Women in their 40s with no family history of breast cancer are just as likely to develop invasive breast cancer as women whose mother or sister has had the disease, according to a new study.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Women in their 40s with no family history of breast cancer are just as likely to develop invasive breast cancer as women whose mother or sister has had the disease, according to a new study.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 8:46 PM
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Posted by Richard Lawry at 8:07 PM
Monday, October 24, 2011
I am alive today because of research funded by organizations like the American Cancer Society and the federal government.
I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in June 2007. I had a year of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, all developed by really smart researchers funded through the efforts of men and women like you. The treatments worked, and I have *lived* for 4.5 years while my babies grew up and went to school. I am grateful, so grateful, for that.
But the cancer came back. Now, like 150,000 other women and men in America, I am living with metastatic disease. Metastatic breast cancer, as some of you know all too well, is when the cancer moves away from the breast and recurs in the lungs, the liver, and other vital organs.
Now, I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret: No one dies of breast cancer confined to their breast. Some of us die from treatment, but most of us die when the cancer has moved to our vital organs and shut them down. We die of metastatic disease. There are treatments we can try, but there is no cure.
When I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer this year, I was reassured that there were 20 chemotherapy drugs that we could try. We tried one. It worked, for a while. Then it stopped working. Three of the 20 drugs are in short supply right now, so I can’t have those. There are sixteen drugs left.
I will be on chemotherapy once a week, for the rest of my life. That is, until we’re out of drugs that work. That is why I believe we need more research. All of us with metastatic disease — and the 30% of women whose breast cancer will spread and become metastatic — will die without more research.
Oh, and — Research on metastatic disease is woefully underfunded, at just 3% of all breast cancer research.
Fight with me. As I fight for my life each day at radiation or each week at chemo, join me and the American Cancer Society as we fight for more birthdays.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 2:26 PM
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Support networks are important for anyone, but they are vitally important for those affected by cancer: survivors, family, and friends. Research links cancer support groups to improved emotional health and an enhanced quality of life.
Peer support is the main reason most people join cancer survivor networks, and that support comes through online and on-site programs. The cancer survivors themselves generally provide online content, and group members typically lead the community meetings.
Membership in most cancer survivor networks is free, although many groups welcome donations. Some groups are open to anyone affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly, while others are established especially for the benefit of survivors themselves. Whether someone is facing a treatable skin cancer or going through extremely difficult and painful mesothelioma treatments, joining a cancer survivor network can be invaluable.
The Benefits Of Community Support Groups
Most cancer survivors already have the support of their doctors, loved ones, neighbors, and colleagues. What they need most is the support of someone who has “been there.” On-site support groups allow cancer survivors to establish the special relationships necessary to cope with the disease.
Cancer survivors can find support in their healthcare communities, churches, civic centers, and even schools. Hospice centers provide support for end-of-life challenges.
Cancer support groups allow those affected by cancer to interact with each other. Group members share personal stories, exchange firsthand knowledge, and recommend resources. Most of all, they develop important connections that doctors and loved ones, though well meaning, simply cannot provide.
The Benefits Of Online Support Groups
Online networks are ideal resources for cancer support. They help cancer survivors find each other, and give them a sense of belonging. Online groups are a place to share feelings and frustrations honestly, openly, and even anonymously, if desired.
There are many great survivor networks on the Internet. Cancer Care and Cancer Survivors Network are two to consider. Some groups are open to people with all cancer types, from breast cancer to mesothelioma and other malignancies. Some networks are designed to support people with specific cancers. For example, “Reach to Recovery” supports breast cancer survivors and “Man to Man” offers prostate cancer support.
Joining an online support network offers many benefits. Cancer survivors can create a profile, access other member pages, and interact with each other. Blog comments, email, chat rooms, instant messaging, and discussion boards allow them to communicate freely. And online sources provide links to helpful resources, programs, and services, as well.
By: David Haas
Posted by Richard Lawry at 9:30 AM
Monday, September 26, 2011
Austrailian researchers examined the diets of 918 colorectal cancer patients and 1,021 people with no history of the disease and found that consumption of certain vegetables and fruits were associated with a decreased risk of cancer in the proximal and distal colon -- that is, the upper and lower portions of the colon.
Consumption of brassica vegetables (also known as cole crops) such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, turnips and cabbage, for example, appeared to reduce the risk of cancer in the upper colon, while both total fruit and vegetable intake (and total vegetable intake alone) reduced the risk of cancer in the lower colon.
They also found that eating more apples and dark, yellow vegetables was linked with a significantly reduced risk of lower colon cancer.
Yet higher levels of fruit juice consumption were associated with an increased risk for rectal cancer.
The study appears in the October issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
"Fruits and vegetables have been examined extensively in nutritional research in relation to CRC (colorectal cancer), however, their protective effect has been subject to debate, possibly because of different effects on different subsites of the large bowel," lead investigator Professor Lin Fritschi, head of the Epidemiology Group at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, said in a journal news release.
