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“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” –Bill Cosby
Breast Cancer Ribbon

Buying Time: New Drug Seeks To Delay The Spread of Breast Cancer

posted by:
ErikaM

Those affected with breast cancer always wish that they’d be given more time – time to live their dreams, to be with their loved ones or to settle their affairs. What if we told you that there is a drug available in the market that promise to do just that: delay the spread of breast cancer.

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Although still in its early stages, Pfizer’s palbociclib is showing great promise for women with estrogen receptor positive, HER-2 negative breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Did you know that at least 60% of women fall under these categories? Before the discovery of this pill, these women had very bleak outcomes even with chemo and radiation therapy. Now, they have a reason to hope for a future.

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Research has found that the 165 women in the study who took the pill in conjunction with another drug, Femara, all displayed slowed tumor growth when compared to taking Femara  alone (which is today’s standard treatment). The combination has stopped the tumors from growing or spreading for a median of 20 months compared to today’s 10-11 month with Femara stand- alone therapies.

Cancer needs a protein called CDK to prosper and by targeting them specifically, palbociclib stunts their growth. Palbociclib has also been granted a “breakthrough” status by the Food and Drug Administration – a feat in itself for drugs that call under this category. For years, researchers have been wrestling with side effects that usually come with this type of drugs and palbociclib is the first to exhibit ‘manageable’ side effects like a low white blood cell count and fatigue which are commonly observed in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

While it is still early to be conclusive, researchers are excited for what this drug holds in the future for breast cancer patients. Its ability to slow down cancer growth can be used in conjunction with another drug or therapy that can kill the cancerous cells.

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Cancer patients and their families are often shocked on how fast the cancer is able to spread and how even the harshest therapies don’t seem to do anything about it.  Palbociclib literally buys time for the cancer-killing medication to work its magic without being overwhelmed by the invading cells.

We’re hoping for the best long term outcomes for these first 165 women in the trial. Palbociclib certainly has the potential to help all 400,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer every year.

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Can Your Mobile Phone Cause Breast Cancer?

posted by:
ErikaM

A recent study done by leading breast surgeon Dr. Lisa Bailey in 2013  has found that breast cancer in women under the age of 40 may be caused by prolonged exposure to ‘non-ionizing radiation of electromagnetic field exposures’ exuded by cellular phones. They’ve studied the cases of 4 women who have no family history, tested negative for genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 and have no other known predispositions to developing breast cancer.

There were 2 striking similarities found in the group: (1) they regularly carried their mobile phones directly over their breasts for more than 10 hours a day over several years and (2) the tumors were found directly under the area where the mobile phones were usually kept. In addition, the tumors found also share similar characteristics and morphology.

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Dr. Mehmet Oz of the Dr. Oz Show also believes that there is a direct link between breast cancer and radiation from mobile devices. In fact, he even invited one of Dr. Lisa Bailey’s co-authors Dr. John West to talk more about this issue in an episode aired last December 6, 2013. They warned women about the dangers of carelessly exposing their breasts to radiation and why they should put a stop to this practice right away.

Although this research has yet to be proven in a broader scale you’ve got to admit that the theory is quite scary, especially if you think about how much time we all spend hooked to an electronic device – computers, mobile phones, tablets, music players, gaming devices – every day. When I first read this article, I was stunned… I was accustomed to keeping my phone inside my breast pocket for long periods of time every day. If you think about it though, there are many ways you can prevent this from happening to you and your loved ones. Simple things like storing your phone in your nightstand instead of your bed while you sleep or keeping it inside your bag during the day can make a big difference.

If you don’t want to take any chances, there is a company called RF Safe who manufactures pouches made from a material that is able to deflect radiation away from the body. They also have plenty of resource materials if you want to learn more about this issue.

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Our final say: You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting yourself from breast cancer. Refrain from keeping your gadgets close to any part of your body unless absolutely necessary.

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The Side Out Foundation: Digging Deep for Breast Cancer

posted by:
ErikaM

In 2004, Rick Dunetz finally realized his dream of becoming a volleyball coach. However, he didn’t get to enjoy the moment for long as his mother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer soon after his appointment as the Springfield High School Volleyball team’s newest coach. Faced with a struggling team and family, Rick suddenly found himself telling his girls about his dilemma and as a team, they rallied behind their coach and found inspiration in his mother’s fight against the disease.

