns of denial I had learned as a child. This process allows me to ignore what I choose to ignore and embrace what I choose to have in my life.

Cancer was the first step of a staircase. It led me to new levels of understanding about nutrition, career, spirituality. I have even written a poem about a beautiful black crow—the image of death—who sits on my shoulder and reminds me that each day is beautiful, each day is to be lived. For me, cancer was a gift. I intend to keep learning from its presence.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s novel, This Is The Place, was published by AmErica House

exactly ten years after she was diagnosed with cancer. The book explores intolerance and is still available used at . She is also the author of award-winninng chapbook of poetry and a book of creative nonfiction short stories (www.budurlcom/CarolynsAmazProfile ). Learn more at

Personal message from Dawn: Happy Birthday, Jennifer! You came into my life eight years ago today and I am grateful for every single day you are there! I love you more than words will every say, sweetheart.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Breast cancer risk factors

Women at high risk include those who:

• Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation

• Have a first-degree relative (mother, father, brother, sister, or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, and have not had genetic testing themselves

• Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of approximately 20%-25% or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history

• Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years

• Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have a firstdegree relative with one of these syndromes

Women at moderately increased risk include those who:

• Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of 15%-20%, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history

• Have a personal history of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), or atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH)

• Have extremely dense breasts or unevenly dense breasts when viewed by mammograms. Although the American Cancer Society no longer recommends that all women perform monthly breast selfexams (BSE), women should be informed about the potential benefits and limitations associated with BSE.

Research has shown that self awareness is more effective for detecting breast cancer than structured BSE. Women who detect their own breast cancer usually find it outside of a structured breast self-exam while bathing or getting dressed. A woman who wishes to perform periodic BSE should receive instruction from her health care provider and/or have her technique reviewed periodically.

Source: American Cancer Society

Thursday, October 01, 2009

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month! NBCAM was founded 25 years ago by a variety of health and medical organizations promoting the message of breast cancer awareness.

You can visit the site here:

And here is the Wiki page:

Here are some interesting facts about workplace successes thanks to Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

* All District of Columbia government employees received a breast cancer message on their pay stubs.

* In Mississippi, McDonald's restaurants printed tray liners with a mammography message and a toll-free information line.

* Information flyers were mailed out in Avon catalogs and to food stamp recipients in Montana.

*In Albuquerque, NM, the local ValPak coupon package was mailed to every house within a designated ZIP code, carrying an insert on breast cancer early detection, along with valuable coupons from local vendors.

* A Wal-Mart pharmacy in North Olmsted, OH, put information in each prescription bag during October. They also ran announcements on their PA system and made sure employees were informed, as well.

* Lands' End, located in southwest Wisconsin, employs 5,000-8,000 individuals, depending on the season. After realizing there were no adequate support groups in the southwest region of Wisconsin, one employee and breast cancer survivor started an entirely voluntary support group with 30 members called the Lands' End "Breast Friends."As soon as an employee is diagnosed with breast cancer,"Breast Friends" sends a mail or phone message encouraging them to participate. There are between 15-20 women each month who meet. The group also sponsors and particapates in breast cancer awareness activities annually.

* AstraZeneca began an in-house breast cancer screening program, beginning in 1989. Employee participation in the program, which also includes educational activities and clinical breast examinations, is more than 90 percent, exceeding national averages of about 30 percent. Some of the major "selling points" among employees are familiarity with medical staff, the ease of getting an appointment during the work day, and the feeling of being cared for by a staff committed to breast health.