"It may be that some of the confusion about the relationship between diet and cancer risk is due to the fact that previous studies did not take site of the [colorectal cancer] into account. The replication of these findings in large prospective studies may help determine whether a higher intake of vegetables is a means for reducing the risk" of cancer in the lower colon, Fritschi concluded.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 2:13 PM
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Dr. Duhé says even when effective drugs are available, researchers try to create better drugs that aren't so difficult to take, or have fewer side effects. “Once a person survives cancer, we want their lives to be full and productive.”
Duhé is the Associate Director for Cancer Education for the UMMC Cancer Institute and a 2011 winner of the American Cancer Society St. George National Award for outstanding volunteers. He says the stories of the women in his family have made him more dedicated to cancer research.
Duhé’s mother, Dazie, died of breast cancer in the 1970s when she was just 55. He says her experience with breast cancer pre-dated a lot of drugs available now. But even with so many advances in breast cancer treatment, his sister, Gwen, died of the disease about 30 years later at age 54. Duhé’s mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor, which he credits to new drugs discovered through research. And as he says in his fundraising letter for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer: “My other sister has breasts, my wife has breasts, my daughter has breasts, and as a matter of fact, I have breasts too. I don’t want them, or you, or any of the other women and men that we love to go through the ordeal that Dazie and Gwen endured.”
Duhé says American Cancer Society events like Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Relay For Life are a fantastic way for researchers to meet the community of cancer survivors and volunteers. “Meeting the people who benefit from research is an incredible motivator for people like me.”
Duhé was himself a Relay For Life team captain for about 6 years, but as his research began taking up more of his time, he began joining other teams, like the UMMC Cancer Care Breast Services team led by Debbie Simpson (see her story in this issue). Simpson calls Duhé “optimistic, enthusiastic and encouraging.”
Duhé says it’s very important for scientists to come out of their labs and go into the community and understand what the real problems are. “Every cancer survivor has a unique story and it’s a way for us to learn from them.” He encourages cancer patients and survivors to participate in clinical research, to let Congress know cancer research should be a priority, and to tell their personal stories.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 1:49 PM
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
The good news is, whether you've just begun cancer treatment, have just finished, or are just looking for ways to improve your health, the basic principles for eating well are the same. Although you may need to adjust your diet to meet your specific needs, following the guidelines below can put you on the path to good nutrition.
Eat five or more servings of vegetables and fruits each day. These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and many other substances that work together to help your body get the nutrients it needs — and potentially lower your risk of certain kinds of cancers. An easy way to fit in five servings is to eat a fruit or veggie at every meal, and then choose fruit or vegetables as a healthy snack. By simply making this change, you'll be well on your way to five a day.
Choose whole grains over processed and refined grains and sugars. Because whole grain foods aren't processed as much as other foods, they often retain more nutrients and are higher in fiber, both good things when it comes to getting the best nutrition. Aim to get at least three servings of whole grains a day, and limit your intake of refined carbohydrates and starches, such as candy, cakes, cookies, pastries, sweetened cereals, and other high-sugar foods.
Limit your intake of processed meats and red meats. Red meats and processed meats like hot dogs can both be high in saturated fat, and they may contain other substances that could increase your risk for prostate and colon cancers. If you eat meat, go for lean cuts and smaller portions, and choose meats such as chicken and fish instead of beef, pork, and lamb.
You may have to go to different sources to get this information, but you should get it soon after treatment ends. Some doctors and hospitals are now helping patients create survivor care plans as they reach the end of cancer treatment. If you're working with your health care team, your plan may also include:
Contact information for support groups
Other support resources
Tips for living a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk of cancer recurrence or new cancers
A schedule for screening for recurrences or to look for new cancers
Information about your legal rights regarding employment and insurance
Following these guidelines is a good start, but every person is different, and your nutritional needs may change during and after treatment. If you want help determining how you can get the very best nutrition for you, talk with your doctor or a nutrition expert, such as a dietician. He or she can give you ideas for ways you can eat better, work with you to create a meal plan, and help address any side effects that might be impacting you.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 8:45 AM
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer
Some women are genetically predisposed to breast cancer, because they inherited one of two genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2. Having one of these two genes increases the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer in women. A woman with BRCA1 or BRCA2 has a lifetime risk for getting ovarian cancer as high as 40%. This is why women who have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, especially if the cancer occurred prior to menopause, should talk to their doctor about testing for these genes. If they test positive, some women may elect to remove their ovaries once they’ve finished childbearing.
Other Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
Genetics can certainly increase a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer, but other factors can too. Anything that increases the number of times a woman ovulates over a lifetime raises the risk of ovarian cancer. This is why using oral contraceptives, having multiple pregnancies and breastfeeding lowers ovarian cancer risk. Each month a woman breastfeeds after a pregnancy reduces the risk of ovarian cancer by as much as 2%.