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 What happened next was nothing short of a miracle – a never before achieved district championship! The team credited their successful season to Mrs. Dunetz’s inspiring fight against breast cancer and in turn, Gloria was fueled by the team’s enthusiasm and energy to win for her. It was indeed a win-win scenario for everybody.

During this ordeal, Rick realized how much his mother and his team were impacted by each other. He wanted to give other women with breast cancer the advantage of having great team behind their back and so he created the Side Out Foundation.

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A Side Out in Volleyball happens when the serving team does not score and the serve goes to the opposing team. This is exactly what the foundation wants to do with breast cancer patients – to give them an advantage over the Big C by empowering breakthrough research, providing patient services and spreading awareness across the country with Volleyball.

The Dig Pink Tour is just one of the many ways to help through Side Out. Teams can sign up and participate by simply wearing pink during a game, hosting a fundraising tournament or by simply donating to Side Out.  This year, the tour will run from February 15 to April 6 starting from Washington, DC and concluding in Atlanta,GA. It will also make stops in Denver, CO and Indianapolis, IN.  If you are anywhere near these places and if you enjoy a good game of volleyball, please don’t hesitate to drop by!

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Don’t worry; you don’t have to be part of a team to do your part. You can start by ordering the official Dig Pink Tour Shirt today or by writing words of encouragement to a patient in the Oncology ward through their Hospital Cards Project.

The Side Out foundation made us realize one very important thing – Beating Breast Cancer is a team effort. It is never just one woman’s struggle; her family, friends and community are in the fight as well. We join them in

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When The Game Gets Personal

posted by:
ErikaM

It’s sad to think of a world where everybody knows someone who is affected by cancer. And yet, here we are. You cannot walk past two people without one saying that they know of somebody who has suffered because of cancer. The big C remains one of the leading causes of illness and death in the world and the numbers are only getting higher.

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These increasing numbers mean that more families are being affected by the disease. Cancer is a personal subject for many of us – especially for those whose loved ones have not been so fortunate to survive.  Anyone who has observed this will know one fact – that no one on this planet deserves cancer.

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This is the reason why those who have been touched by it are determined to put it to an end… like the players from Fresno State University Women’s Basketball Team.

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The Bulldog’s guard Robin Draper (pictured) knows how extremely lucky she is because her mom has become a survivor. Mrs. Draper was diagnosed when Robin was merely a little girl, but she clearly remembers how her whole family was affected by the diagnosis.

Robin’s team mate Bree was 5 years old when her mother was diagnosed. She recalls how her mom seemed like a super hero to her because despite being subjected to chemotherapy and radiation, Mrs. Farley was still able to care for their family. “I don’t know how she did it.” Robin recalled. “She was phenomenal.”

Both girls are extremely humbled and grateful that their mothers were given another chance at life. This is why they, together with their entire team headed by coach Raegan Pebley were ecstatic at the chance to save mothers and daughters everywhere by hosting a Breast Cancer Awareness game last February 12, 2014 against the Nevada State Wolf Pack. Both teams wanted to get the message out loud and clear: Don’t keep putting your health screenings off – get tested today! You owe it to yourself and your loved ones!

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Ms. Pebley explained by the game is personal to the entire team:  ”There’s so many of our players and on our coaching staff … people who they love dearly … with breast cancer. You can gain so much inspiration. That’s true fight. That’s true toughness.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Breast cancer survivors and their families are indeed an inspiration. Proceeds from the game and auction were given to the Susan G. Komen and Play4Kay Foundations.

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One for All, All for One: A Community of Coaches Plays Against Breast Cancer

posted by:
ErikaM

 When a community comes together behind a cause, anything is possible.

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The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association or WBCA did just that when they rallied behind fellow coach Kay Yow when she established her namesake foundation after being diagnosed with the disease in 1987. There was very little known about Breast Cancer back then and Kay knew that in order for a cure to be found, research projects must be funded. She wanted women from all over the country to have access to diagnostic equipment, treatment and resources that will help them win the battle against breast cancer.

