New Mammogram Slogan “Woman Up” – Thoughts?

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It’s officially breast cancer awareness month now.  You see the pink ribbons and pink colors everywhere, and while it’s a really nice way to remember and recognize women who have struggled with this still too-pervasive disease, it does have its critics.

Some think that the “pinkwashing” phenomenon encourages women to only seek the current toxic treatment options that are out there rather than actually preaching nutrition and lifestyle changes to help address the cancer.  There are of course other criticisms, too numerous to list here, but I’ll leave that up to the reader to read about on their own.

One thing that’s a bit troubling to me personally is that I’ve been seeing these billboards and hearing commercials on the radio with the new slogan to “Woman Up” and get a mammogram. The commercials go something like, yeah it may be a pain and it may be uncomfortable, but we are women hear us roar, or something to that general extent. But what if, like me, you’re really not sure that mammograms aren’t actually contributing to the exacerbation and proliferation of breast cancer cells?

Since mammograms expose the breast tissue to radiation, some critics do think that they may be encouraging breast cancer, and that they may also be causing women to get treatment for cancer that don’t really need it yet because the cancer cells are so slow growing.  Now, if you’ve already got a tumor that’s one thing, however some think that mammograms turn on the panic button when there are not enough cancer cells yet to be of any concern.

I know that sounds like it’s a bit unscientific, but if you read about it, some experts will even say that there are some very slow growing cancers that may not cause problems for years, and they may even go away on their own according to yet some other experts.

So what is right? How are we to know who to believe?  It’s really hard to make a judgment about whether mammograms are right for you without doing a lot of self-education.

You have to go with what your instinct tells you is right.  It can take a lot of soul searching and also a lot of simply relying on your own intuition, but it’s a bit bothersome that the medical community is preaching mammograms as the end-all be-all when it comes to early detection and breast cancer prevention.  It’s also a little off putting that they are making it sound like you’re being irresponsible in your own self-care if you choose not to get a mammogram periodically.

I suppose I would just much rather see them promote self-exams (manual, by the hands) than promote something that is completely safe and can be done any time, several times a year, in one’s own home, which also happens to not expose the delicate breast tissue to radiation.

Especially when emerging studies are putting their benefit into serious question.  What is the answer? I don’t know, and don’t presume to be able to tell anyone else, only that they must really do their own research and come to their own conclusions about their beliefs in what is the best way for them to prevent breast cancer.



Bee and Snake Venom Costituents May Treat Breast Cancer

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It’s interesting how certain aspects of something that is otherwise deadly or at the very least toxic to the human body in one form, can potentially hold the secret to the cure for one of the most feared and often talked about diseases that plague the human race today : cancer.

I’m talking about the toxic venom of bees and snakes, which most people are allergic to in varying degrees. In very allergic individualy, a bite by one of these animals can cause severe allergic reactions up to and including death. Many people are so allergic they have to carry around a portable injection pen in case they are stung by a bee, or a certain type of stinging insect.

Breast cancer is one of the big cancers that was mentioned in a couple of writes ups recently about a promising new technology involving bee and snake venom that may help to slow down or stop the growth of certain types of cancer cells, including breast cancer cells.

Since these venoms aren’t selectively toxic in the body in their “whole form”, they needed to identify and then figure out how to isolate certain compounds within the venom that was identified as being excellent at slowing the growth of cancer cells.  If you were to simply inject someone with the whole venom without isolting these beneficial compounds out, you would have side effects, just as people do today with chemotherapy.

Of course the whole idea is to target only the cancer cells, and treatments that still make you sick and result in a wide array of unpleasant and life-altering side effects is not the desired outcome. This is why the venom discovery is so exciting.

They’re looking at a way to camouflage the compounds and prevent the harmful parts of the venom from coming out and attaching the body’s defenses, and the results are looking pretty good.  They’re seeing where the isolated compound is able to target and stop the growth of fast growing cancer cells so far.

They are also working at better ways to synthesize the compounds so that they don’t need to use the real thing found in the venom, and this would also ensure that the other consituents of the venoms that are toxic would not be present.  The whole trick of looking a alternative ways to treat cancer is to find ways that are not toxic to other functions of the human body.

If someone can find a way to selectively treat and target only cancer cells, I believe we’d have something that could blow chemotherapy out of the water as the western medicine choice for treating most cancers. God willing!

Do Double Mastectomies Really Benefit the Patient as a Virtually Fool Proof Breast Cancer Prevention Tool?

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The increasing trend of preventive double mastectomies, further fueled by the high profile actress and admired activist Angelina Jolie, has really sparked a lot of debate about whether this seeming “slash and burn” strategy or preventing breast cancer that has not occurred yet is truly beneficial.

The high financial cost

In addition to the obvious financial loss of missing work for recovery time and the high cost of the surgery itself, one must consider the after effects as well.  They will probably either opt for reconstructive surgery to have surgeons reconstruct breasts for them, or they will need to wear special bras indefinitely.  Surgery is out of control these days with how high the costs are.

The Operating Room costs, the anesthesia, the hospital stay and all the other hidden fees and costs have propelled most surgeries to astronomical proportions that no normal person could pay outright.

Even if insurance covers it, you’re still stuck with a lot of out of pocket bills after this surgery.  It can really be financially draining. And to make matter worse, sometimes you still may also have to go through other treatments like radiation or chemotherapy which are of course also costly.