As might be expected, women who don’t get pregnant or take birth control pills have a higher risk of ovarian cancer – and so do women with a history of endometriosis. Lifestyle factors play a role too. Women who use talc powder in their genital area are at greater risk, probably because the talc causes low-grade inflammation. There are other possible risk factors that are still unproven including vitamin D deficiency and eating a diet deficient in antioxidants like those found in fruits and vegetables.
Hormones also increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Women who use estrogen without progesterone after menopause for five or more years have a greater risk of ovarian cancer compared to women who don’t use hormonal therapy – and women who take fertility drugs for longer than a year, particularly those who don’t became pregnant while taking them are at higher risk according to some studies.
Reducing the Risk for Ovarian Cancer: What Can You Do?
Know your family history and talk to your doctor about BRCA gene testing if you have a family history of ovary and breast cancer. Breastfeed your children after pregnancy since this can reduce the risk of getting this deadly disease. Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables – and make sure your vitamin D level is adequate. Don’t use hormonal therapy after menopause unless the benefits clearly outweigh the risks, and avoid using powder containing talc. Most importantly, get regular gynecologic exams, especially after menopause. It could save your life.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 2:01 PM
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
According to his nominator, Steve Wiley: "Terry said, ‘If I only have a short while to live, I'm going to live it doing what I love.'"
And so he does.
Schwartz's efforts, primarily as a construction superintendent for Maranatha, produce positive changes for the people who benefit from the schools and churches that are built. But those efforts also produce positive changes in the volunteers that Schwartz takes on Maranatha trips.
The volunteer crew members sometimes include troubled youths who undergo a life-changing experience from seeing their work through Maranatha produce positive results for others.
"For me, it's more about changing the lives of the volunteers than it is leaving things better in the communities we work in," says Schwartz. "It's just something that's important to my wife Dina and I. If not for our family here in Lincoln, we'd probably stay over there."
It's not as though Schwartz, 57, needs more things to do. When he is in Lincoln, he works as vice president of the Racquet Club, which is owned by his father, Marlyn. The family also has a partnership in the Old Cheney Center and owns Old Cheney Plaza and other properties nearby, so Terry manages approximately 50 business tenants.
He owned and operated Schwartz Construction until nine years ago, when his father asked him to work with him.
"I told him I like doing mission trips, and I'd work for him if he didn't make me feel guilty for taking trips," Schwartz says. "He had no idea what he was agreeing to!"
Last year, Terry and Dina spent a month in India and five and one-half months in Africa. In the past five years, they have gone on five to six Maranatha mission trips every year.
"I've been gearing my life around it," Schwartz says.
Each year, some of those trips involve leading a group of 40 inner-city youths from large metropolitan areas. Most would be in jail if they weren't signed up for the trip as a community service project, Schwartz says.
"When we start the trip, these kids have unbelievable gang attitudes and carry knives, have bad vices and freely admit they will work harder to get out of work than work," he says. "But the trips are a life-changing experience for many of them."
A former prostitute turned her life around after going on a mission trip and is studying to be a physician, Schwartz says. A former gang member is now a corpsman in the U.S. Navy. Another young man was failing at a military academy and in trouble for drug-related crimes before volunteering to serve on a mission trip led by Schwartz.
"He came with us, and in two years he went to the top of his class at the academy," Schwartz says. "He said the trip was the turning point in his life. It's fun to be a part of that kind of life-changing experience for those kids."
Not all of the trips are with inner-city youth in trouble with the law. Earlier this year, Schwartz led a group of 30 "really good kids" from Nebraska and Kansas to Choluteca, Honduras.
"It was pretty cool that 30 Kansas and Nebraska kids built three buildings in five days," Schwartz says. The group was the third of eight from Maranatha scheduled to help construct a nine-building K-12 school complex.
Schwartz has been volunteering for mission trips through many organizations, including Maranatha, since 1969, when he joined his father on a mission to Mexico.
The prospects of continuing such mission trips seemed dim on May 22, 2009, when Schwartz was diagnosed with prostate cancer that had spread to bones.
"From there it goes to the liver and lungs," he says. "On the Gleason scale of one to nine, I was a nine. There is no 10. That means you're dead."
Dr. Misop Han, a urologist at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, excised the prostate in surgery but told Schwartz that even after surgery, statistics indicate he would still have less than a 1 percent chance of living longer than 90 days.
"He told me he had never excised a prostate as tumor-ridden as mine," Schwartz says. "It's amazing to me that I'm still here after having all this stuff. There's no doubt in my mind that prayer is the reason I'm still here. Not just my own prayers, but other people's too. God has given me some additional time."
Schwartz says that when he is on a mission trip, he feels productive enough that he can forget about his health issues.
"God has plans for every one of us," he says. "I feel that doing these trips is part of God's plan in my life. Even when I don't feel like going or I don't feel like we can afford to go, when Maranatha calls us, we're going to go. I really enjoy the change it makes in our lives as well as the lives of the people we help and the volunteers."
Maranatha volunteers have completed projects in Lincoln as well, Schwartz notes. The People's City Mission, nonprofit Christian Heritage and building renovations at Union College are examples.