Her fellow coaches and their respective teams didn’t hesitate in lending their support to Kay’s cause. To this day, the Play for Kay Foundation has raised over $3.8 Million for the cause and are not showing any signs of stopping any time soon.  They have enlisted the help of The V Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board to ensure that all donations will be given only to promising break though research.

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There are many ways to help through the Kay Yow Foundation. You can donate, attend an activity or even host your own event in your community just like what the Dickinson College Red devils did last February 8, 2014. The men and women’s basketball team played against their counterparts from Ursinus College in the name of raising money for breast cancer. Fans of both teams were in for an afternoon of fun with raffles and games. Breast cancer survivors from the community were also honored after the game.

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Not a fan of Basketball? That’s okay! The Kay Yow website has a very useful page where event hosts from all over the country share how they raised money for the foundation. Here are some of the more creative ones:

Pink Flock Fun

We had members of our Booster Club purchase the stealthy services of our student-athletes to surprise loved ones.  In the middle of the night, the team would place a flock of plastic pink flamingos in a recipient’s front yard with a card saying who they are from. To remove the pink flamingos from the yard, the homeowner donated to our booster club’s fund raising effort on behalf of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.  The homeowner designated the “pink flock’s” next destination. –Sue, Softball Team Mom

Chocolate Festival

NC State hosts an annual Chocolate Festival to benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.  The Festival is held at the student center and vendors from local bakeries bring samples of their sweet, chocolate treats.  Tickets are sold for $10/person to the public and each ticket provides the guest with 6 samples.  Attendees pick their 6 samples from the variety of options and store them in a pink box.

We love how these two examples prove that we can all make a difference by coming together as a community doing something that we love and dedicating it to others.

Can you think of other creative ways to raise funds and awareness?

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Batter Up! Ponte Vedra High School’s Pink Out Game for Breast Cancer

posted by:
ErikaM

Florida State Champions Ponte Vedra Sharks hosted their annual “Pink Out” game last March 4th at the PVHS Baseball Field in Ponte Vedra, Florida. It was an exciting game between The Sharks and the Episcopal High School Baseball team all in the name of helping breast cancer survivors.

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This annual effort draw to crowds and raise awareness and funds for helping women with breast cancer was the initiative of (then) Episcopal assistant coach Tom Stanton. His wife Kim was diagnosed with Breast Cancer 5 years ago and the coach still feels the horror the diagnosis brought to his young family. Tom thought it was death sentence because one of his player’s mom’s died shortly after being diagnosed. He realized that his lack of knowledge about breast cancer was a big factor in him unable to face his fears head on.  Shortly after, Tom dedicated himself to raising awareness and funds for breast cancer with the one thing he knows best – Baseball.

Now the Head Baseball Coach for the Sharks, Tom and the Sharks are going on their 5th Pink Out Game.

Proceeds will go to one of Florida’s beloved cancer charities, In the Pink. In the Pink helps cancer survivors with their every day needs while battling the disease.

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For example, they offer free head shavings at their around the state. Among all the side effects of cancer treatment, many cancer patients dread hair loss the most. Often done at home and in tears, head shaving can also lead to awkward conversations and glances of pity from strangers. In the Pink offers cancer patients alternatives by:

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  • Inviting your family and friends to your very own head shaving and wig fitting party
  • Having a professional hair stylist on stand by
  • Offering a wide selection of Raquel Welch and Eva Gabor wigs, PLUS having a volunteer to help you pick a wig.
  • Available fun and stylish hats and scarves

In the Pink is also a one stop shop for breast prosthetic fittings, post mastectomy undergarments (including hard-to-find swimwear) and skin care products especially made for radiation and chemotherapy patients. It’s literally a one stop shop for survivors where they can’t only find the things they need when battling the disease, but also a caring community that wants to help them.

If you are in need or you know someone who can benefit from these services, you can go ahead and visit their website or give them a call!

