“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

Margin Probe: A Surgeon’s Aid In Breast Cancer Surgery

posted by:

Whether a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, surgery is a common treatment offered to women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Prior to the surgery, doctors use a sonommamogram, mammogram and other diagnostic tests to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor. However, surgeons still cannot see all the tissue affected by the disease as some may not be visible to the naked eye. Tumors, especially those that are caught early and therefore are smaller in size, may not be detected even with modern equipment. This makes breast surgery not 100% effective in preventing metastasis or reoccurrence.


The arrival of a new device that can tell surgeons if all the cancerous cells have been removed during the surgery sparked excitement both for doctors and survivors. The technology, developed by Dune Medical Devices, is called Margin Probe. It uses a sterile probe that emits small amounts of radiofrequency signals into the tissues and reflects the signal back into a console for analysis. The console then compares the readings to a number of tissue specimens encoded into the program and immediately relays the result – either positive or negative – to the surgeon.


In addition, Margin Probe penetrates six tissue surfaces and tells the team exactly whether or not there are positive margins are so that a decision can be made whether or not additional tissue removal is warranted.


Margin Probe has been used in a study involving 664 patients and was found three times more effective in detecting tissue involvement compared to any other diagnostic techniques.

Margin probe can certainly mean peace of mind for both the doctors and the patient. Imagine being able to sleep at night knowing that every trace of cancer has been removed from the breast! Amazing!


The Lowdown on Triple Negative Breast Cancer

posted by:

Triple negative breast cancer has earned a bad reputation amongst advocates and survivors. Let’s take a closer look at why it is considered the deadliest form of breast cancer today:

Triple negative breast cancer means that the cancer cells do not contain receptors to estrogen, progesterone and the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).


These three substances are what commonly causes breast cancer and are the target for most chemotherapeutic drugs. For example, if a patient tested positive for estrogen receptors, she will be given drugs designed to bind to those specific receptors. This will enable the drug to enter the cells and destroy them. Triple negative cancer cells do not contain any receptors that can respond to common chemotherapy drugs used today. This is what makes triple negative cancers harder to treat.

triple neg_thumb

Triple negative cancers commonly occur in women in their late twenties and early twenties as well as those with African American descent. About fifteen percent of breast cancers diagnosed turns out to be triple negative.


Management of the disease will depend on the stage it was discovered. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation is at the forefront of the fight against TNBC. They give away this helpful Guide To Understanding Triple Negative Breast Cancer for free on their website for women or family members who wants to know more about the disease. Unlike other brochures that focus on risk reduction and treatment, the TNBC brochure also tackles common emotions experienced during the journey shared by survivors of the disease.


Even with a triple negative diagnosis, there is still a big chance that the cancer will be beat with treatment. Early detection is still the best way to beat breast cancer. Get tested today!


New Gene, New Hope: A Breast Cancer Breakthrough for the New Year

posted by:

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer – Researchers from Cambridge University and The Wellcome Trusts’s Sanger Institute announced that they have discovered new a gene that’s active in 8 out 10 patients with triple negative breast cancer.

59efefede40715df97b9590584c6de82Triple negative is considered the most aggressive type of breast cancer today as it does not respond to conventional hormonal treatments given to other types of breast cancers. Women in their late 20s and early 30s are more likely to get this type of disease.  Only 77% of patients with triple negative are expected to live beyond 5 years as compared to the 90% survivorship of other types of breast cancer.

The study also revealed BCL11 has a lot to do with the aggressiveness of the cells, making them more prone to resisting treatment and metastasizing. Further research also has to be done to find out if they also play a role in causing breast cancer.


 The discovery of the BCL11 gene brings new light into the management of triple negative patients. Now that we know it exists, medication and therapies can now be tailored according to its unique molecular structure. Breast cancer advocates have high hopes about the possibilities that this discovery will bring but are realistic about the fact that it can take a few more years before a solid medical and therapeutic regimen can be put in place.


Even then, any discovery that may lead to the successful treatment of breast cancer is good news. For more information on triple negative breast cancer, head on to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.


What Goes Around Comes Around: How A Rescued Pup Saved Her Owner’s Life

posted by:

When Josie Conlan adopted Ted from an abusive home, she thought she was saving a life. A few months later, it turns out there were two lives to be saved.


Ted was abused as a puppy which explains his reserved behavior unusually observed in pups of his breed and age. It was uncharacteristic of him to show any signs affection at all. This is why Josie suspected something was wrong when he started to paw and nuzzle at Josie’s chest repeatedly. One day, Josie followed her instinct and palpated the area Ted frequently touched. After a few minutes, she was surprised found a lump.