After Hurricane Katrina, Schwartz joined a group that spent six weeks in Louisiana rebuilding a school.
"Maranatha has a lot of work in the U.S. for people who don't like to travel outside of the states," he says.
When he travels, Schwartz, an avid photographer, enjoys shooting photos and sharing them with the local residents.
"In Zambia, I gave over 800 people photos of themselves," he says. "Not one of them had ever had a photo taken before. Those people have absolutely no material possessions, but they're such happy people."
On such mission trips to Africa, Schwartz brings along fellow photography enthusiast Dick Dirkson, host of the Maranatha Mission Stories TV program on 3ABN Christian TV and the Hope Channel.
"We spend a week after the construction shooting photos on Safari," Schwartz says.
Schwartz's parents, Marlyn and Sharon, and brother, Bruce, often join Terry and Dina on mission trips as well.
Schwartz notes that Maranatha mission trips are open to everyone, and he has had volunteer helpers from under age 10 to over 90. No skills are necessary. "We train people and make sure they have fun so they'll keep coming back," he says.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 10:10 AM
Sunday, May 15, 2011
One person can make a difference. Nowhere is that more evident than with the story of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life, which began in Tacoma, Washington. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma surgeon, wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office and to show support for all of his patients who had battled cancer. He decided to personally raise money for the fight by doing something he enjoyed – running marathons.
In May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. He ran for more than 83 miles. That first year, nearly 300 of Dr. Klatt’s friends, family, and patients watched as he ran and walked the course. Throughout the night, friends donated $25 to run or walk with Dr. Klatt for 30 minutes. His efforts raised $27,000 to fight cancer.
While circling the track those 24 hours, Dr. Klatt thought about how others could take part in his mission to fight cancer. He envisioned a 24-hour team relay event that could raise more money to fight cancer. Over the next few months, he pulled together a small committee to plan the first team relay event, known as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.
In 1986, with the help of Pat Flynn – now known as the “Mother of Relay” – 19 teams took part in the first team Relay event on the track at the historic Stadium Bowl and raised $33,000. An indescribable spirit prevailed at the track and in the tents that dotted the infield.
Relay has developed into an overnight event where people bring tents and sleep out around the tracks. People of all ages come out to bring the community together to Celebrate those who have survived cancer, Remember those who cancer has taken from us and Fight Back by raising money to fight for a cure. Now, over 4 million people take part in Relay events in over 5,000 communities in the United States.
Just like Gordy Klatt, each person involved with the Polk County Relay For Life makes a difference in the fight against cancer. Since 2007 when the first Relay For Life event was held in Polk County well over a quarter of a million dollars has been raised to help fight cancer. You can make a difference by attending the Relay For Life event to be held May 20th at Janssen Park starting at 6:00 P.M.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 1:11 PM
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Cancer Doesn’t Sleep and Neither Will We
Sometimes people wonder why we Relay all night long and stay overnight.
The Relay For Life event symbolizes the journey of a cancer survivor.
RELAY FOR LIFE starts at dusk and ends the next morning. The light and darkness of the day and night parallel the physical effects, emotion, and mental state of a cancer patient while undergoing treatment.
Often times RELAY begins when the sun is setting, symbolizing the time a person has been diagnosed with cancer. Immediately there is a lot of support. People rally to lend a helping hand, much like the Opening Ceremony at Relay when everyone cheers that first lap for Survivors.
As Survivors start their cancer treatment, it’s hard and taxing, just like when the light of day fades into darkness. As midnight comes, teams continue to walk the track, but it gets harder as the walking continues into the 6th and 7th hour and the night gets colder.
This time represents when a cancer patient becomes exhausted, sick, maybe not wanting to go on, possibly wanting to give up. As a Relay participant, you have been walking and feel much the same way. You are tired, want to sleep, you may even want to go home, but YOU CANNOT STOP or give up.
Around 4:00 to 5:00am symbolizes the coming of the end of treatment for the cancer patient. Things are beginning to look brighter, just like the break of dawn. A sense of HOPE emerges. The morning light brings on a new day full of life and new beginnings.
For the walkers who are making laps around the track, when the sun begins to peak, there is a strong sense of HOPE that they too can make it through.
As we make the final lap…… as a cancer survivor gets the final clearance from their doctor, we celebrate and we cross the finish line together.
It wasn’t easy -- It took a team……. It took commitment……. It took Hope.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 9:09 PM
Monday, May 9, 2011
Has it ever occurred to you that there could be a connection between breast cancer and your diet? Some researchers say that there are two key things in preventing cancer- estrogen regulation and immunity boosting. Dr. Kristi Funk, MD, says that while a genetic change is the root of all breast cancer, breast cancer is fed and fueled by estrogen. Dr Funk believes that if we can decrease estrogen in our bodies, we can remove some of that fuel that makes cancer cells multiply and divide. How do you do that? Here are 7 things, directly from a blog that Dr. Funk wrote, that help suppress estrogen.