 

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Breast Cancer and Your Job: Tips on How To Manage Both While In Treatment

posted by:
ErikaM

Work is a way to express ourselves, to hone and use the skills that we learned in school and an opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life, including our own. Being told “You have cancer” is enough to send anybody’s world into chaos. In fact, every aspect in your life will be affected by this diagnosis including your professional life. Survivors often find themselves at an impasse when they’re diagnosed; should they continue working while receiving treatment or should they stop working to focus on their health?

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Working while in treatment can have positive effects for Cancer patients. For one, work provides something to look forward to everyday. It also keeps the mind active and creative, which can help survivors take their minds off their illness even for a few hours. Instead of sitting at home waiting for the next radiotherapy session, work gives survivors a sense of purpose – something that most cancer patients seem to lose after being diagnosed.

If you do decide to continue working, carefully organize your medical and work schedules. Make a To-Do list at the start of the week.

 Some companies have a policy requiring employees to disclose all illnesses, especially those that might endanger your co-workers or interfere with your ability to do your job. You are obligated to tell your immediate supervisors because treatment may affect your productivity level. You might also consider sitting down with your Human Resources Department representative or health card liaison to get an idea about your company’s healthcare coverage.

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If you’re uncomfortable telling your co-workers, you don’t have to; although some Survivors prefer to reach out for some support. We recommend talking to them in a comfortable, private setting. Assure them that you would still be doing your job, albeit for some adjustments that has to be made because of your treatment (extra hours/days off from work for therapy sessions, etc.). You can discuss the physical changes you will be going through (hair/weight loss, nausea and vomiting etc.) as well so that they would know what to expect from you.

Last, be honest with yourself about how you feel. There will be good days and bad days. If you feel extremely weak, do not attempt to go to work. Just give your boss and your co-workers a heads up. Keep a stock of medications in your drawer for when you feel nauseous at work.

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It is quite possible to keep working while in treatment. If you do go ahead with it remember to prepare yourself, your co-workers and your healthcare provider ahead of time.

Images: 123RF; IllustrationSource; Superhero Den
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Reduce, Reuse and Recycle for Breast Cancer

posted by:
ErikaM

We’ve featured numerous stories of everyday people conducting events to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. From spa days to mini-marathons, advocates all over the globe are doing their best to help those who are affected by the disease. Most stories involve asking sponsors to donate giveaways, gift cards and other goodies to sell during the event.  It can get a little repetitive at times… that’s why we’re excited to tell you about how the Against Breast Cancer foundation found new,  creative and environmentally friendly ways to raise money for research:

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 The Bin Your Bra Program

Every woman has a stack of ill-fitting, barely-used brassieres. You can’t bring yourself to toss them, so naturally they’re sitting at the back of your closet for your great grandchildren to find in 20 years. It’s time to put them into good use and support the Bin Your Bra Program. This program is done in partnership with BCR Global Textile who sponsors several small businesses in Africa that specialize in re-selling pre-loved items. Don’t worry though… They ensure that all bras shipped to Africa are in good condition for selling!

BCR Global Textiles has pledged to donate £1,000 to ABC for every ton of bras collected.

Printer Cartridges and Mobile Phones

Do you use plenty of ink at home or at work? Are you keen on changing mobile phones frequently and are stuck with several units you will never use?

Put them into good use by giving them to ABC! Give them a call or email them and they would arrange for the free transport of your empty cartridges/mobile phones. Yes, you read that right! Their partner CES Europe (an electronic waste company) will pay for everything! This is indeed a great idea for large offices, businesses and communities to come together, reduce their carbon foot print and raise funds for breast cancer.

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Clothing

The Against Breast Cancer foundation has teamed up with the Recycling Clothes Company to help you get rid of your unwanted clothing the correct way. Instead of ending up in a landfill, the RCC will give your clothes a second chance at life by selling and distributing them to people who cannot afford to buy their own clothes. They only want one thing from you – make sure that the clothes are still in good condition! Fill the bags and leave it at your doorstep. RCC will come by after 4 days of delivering the donation bags.  For every ton of clothing collected, RCC will donate  £75 to ABC.

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Participating in any of these programs helps threefold – by getting rid of your clutter, by making sure these items get another chance at life and not end up at a landfill and by donating to breast cancer research. Honestly, you can’t go wrong!