“I have had Ted for about a year and he was quite a timid dog when I first got him but we soon became very close. He had been badly abused and the bond we formed was incredibly close. I feel as though it is fate that we found each other. I saved him, then he saved me. He is not normally very affectionate, and would never normally paw me in such a way. That is why I knew something was wrong.”


Josie quickly sought the help of her doctors and undergone tests which later revealed that she had stage 3 Breast Cancer.  The good news is that the cancer was found just in the nick of time- it hasn’t spread to her lymph nodes just yet. The doctors also told her that the cancer was growing quicker than normal and if not for her prompt response would have claimed her life in the next few months.


Josie accredited Ted for not giving up on her until she found her lump.  She is now undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy and she and Ted are closer than ever.

What did you guys think of this story?


Christmas, Weddings, Breast Cancer and A Choice For a Brighter Life

posted by:

Jackie Sully never thought Duncan, her boyfriend of 13 years, would ever ask for her hand in marriage. When he popped the question last Christmas, Jackie was over the moon. However, in the midst of planning the event and editing the guest list, Jackie got word that she had breast cancer. She first felt the lump on Christmas Eve, but since she was only 32 years old and had no family history of the disease, Jackie didn’t think much of it. Jackie underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy quickly after being diagnosed. She even froze her eggs just in case the treatments affect her fertility. She quickly switched from blushing bride to survivor in a span of three weeks.



Jackie says that the cancer made her realize three important things: first, she couldn’t have made it without her family and friends. Second, it is important for all women to get tested – whether or not they are in the high risk category. Last but not the least, cancer made her reflect on how she lived her life. During her treatment Jackie created a ‘Brighter Life List’ where she jotted down and did the things she’s always wanted to do but kept putting off such as baking and joining races.  She also made pink felt hearts that she gave to the people who supported her during this ordeal along with a personal message of thanks.


As of September 2014, Jackie is cancer free and has resumed planning her dream wedding.

This Christmas, let us all reflect on the blessings and trials we underwent this past year and continue to spread love, cheer and forgiveness to the people around us. Merry Christmas!

Pictures grabbed from the Daily Mail Online

A Touch Of Glamour For Breast Cancer Awareness This Holiday Season

posted by:

It was an eye opening experience for designer Iris Dankner when she was diagnosed with breast cancer 18 years ago during her first ever mammogram appointment. She realized how lucky she was to have had the means and the opportunity to catch the cancer in its early stages. Iris realized that every woman deserved an opportunity to save their own lives by gaining access to mammograms and other awareness programs as well.


This is why in 2008, Iris decided to combine her love for design and her passion for breast cancer awareness by creating the Holiday House. She invited a number of her designer friends to sponsor and design a room at the historic Academy Mansion situated in New York’s swanky Upper East Side for the holidays.



The event kicked off mid-November with an elegant gala which was followed by a number of Art lectures by noted members of New York’s Interior Design Circle.

If you are looking for something different to do this Christmas, why don’t you invite your girlfriends over to the Holiday House? Before you hit the clubs, have fun looking and taking pictures at all the exquisitely designed rooms inside the glamorous mansion all while putting your hard earned money to work. Admission is at $35 a person and 100% of proceeds will be forwarded to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. They are located at 2 East 63rd Street. The mansion is open to the general public until December 18th, 11am through 5 pm. Please drop by!


The Legacy of Breast Cancer

posted by:

Some of you might remember that I lost my mom to breast cancer 9 years ago. Back then, there was no test available to determine if aside from her good looks, I had also inherited the cancer genes.


Today’s technology now allows survivor’s daughters and family members to test themselves for the breast cancer gene. After her two bouts with the disease, survivor Betsey Sauer had her 4 daughters tested for the gene and 3 out of 4 tested positive. This means that her daughters are at a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. While these results may not be the most ideal, it does give Betsey’s daughters the information they need to make decisions about their breast health today.


And that’s just what they did.

Two of Betsey’s daughters chose to undergo preventive double mastectomies and oophorectomies (removal of the ovaries). Jenny and Kristin did not want to have their own families experience the suffering they did after watching their mother battle cancer twice.  Their younger sister Megan wasn’t as lucky. She was diagnosed with cancer before she had a chance to undergo the operation. At 27 years old, Megan was thankful that she knew about her cancer genes. It was because of this knowledge that underwent regular breast check-ups and her cancer was caught early.