1. Three cups of green tea a day can help prevent breast cancer because of its high EGCG antioxidant content. Squeeze a little lemon into your cup and increase the antioxidant power of your tea.
2. Garlic is a good immunity booster that also has anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Olive oil and flaxseed oil contain monounsaturated fat, which can help suppress breast cancer.
4. Turmeric helps decrease estrogen. As little as one teaspoon a day has been shown to reduce tumor growth. Get your daily dose by mixing it into salad dressings, rice or vegetable dishes.
5. Cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, bok choy and Swiss chard bind estrogen in your GI tract and reduce tumor stimulation. They also detoxify the liver, which helps reduce the toxins flowing through your body that can irritate cells and turn them into early cancers.
6. Seaweed/Kelp are high in iodine, this is another estrogen reducer.
7. A daily supplement of Vitamin D (2000 IU) can prevent tumor metastasis, reduce cancer cells and aid estrogen inhibitors. Calcium-rich foods, such as sardines, salmon, milk and cheese are also highly recommended. Or, 15-20 minutes of sunshine every day can help you in getting your daily dose of Vitamin D.
With or without cancer, clearly it’s best to eat a diet that’s as healthy as possible loaded with lots of vegetables.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 6:40 PM
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Helping people stay well
Our telephone counseling service, the American Cancer Society Quitline®, doubles a person’s chances of quitting tobacco for good.
We develop guidelines for recommended cancer screenings and nutrition and physical activity, so people know what tests they need to find cancer early and how to help prevent the disease.
We provide tips, tools, and online resources to help people set goals and stay motivated to eat healthy and maintain an active lifestyle.
Helping people get well
Our phone lines are open every minute of every day and night to help connect people with the answers they need. Each year, we provide information, help, and support to the nearly one million individuals who call us at 1-800-227-2345. In addition, our Web site, cancer.org, offers access to the latest information and news on cancer and helps people locate programs and services in their area.
We offer an online support community for cancer survivors and caregivers to share stories and find support.
We assist cancer patients in need with getting transportation to and from their treatments and offer help with free lodging for cancer patients and their caregivers.
Through our clinical trials matching service, we connect patients with thousands of different treatment options.
With sites at hospitals and treatment centers across the country, our American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program provides one-on-one guidance to people facing cancer through every step of their journey.
We’ve had a hand in nearly every major cancer breakthrough of the last century, including confirming the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, establishing the link between obesity and multiple cancers, developing drugs to treat leukemia and advanced breast cancer, and showing that mammography is the most effective way to detect breast cancer.
We’re the largest private funder of cancer research in the United States.
We fund researchers with cutting-edge ideas, often early in their careers. Of the researchers chosen for Society funding, 44 have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, the highest honor in scientific achievement.
The majority of Americans are now covered by a smoke-free law, thanks in part to the efforts of the Society and our nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
We help mobilize communities to fight back against cancer with events such as Relay For Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer®
We have helped uninsured, underinsured, and low-income women get breast and cervical cancer screening tests and follow-up treatment since 1991 and, along with ACS CAN, we have successfully fought for legislation protecting this care.
By supporting Relay For Life, you help make the American Cancer Society’s mission possible, and that helps us all move closer to our ultimate goal: a world with less cancer and more birthdays.
For more information about programs and services of the American Cancer Society, please visit www.cancer.org or call 1.800.227.2345 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 9:43 AM
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Do's and Don'ts when helping a smoker quit.
Do respect that the quitter is in charge. This is their lifestyle change and their challenge, not yours.
Do ask the person whether he or she wants you to ask regularly how he or she is doing. Let the person know that it's OK to talk to you whenever he or she needs to hear encouraging words.
Do help the quitter get what she or he needs, such as hard candy to suck on, straws to chew on, and fresh veggies cut up and kept in the refrigerator.
Do spend time doing things with the quitter to keep his or her mind off smoking -- go to the movies, take a walk to get past a craving (what many call a "nicotine fit"), or take a bike ride together.
Do try to see it from the smoker's point of view -- a smoker's habit may feel like an old friend that has always been there when times were tough. It's hard to give that up.
Do make your home smoke free, meaning that no one can smoke in any part of the house. Remove lighters and ash trays from your home.
Do help the quitter with a few chores, some child care, cooking -- whatever will help lighten the stress of quitting.
Do celebrate along the way. Quitting smoking is a BIG DEAL!
Don't doubt the smoker's ability to quit. Your faith in them reminds them they can do it.
Don't judge, nag, preach, tease, or scold. This may make the smoker feel worse about him or herself. You don't want your loved one to turn to a cigarette to soothe hurt feelings.
Don't take the quitter's grumpiness personally during his or her nicotine withdrawal. The symptoms usually pass in about 2 weeks.
Don't offer advice. Just ask how you can help with the plan or program they are using.
If your ex-smoker "slips"
Don't assume that he or she will start back smoking like before. A "slip" (taking a puff or smoking a cigarette or two) is pretty common when a person is quitting.
