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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

Warning: These are NOT Your Usual Pink Giveaways

posted by:
ErikaM

Are you sick and tired of giving away the usual items at your yearly breast cancer event? You know what? We are too! In an effort to attract more participants and raise more money and awareness, we must come up with really cool giveaways.

Like you, we here at Breast Cancer Gear are already planning our own little shindig this October so we’re also on the lookout for the perfect event giveaways. We’ve listed down out Top 5 picks and we hope that you would help us pick the winner! Here are the contenders:

Custom Breast Cancer Themed Tote Bags

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These are really cute! You can choose from three different color combinations –black/white, pink/white and black/pink.

Pink Wayferers

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If you want your both voted most popular at your event, we suggest these stylish wayferers. You can put your company’s name or the name of your chosen charity on the rims or on the lenses. We love the hot pink!

Foldable water bottle

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Make it easier for participants to rehydrate with this foldable water container. It is highly customizable and even comes with a carabiner for easy transport. Great for outdoor activities.

Breast Cancer Awareness Tumbler

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Reusable tumblers are quite popular nowadays and pairing it with the ‘Keep Calm’ adage will ensure that the campaign will go on until the participants put the tumblers in good use.

The Pink Awareness Bag

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Drawstring bags can be used for sports, travel or for storing items in your car. This bag is not only cute, it’s a great way to promote your business or your cause as well. You can put in some really creative lines such as “Get Your Mammo Now”  or “Think Pink”.

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Making Fundraising Fun: Creative Ideas For Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns at Schools

posted by:
ErikaM

Thousands of children around the world are affected by breast cancer. Although not directly, their sisters, mothers, aunts, teachers and role models are being diagnosed every day. This is why it is very important to educate children about the importance of working together towards a cause. If you are a school teacher, a concerned parent or just a passionate volunteer, the folks from The Breast Cancer Campaign have a lot of great fund raising ideas for a school setting. Our favorites include:

Breast Cancer Awareness Week

With the school’s approval, you can get students and the faculty to dress up in their pink best for a day or wear something pink for a week in October.

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You can also sell raffle tickets to students, parents or teachers and get local businesses to join in the fun by donating small prizes to the winners.

Walk/Bike to School Week

Instead of taking the bus or their cars, encourage students and faculty to ride their bikes or walk to school for a week. This activity also promotes a healthy lifestyle which is key in preventing breast cancer. Participants can wear pink gear or hold up signs to support early detection methods as well.

Local businesses can pitch in by donating arm sleeves or pink head bands such as these:

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The Breakfast Club

Participants can donate baked goods and coffee to sell on school grounds to raise money for your chosen breast cancer charity. Cupcakes, coffee and an opportunity to help tohers? We’re sold!

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Mammogram Sign Up booth

Team up with your local hospital or mobile mammogram unit and set up a booth at school where students can nominate anybody to get a mammogram.

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The Pink Agenda Gives Us A Reason To Party for Breast Cancer

posted by:
ErikaM

Breast cancer has always been a touchy subject for many, especially those whose lives have been affected by it. While we agree that the fight these amazing women go through are nothing but courageous, the means we use to help them need not be as somber. In fact, a non-profit organization is committed to making breast cancer awareness campaigns fun and innovative – a cause we here at Breast Cancer Gear fully support.

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The Pink Agenda was started in 2007 by three women who wanted to merge their love for parties with their passion for raising breast cancer awareness. Although the Pink Agenda started as a simple foundation aimed at young professionals, they have formed alliances with charities such as The Breast Cancer Research Foundation to take their programs to the next level. Since their founding in 2007, the Pink Agenda and their partners have raised over $1 in the name of breast cancer research and support.

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They want to influence young women like themselves to take up the arms and fight against breast cancer by participating in fabulous events throughout the year. This coming October, the Pink Agenda will be hosting three events:

The Annual Gala

When: October 2, 2014

Where: IAC Building, New York City

Toast to a Cure

When: October 16, 2014

Where: Atlanta, Mason Murer Fine Art

The TCS New York City Marathon

When:November 2, 2014

Where: New York City

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We fully support The Pink Agenda’s belief that the key to raising more money for breast cancer support and research is to make fundraising more enjoyable for participants. So if you are still looking for an agenda to show your support and an excuse to party, sign up for any of The Pink Agenda’s events this October! Learn more by visiting their website here.

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Teen Who Dyes Hair Pink For Cancer Survivor Mom Gets Booted Out of Track Meet

posted by:
ErikaM

Mike Barker, a Junior at Iron County High School in Iron River, Michigan dyed his Mohawk pink to show support for his mother who has battled and won against breast cancer three times. When he showed up for track practice the next day, his coach and principal told him that he could not participate in the upcoming track meet because he did not meet the school’s grooming and appearance policy.

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Mike and his mom Wendy were shocked by the school’s decision not to let him compete, especially since he has been sporting the Mohawk weeks before the track meet. It was only when he dyed it pink that his school told him he needed to sport a more conservative hair cut before being allowed to compete again.   When asked about the event, the school’s principal Mike Berutti stated that the school’s athletic program recognizes the individuality of their athletes as long as it coincided with their athletic code.

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Mother and son decided to stood their ground and refused to get rid of mike’s pink ‘do. The teen has even garnered some supporters who showed up at the track meet sporting similar pink Mohawks. The jury’s still out on whether Mike can play on the team or not.