Daughters of survivors are at a special risk of developing breast cancer. Genetic screening is a painless way to know what your odds are, and it may very well give you the power to do everything you can to protect yourself from it.


Taylor Swift’s Got Nothing on This Survivor

posted by:


Are you familiar with Taylor Swift’s catchy tune “Shake It Off”? Get the refrain in your mind and swap the lyrics with:

It’s not just boobies

Balls need checking too, yeah

So get your hands on to them

If it’s caught early it’s gonna be alright

‘Cause we all like to say say say say say

That it’s never going to happen to me me me

But it does to one in three three three three three

So check yourself, check yourself

This catchy rendition of one of Taylor’s biggest hits was the brainchild of mom of two and breast cancer survivor Heather Walters. In an interview with the North Devon Journal, Heather explained the reason why she decided to use the hit song as a means to spread awareness “I’ve said from the start that this is not about scaring people – it’s just about making people aware and encouraging people of all ages to check themselves.


The 34-year old knew firsthand the importance of performing regular breast examinations and how difficult it is to stay on track during treatment. Heather says the song really helped her when she was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer. If it had helped her through the hard times, she thought it would help other women as well.


She asked some of her family and friends to help her make a video she can post online. Little did she know that over 50 people would volunteer to be a part of the gig! The video was choreographed by her daughter’s dance instructor and the song was arranged by a local band. Heather further commented that despite the bad cards life dealt her, the love and support of her whole community gave her a reason to hope again.


A Light At The End of The Tunnel: A Promising New Vaccine Buys More Time For Survivors

posted by:

We always think we have enough time -time to pursue our dreams, time to spend with our loved ones and time to accomplish our work. The thing is, we may be giving ourselves false hope – not everybody is given the chance to live the life they want. This is especially true for the men and women diagnosed with cancer. Once you’ve been told you have it, time becomes a luxury. Suddenly, you realize that you may have very little time left to live the life you want.


Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis may have found a way to give survivors more time with their loved ones. Although still in its early developmental stages, the team is developing a vaccine that would slow down the progression of breast cancer. The vaccine targets a protein that can be found exclusively in breast tissue called Mammoglobin-A. It works by activating the body’s white blood cells to start attacking cells that contain Mammoglobin-A. Because this protein is almost exclusively found in breast tissue, this vaccine is said to have little to no effect on other body cells which reduces side effects.


The study involved 14 patients with metastatic breast cancer. The results revealed that half of the participants showed no disease progression a year after the vaccine was given. It was also showed that the vaccine works even with the weak immune system brought about by conventional cancer therapy.

1795-hypodermic-needle-pink-vaccine-liquid (1)

Although the results of this trial are promising, skeptics are saying that the population tested is too small to call the results definitive. We’d just like to point out that there was a time when children all over the world were crippled by polio. But thanks to the tireless efforts to put an end to it, Polio breakouts are now reduced to a few small communities. We believe, as these researchers do, that there is still hope to find a vaccine that would finally put an end to breast cancer.


Survivor Dies From Adrenal Surgery Blunder

posted by:

It is not uncommon for cancer to metastasize outside the beasts.

This was the case for 35 year old Nicole Haynes. In 2011, Nicole underwent a lumpectomy to remove a tumor found on one of her breasts. The following year, another mass was found, this time on an adrenal gland. Her doctors suspected that the mass was not an isolated case of cancer and may be indicative of metastasis. As a precaution, Nicole underwent a keyhole surgery to remove the mass.


A keyhole surgery is a minimally invasive procedure carried out through small incisions and uses high tech imaging cameras such as fiber optics to visualize the area. This type of surgery has become a routine for many survivors because it is minimally invasive, there is very little risk involved and patients are expected to recover faster.



However, things did not go as planned for Nicole’s surgery. She began showing signs of deterioration hours after the procedure was concluded. In order to find out what was causing Nicole’s symptoms, her doctors ordered a CT Scan. Since the hospital’s scanner was broken, she had to be brought to the Conquest Hospital in St. Leonard’s.  The CT Scan revealed that the blood vessels supplying her liver and her gut have been cut off.  She underwent additional surgery in King’s College Hospital in London but died a few weeks later.

Investigation revealed that the wrong vessels were clipped during her surgery. Instead of cutting off the vessels of the adrenal glands, the surgeon mistakenly clipped the vessels supplying her gut and liver. Without proper blood supply, the tissues in her gut and liver starved and began to die.

Both parties are still awaiting the court’s decision on this matter.