Do remind the quitter how long he or she went without a cigarette before the slip.
Do help the quitter remember all the reasons he or she wanted to quit, and forget about the slip as soon as possible.
Don't scold, tease, nag, or make the quitter feel guilty. Be sure the quitter knows that you care about him or her whether or not he or she smokes.
If your quitter relapses
Research shows that most people try to quit smoking several times before they succeed. (It's called a relapse when smokers go back to smoking like they were before they tried to quit.) If a relapse happens, think of it as practice for the time he or she will succeed. Don't give up your efforts to encourage and support your loved one. If the person you care about fails to quit or starts smoking again:
Do praise him or her for trying to quit, and for whatever length of time (days, weeks, or months) of not smoking.
Do encourage him or her to try again. Don't say, "If you try again..." Say, "When you try again..." Studies show that most people who don't succeed in quitting are ready to try again in the near future.
Do encourage him or her to learn from the attempt. Things a person learns from a failed attempt to quit may help him or her quit for good next time. It takes time and skills to learn to be a non-smoker.
Do say, "It's normal to not succeed the first few times you try to quit. Most people understand this, and know that they have to try to quit again. You didn't smoke for (length of time) this time. Now you know you can do that much. You can get even further next time."
Posted by Richard Lawry at 1:56 PM
Thursday, March 17, 2011
If you're going through breast cancer treatment, exercise may be one of the last things on your mind, but studies show that staying active during treatment can help ward off some common side effects of treatment, such as fatigue. Working out regularly also has profound benefits in quality-of-life post-treatment. A collaboration between the American Cancer Society in New England and Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, is looking at just how much of a difference exercise can make.
Called Moving Forward Together 2, the study pairs American Cancer Society Reach To Recovery volunteers with current breast cancer patients in a 12-week telephone-based counseling program that promotes exercise. Reach To Recovery volunteers are breast cancer survivors who are specially-trained to provide emotional support and guidance to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. This program adds exercise motivation to the equation.
The study has two arms: one group will be offered educational information about the benefits of exercise in addition to traditional Reach To Recovery services; the other will engage in moderate-intensity physical activity as well. Survivors reach out to patients by phone.
Reach To Recovery volunteer, Sally Scanlon, is among the women taking part. Scanlon, a 10-year stage II breast cancer survivor, says she saw a "huge benefit" from upping her physical activity after her own diagnosis. She's seen other women find similar benefits through exercise.
"The woman I was counseling was going through some difficult family situations on top of going through treatment. While she was waiting for her mother at the nursing home, she would get on the treadmill. You could just see what a stress release exercising had become for her," Scanlon says.
Participating in the program has also helped Scanlon keep her own exercise program on track.
"I thought, 'She's exercising, and she's going through chemo!'", Scanlon says.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 9:54 AM
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Dorothea Amey of Moorpark leads an active life. Married and having raised two sons, she was a public school teacher and later an educator with the Seventh-day Adventist Church and a missionary in Zimbabwe and Zambia. In retirement, she is still active with the Camarillo Adventist church and works in “the Pantry,” the church’s outreach arm to those who need food and household items when times are tough.
Amey also was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She’s an eight-year survivor.
“I was working at Pacific Union College in Napa Valley and one day I became jaundiced and kind of itchy,” said Amey, now 66. “I went to the hospital and they thought it was hepatitis,” she said. Further tests revealed the cancer.
“We knew that most people don’t survive more than six months,” Amey said. “But I believe that good medicine and my faith in the Lord, has sustained me,” she said. “I’m a happy person and truly I don’t think about cancer every day. I garden and I do my own housework. I live my life.”
Amey underwent a complex and life-altering surgery called a “Whipple” and went through chemotherapy. The Whipple procedure is the most common surgery for pancreatic cancer and involves removal of the head of the pancreas, a portion of the bile duct, the gallbladder, and the duodenum.
Amey’s life is filled with opportunities to serve and she says that’s what drives her. “I’ve been all over the world and I’ve seen so many things,” she said. “That has given me a lot of peace.”
As of three years ago, her doctor has found no cancer in Amey’s body. “Dr. (William) Isacoff at UCLA is a leader in this field, in pancreatic cancer. He gives people hope when many don’t have it,” said Amey.
In January, Isacoff told Amey she no longer needed chemotherapy, though she’ll continue to have blood tests and scans because pancreatic cancer is always in the blood stream. It can show up at any time.
“Chemo is no walk in the park,” said Amey’s husband, Gene. “It wears her down, but she does OK.”
Amey also talks to patients at UCLA’s hospital and takes phone calls from around the nation from cancer patients, offering words of encouragement. “I’m certainly focused on my faith walk, but I don’t push that on people. They’re so fearful, they just need someone to relate to and I do that,” Amey said.
It is her work with the pantry that Amey loves most.
“I consider myself a cheerleader for the group,” Amey said. “We have between 300 and 400 people that are fed each week. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” she said. “With the economy as it is, it’s been very busy, but we have our successes, too.”