A study that was recently published showed that the survival rates and prevention rates for women who have had this procedure don’t seem to justify the numbers of the surgeries being performed today to remove both breasts almost in their entirety.

The benefit versus the cost (financial and emotional) don’t seem to have the big bang payoff you’d think they would in other words. While there is a small increase in the prevention and in the survival, it really doesn’t seem to warrant the frequency of these types of radical procedures.

Emotional consequences

There are no doubt numerous emotional repercussions for women who go through a double mastectomy. Essentially, you are eradicating an entire part of your body that you have identified with as part of yourself and part of your femininity for your entire life.  It can be really devastating emotionally, especially for women who are not able to have reconstructive surgery.

There’s no number you can put on this, it’s not something you can ever get back, and that’s really a big deal if it’s not going to pay off in the huge way that some people think it does in the end as far as prevention of breast cancer or prolonging of life if someone already has cancer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against double mastectomies.  I think it’s a very personal choice and we can only do what we feel is best when faced with potentially devastating news about the state of our breast health.

However, it is alarming the rate at which these surgeries are increasing, and it does make one wonder why more holistic measures aren’t being promoted instead of us just going in and removing all the tissue.  It’s kind of a throwing the baby out with the bathwater approach that needs much more studying to prove how much worth it has compared with how much value it actually adds to our breast health.

Make a Breast-Healthy All-Fruit Smoothie!

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fruitDarkly red and blue colored and brightly orange and yellow colored fruits are an excellent anti-breast cancer weapon and you should include them in your diet every single day, just like you should strive to include many vegetables that are vibrantly colored.

One of the best things about fruits is that you consume them totally raw, so unlike veggies which most people tend to like best cooked, you don’t cook the nutrients out of them and kill beneficial enzymes that are incredibly bioactive in the body. You also don’t kill the multiple anti-cancer antioxidants that are contained within the fruit.

Benefits of putting your fruits in a smoothie

The most obvious benefit of smoothies is that they are a convenient way to get in a TON of your daily allowance of fruits (and veggies too, you can put those in as well!).  You’re literally drinking your vitamins and fiber. It also happens to taste like a delightful dessert if you make it with the right ingredients.

The antioxidants that are found in so many of the fruits I use in my smoothies are extremely effective at fighting breast cancer. Vitamin C is a potent cancer fighting antioxidant, and it is one of the most plentiful found in most fruits.

Blasting your body with vitamin C every day helps keep your immunity high, and therefore helps keep not only sickness at bay, but also helps keep your body cancer free since your immune system is key in fighting off cancerous cell development.

The pigments that give dark fruits their color are also highly antioxidant.  That’s why the rule of thumb that the more richly colored a fruit or vegetable, the higher their overall cancer fighting antioxidant value.

All fruit – tastes refreshing

I used to make smoothies with yogurt, however I’ve found that making them with all fruit and juice and nixing the dairy and protein are just as satisfying – for me at least. They are literally thick with fiber, and so abundant in vitamins that they really sustain the body for a fairly long time.

Here is what a typical all-fruit smoothie looks like for me:

Orange juice or a naked juice with mango (this lends a great sweetness to the smoothie and still keeps it true to all fruit)

Water (you need this to water it down so it’s not so thick it won’t pour)

Frozen fruits – I typically like strawberries, blueberries, cherries, mangos, bananas, peaches and raspberries. They’re best frozen because it gives your smoothie the frozen aspect that makes it almost like eating sorbet – it’s fun!  I like to buy fruits that I see on special fresh, cut them up and freeze them, so you can use any fruit that happens to be on sale, cut it up and freeze it for later. Much more economical than buying the fruits frozen and prepared already.

Blend it all up together, and you’ve got yourself a satifying, delicious, breast cancer fighting start to your day!


Did Kate Hudson Get Breast Implants?

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It’s been a while, but I figured we’d talk about something that had quite a bit of internet “chatter” a few years ago about the talented actress and daughter of Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson.  Kate, as you may or may not know, founded the cute sports clothing line called Fabletics that I have to admit I’m tempted to try even though I usually work out in loose, dowdy clothes.

I see these ads allover, and there’s not one piece of it that I wouldn’t think would look great on most women.  That aside, some people think that Kate had breast implants when she started to appear in pictures with breasts that looked larger than her previous small A cup breasts.

She’s always had a really athletic, lean look to her, much like her mother Goldie always has and she looked GREAT for it.  And hey, if she wanted to add a few inches to her top line, then who can really say anything about it?

She didn’t go overboard. In fact, the change was barely perceptible if it weren’t for her body being so lithe and her breasts being noticeably in line with what you’d think someone with little body fat would have, you’d probably not notice it at all.

She’s to be congratulated on that, because a lot of people, particularly those in the public eye, tend to go way overboard when it comes to getting large sized breast implants. Not only were her implants tasteful, but you’d barely be able to tell if she had just naturally gotten bigger after having another baby or not.

The only reason that she might have really gotten implants and not naturally expanded her breasts with weight gain or child birth I think is that she suddenly showed up in pictures where it would be obvious that she had implants, with something there.

It is definitely noticeable when you look at pictures of Kate in a bikini top before the implants vs. Kate in a bikini top after the implants.  And good for her!  They look terrific and she deserves to feel great about a body she clearly works hard to get.  Sometimes nature just doesn’t grace you where you really want to be graced, and it’s ok to just get a little improvement. As long as you don’t become obsessed with perfection, who said a little confidence boost isn’t justified?