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A Splash of Pink: Your Step by Step Guide in Throwing a Breast Cancer Soiree

posted by:
ErikaM

You’ve walked, talked, hiked and bought baked goodies to help your favorite charity raise money for breast cancer research. Every October, you make it a point to wear pink at least once a week to show your support. Suddenly, you find yourself wanting to do even more for the cause by involving your family, friends and community. Congratulations! You’ve unlocked the next stage – it’s now time to throw your own event for breast cancer!

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If you’ve never thrown a party before, we understand that what we’re asking you to do may be daunting. However, organizations like Against Breast Cancer are here to support you every step of the way. They’re with you from Planning to Advertising, armed with event planning wisdom that can only come from years of experience.

Against Breast Cancer was founded by husband and wife Dr. Anthony and Patricia Leathem. Anthony and Patricia worked closely with those affected by the disease – as a Pathologist and a Breast Cancer Theater Nurse respectively – which made them first hand witnesses to the suffering of women with Breast Cancer. The couple took the matter into their own hands, selling sweet peas accompanied by breast cancer information leaflets at their home. Their community and the media soon got wind of their efforts and joined the fundraising bandwagon. In 1993 Against Breast Cancer was established. Their end game is to discover a vaccine to prevent breast cancer! The idea may seem far fetched now, but hey, a couple of years ago, nobody would’ve guessed that it was possible to detect a breast cancer gene!

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Against Breast Cancer knows the importance of getting the community involved. Operating entirely on the generosity of donors and selfless volunteers, ABC wants to do everything they can to raise money to keep the fight going. They’ve created ‘Splash of Pink’ – a jack-of-all-trades theme for events in the name of breast cancer. Whether you are planning to throw a bake sale or a spa day, Against Breast Cancer will provide you with the tools you need to pull of your very first fundraising event. From posters to information sheets, you can be sure that your guest will be provided with accurate information about breast cancer prevention, detection, treatment and recovery.

Simply fill out the form found at their website and wait for their representative to get in touch with you. All they ask of you in return is that you send all unused/used materials back after your event. It’s that simple.

There is help available to those who ask for it – and your plea will certainly not go unanswered by the folks at the Against Breast Cancer foundation. Schedule your event today!

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Anybody Can Make A Difference – Make Strides Against Breast Cancer

posted by:
ErikaM

Who says one person can’t make a difference?

Margery Rath was beyond thankful that she had survived breast cancer. She saw the need for an organized group that would raise money for research, support survivors and their families and educate women on how to protect themselves from cancer. With a small group of survivors and volunteers, Ms. Rath conceptualized the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer movement in 1984. Marge lost her own fight with Breast Cancer in 2001, but before her death, she had helped raise $460 million to aid the American Cancer Society.

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Making Strides enables anyone to ‘walk’ towards finding a cure for cancer. As individuals, we often find ourselves powerless against something as big and powerful as cancer. Margery Rath proved that if we come together as a community, we can make a difference one step at a time.

Making Strides hosts over 300 events every year in different parts of the country in an attempt to make the opportunity to help available to anybody who wants to help. Visit their website and find the long list of jobs/opportunities you can do!

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You can make it a team effort and join the Stride with your church group, family or maybe even your entire company. Some companies even support the gift matching program where they match whatever amount their employees raise to double the donation.

Volunteer your time and talent to the cause! From making sure the event starts on time to giving away race kits, it takes a lot of man power to run a successful event.  If you’re willing and able, they can put you to work.

Sign up and be an advocate with one of the American Cancer Society’s programs in your community. The American Cancer Society works with hundreds of support groups nationwide to provide much needed aide to cancer survivors and their families.

Encourage women in your neighborhoods to schedule mammograms at least once a year with the help of Mammogram Reminder (It’s free!).

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As you can see, Making Strides isn’t just about walking 5 miles; it’s about doing what you can to help even if you don’t cross the finish line. This reflects the reality that you don’t have to donate a ton of money to make a difference. Aside from financial aids, survivors need emotional, mental, physical and social support to be able to beat the big C. Making Strides is a great resource to look for ways to help out. Just like Ms. Rath, we all can make a difference in lives of survivors and their families.

Make your own strides today!

Images: Mix106.3;Derby Direction
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