Amey teared up as she described one woman who was living in her car and came to the pantry.
“She came in one day to tell us she didn’t need us anymore, that she had an apartment and a job and she left some money with us as a donation,” said Amey. “It was incredible.”
“When (Amey) comes in, she does whatever needs to be done,” said Milly Johnson, director of the pantry. “As a missionary, she learned to dig in and do the hard work. It’s in her personality. It’s part of her makeup.”
“She’s been on an amazing journey,” said Pastor Dennis Stirewalt of Camarillo Seventh-day Adventist Church. “She’s a fighter and a lady of real grace.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 2:15 PM
Friday, February 18, 2011
The American Cancer Society is proud to hold more than 5,100 Relay For Life events in the United States and in 19 countries around the world. Sharon Cohrs of Australia is just one inspirational survivor that’s part of the International Relay For Life movement.
Sharon and her husband are avid mountain climbers, and in 2007 they were preparing to climb Aconcagua, a 22,841 foot tall peak in South America, the highest mountain outside of Asia, when Sharon found a pea-sized lump in her left breast. After a biopsy and days of waiting, she learned she had breast cancer. “Instead of embarking on an amazing adventure with my husband doing what we love, I was undergoing surgery and chemotherapy treatment,” she says.
Sharon had climbed several soaring mountains in the past 4 years, but this time she was scaling a different kind of mountain. Taking “one step at a time,” she remained focused, positive, and determined to beat breast cancer.
Now she is “Climbing for a Cause” in an effort to raise $250,000 for cancer research and to bring awareness to the disease. With a goal of being the first breast cancer survivor in the world to reach the summit of Mount Everest, Sharon climbed Ama Dablam in Nepal in October 2009 and is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Cho Oyu in Nepal this year. When Sharon reaches the peak of each mountain, she showcases her Relay For Life pride by putting on her Relay shirt and taking a photo with her homemade banner saying, “Survivors can conquer mountains.”
Sharon’s story is an incredible message of hope. Will you share yours as well to motivate survivors worldwide to keep up the fight? Use this form to submit your message of hope and encouragement to cancer survivors across the globe, then encourage friends and family to do the same. Help us gather 1,000 messages of hope by the end of February! The more messages we have, the stronger our collective voice will be.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 11:10 AM
Sunday, February 13, 2011
One of the most frequently asked questions of those who are fund raising for Relay For Life is, "Where does my money go". Here is some information that will help you answer this very important question. These are just a few examples of how the contributions you raise make a difference in the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving mission.
Helping people stay well
* Our telephone counseling service, the American Cancer Society Quitline®, doubles a person’s chances of quitting tobacco for good.
* We develop guidelines for recommended cancer screenings and nutrition and physical activity, so people know what tests they need to find cancer early and how to help prevent the disease.
* We provide tips, tools, and online resources to help people set goals and stay motivated to eat healthy and maintain an active lifestyle.
Helping people get well
* Our phone lines are open every minute of every day and night to help connect people with the answers they need. Each year, we provide information, help, and support to the nearly one million individuals who call us at 1-800-227-2345. In addition, our Web site, cancer.org, offers access to the latest information and news on cancer and helps people locate programs and services in their area.
* We offer an online support community for cancer survivors and caregivers to share stories and find support.
* We assist cancer patients in need with getting transportation to and from their treatments and offer help with free lodging for cancer patients and their caregivers.
* Through our clinical trials matching service, we connect patients with thousands of different treatment options.
* With sites at hospitals and treatment centers across the country, our American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program provides one-on-one guidance to people facing cancer through every step of their journey.
* We’ve had a hand in nearly every major cancer breakthrough of the last century, including confirming the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, establishing the link between obesity and multiple cancers, developing drugs to treat leukemia and advanced breast cancer, and showing that mammography is the most effective way to detect breast cancer.
* We’re the largest private funder of cancer research in the United States.
* We fund researchers with cutting-edge ideas, often early in their careers. Of the researchers chosen for Society funding, 44 have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, the highest honor in scientific achievement.
* The majority of Americans are now covered by a smoke-free law, thanks in part to the efforts of the Society and our nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
* We help mobilize communities to fight back against cancer with events such as Relay For Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer®
* We have helped uninsured, underinsured, and low-income women get breast and cervical cancer screening tests and follow-up treatment since 1991 and, along with ACS CAN, we have successfully fought for legislation protecting this care.
* By supporting Relay For Life, you help make the American Cancer Society’s mission possible, and that helps us all move closer to our ultimate goal: a world with less cancer and more birthdays.
For more information about programs and services of the American Cancer Society, please visit www.cancer.org or call 1.800.227.2345 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 8:25 PM
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Miraculous cancer cure!" shouts the headline. "My cancer is completely gone!" says a woman in the testimonial. "One pill can guarantee better health!" claims the email. A quick and easy cure for cancer is the heartfelt wish of people facing the disease and of doctors and researchers who are working to treat it. Too often, though, ads and offers that promote "miracle" cures do not deliver as promised. In fact, some treatments can actually be harmful to a person's health. So how can you tell if a particular treatment is the next big thing or a potential hoax?
The first thing to consider is whether the treatment falls into the category of complementary medicine or alternative medicine. Complementary medicine is a form of treatment used along with mainstream medical care. For example, some people find that activities such as aromatherapy, massage, meditation, or yoga are useful in controlling symptoms. These methods do not treat the cancer, but if they are chosen carefully and used properly, they can help improve your quality of life. Alternative medicine is just the opposite: a treatment used instead of standard or mainstream medical treatment. Alternative medical treatments, although they may seem promising, often have not been scientifically tested or proven to work. Patients who choose these treatments may sometimes give up or delay the use of proven treatments, and that can give cancer more time to grow and pose a dangerous health risk.
The next thing to think about is if the treatment follows some of the common characteristics you might find in a questionable or fraudulent treatment claim. For example, is the treatment or drug a secret, or is it or only offered by one person or clinic? Once a treatment is found to be helpful, it will often be used by other qualified professionals, not just one doctor. Does the article or information offer personal stories of amazing results, but no actual scientific evidence? Again, without research and testing, it's hard to know if a treatment truly works. Does the treatment promise a cure for all cancers or other serious illnesses, such as AIDS, chronic fatigue, or multiple sclerosis? These illnesses are complicated, and claims promising a single cure for all are almost certain to be false.
Last but not least, do your own research. If you're considering alternative or complementary treatments, learn about new treatments from respected sources you can trust, and work to uncover the potential benefits and risks. Then, talk to your health care professionals about any treatment you are considering. The decision to use an alternative or complementary treatment should not be taken lightly, and being well-armed against false claims could not only save you time and money, but it could also save your life.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 12:39 PM
Sunday, January 2, 2011
A new study reconfirms something often forgotten by women and sometimes even by doctors: just because breast cancer has not struck a family before does not mean family members are safe from the disease.
Researchers tracking more than 6,000 women for up to six years found that most cases of breast cancer occurred in those without a family history of the disease, although many of the women had other known risk factors that can help predict an individual woman's likelihood of developing the disease.
Breast cancer accounts for about a quarter of all cancers in women, with nearly 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer -- disease that has spread beyond the milk ducts or milk-making glands -- diagnosed in the U.S. every year.
"I have newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients ask me all the time how they could have developed the disease since they did not have a family history," researcher Dr. Lawrence Wickerham of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) Allegheny Center, in Pittsburgh, told Reuters Health in an e-mail.
Prior studies have shown that more than 70 percent of primary care doctors ask women about their family histories, while less than half collect information on other known risk factors such as whether a woman's period began before age 12 - which raises risk - or whether she has given birth, which lowers risk.
Wickerham, along with lead researcher Angelina Sontag, of Eli Lilly and Company, and their colleagues analyzed the roles of various risk factors among 6,322 postmenopausal women who had participated in two large trials of osteoporosis medications. (Eli Lilly and Company, a maker of breast cancer treatments, also funded the current study.)
At the time of each trial, all of the women were under 86 years old and none had received a previous diagnosis of breast cancer.
The team used the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (http://www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool), an online questionnaire developed by NSABP and the National Cancer Institute, to go back in time and predict the odds that the women would develop invasive disease over the next five years.
The risk calculator incorporates age of first menstruation, current age, ethnicity, reproductive history, prior breast biopsies and family history. Its score, on a scale of zero to eight, represents a woman's five-year risk as a percentage.
Some 600 women in the study group -- approximately one in ten -- had a family history of breast cancer and nearly all of these met the predictive tool's definition of high risk: a score of 1.66 percent or above.
More than half of the remaining women without family histories of breast cancer also fit into the high-risk category, however.
A total of 92 women, or 1.5 percent of the study population, went on to develop invasive breast cancer over an average follow-up period of 4 to 6 years. As expected, the actual rate of breast cancers increased with the predicted risks, as well as in the presence of a family history.
Nevertheless, more of the total number of breast cancer cases ended up being reported in women with predictions below the high-risk cut-off or without a family history.
Close to half (40) of the women who developed the disease received a risk score below 1.66 percent, for example, and nearly two of every three (60) diagnosed women had been assigned risks between 1 and 2 percent and had no family history of breast cancer.
"The single largest risk factor for developing a breast cancer is being a woman and the second largest is being a women over 50," said Wickerham. "However, there are some women who are at greater than average risk, particularly those with a family history."
The most common known risk factors found in the study population were being at least 65 years old and beginning menstruation before the age of 12, report the researchers in the journal Menopause.
"Physicians and other health care providers should consider using methods beyond asking about family history to access breast cancer risk," added Wickerham, alluding to the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool. "Such efforts can help better identify women at increased risk and can better focus screening and prevention strategies for them."
Posted by Richard Lawry at 7:19 AM