Do you think Mike should be allowed to express his support for his mom with his pink Mohawk? Or should he have found another way to show it that falls within the school’s policy like these girls from Central New York High School who wore pink socks instead?

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Beating Cancer is a Team Effort: Volleyball Team Digs Deep Against Breast Cancer

posted by:
ErikaM

Breast cancer still remains on top of the most common cancer list with an estimated 230,000 women diagnosed every year. As breast cancer rates continue to rise worldwide, it has become apparent that the key to stopping it dead in its tracks is to work like a team.

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This is precisely what Northside High School volleyball coach Lindsay Johnson had in mind when she encouraged her own team to work as a one against breast cancer. Every year, they play a match dedicated to raising funds to help the nearby West Georgia Cancer Center. They sold pink ribbons for $1 and wore pink accessories during the game.

However, when she came across the Paint the Town Pink Flash Night Run event, Lindsay decided that the team can do more for the people in their community. She didn’t have to ask twice- the girls were quite eager to do their part to raise awareness for breast cancer.

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Besides, this event isn’t like any awareness runs you’ve been to before. As the organizers put it -”Flash night run is the brightest, coolest running event you have ever seen. Along the route, music will pump and lights will dance creating a whimsical experience that will keep you energized and moving to the beat.” All this while raising money to help women with breast cancer? We’re sold!

It is apparent that the Northside ladies had a blast during the event. We here at BCFG fully support fun and innovative ways to raise awareness – it is a great way to involve the younger generation in the fight against breast cancer!

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Learn more about how you can organize your own Flash Night Run for this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month here

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A Bike Ride and T-Shirts Means Free Mammograms For San Antionio Residents

posted by:
ErikaM

When athletes from the Incarnate Word High School in San Antonio, Texas saw that the less fortunate women in their community were not getting access to life-saving diagnostic tests that can help detect the first signs and symptoms of breast cancer, they decided to help out by selling breast cancer awareness shirts. They raised $4000 for the Christus Santa Rosa Foundation Mobile Mammography Unit. The MMU reaches out to underprivileged women in the community gives them access to affordable breast cancer screening tests.

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The school’s Athletic Director April Fricke was so moved by what her students did that she decided to match their earnings by embarking on a 250 mile journey from Freeport to San Antonio on her bike. She journeyed for 3 days under the sweltering heat and harsh winds. It wasn’t easy, even for an athletic gal like Coach Fricke but she says that the journey is worth it if she can convince women to get the help that the need. The funds raised by the athletes and Fricke will be used to provide free mammograms to women who can’t afford it.

We often think that we need to do something big to be able to make a difference, but Coach Fricke and her students proved that even the simplest gestures like selling t-shirts and riding a bike can help women in your community get better access to mammograms.

If you also want to do a bike challenge in honor of breast cancer awareness month, we suggest selling or giving away these cute pink sleeves to protect arms from sun and wind:

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Or these customizable T-shirts:

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Can Aspirin Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence?

posted by:
ErikaM

Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory prescribed to people who are at risk for developing heart disease. However, a recent study suggests that Aspirin and other Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can do something more than prevent heart attacks – it may also lessen the incidence of breast cancer recurrence.

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The researchers from the University of Texas in Austin found that there is a link between the women’s use of pain killers and the incidence of recurrence. The study followed 440 obese women diagnosed with Estrogen receptor positive breast cancer for 7 years.  Those who used aspirin or other NSAIDs as painkillers (150 out of 440) were not only less likely to have recurrence, but the cancer took longer to come back as well (6.5 years vesus 4.2 for non-painkiller users). The study, which was published in the Cancer Research Journal revealed that patients who took aspirin every day can lower their recurrence risk by 52%.

Inflammation

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Researchers believe that Aspirin’s anti-inflammatory property is to be commended for this victory against breast cancer. Among other things, inflammation has long been known to be the primary cause of obesity and has often been a hindrance to the effective use of hormone therapy in obese women with cancer. Increased fat in the body means increased production of an enzyme called aromatase which is responsible in producing estrogen derivative estradiol. An increased level of estrogen in the body is associated with the proliferation of cancer cells – this is the main reason why drugs that target estrogen do not work well on obese women.

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Although researchers admit that there is still a lot of work to be done, they all agree that giving survivors an NSAID like aspirin once a day can only lead to better patient outcome. Another important factor to consider is that the women involved in the study are over 40 years old. Menopause brings about hormonal changes that increase the likelihood of these women to develop heart disease.   There is also a strong need to educate both men and women about the importance of weight control, a healthy diet and regular exercise since these factors are also important in preventing cancer recurrence.

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When these women were popping Aspirin for pain, they were unknowingly taking a drug that helped prevent their cancer from coming back as well. If this pans out, then the answer to slowing down breast cancer will turn out to have been an over the counter medication that has been widely available for years. Aspirin is relatively easy to take every day, affordable and accessible to women worldwide.

Our verdict? If you’re in your 40s and have a strong family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about the possibility of being on aspirin therapy. As long as you are under the care of a physician, aspirin may be able to help you in preventing heart disease and cancer.

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Breast Cancer and Men: How A Change In Attitude Can Save A Life

posted by:
ErikaM

Breast Cancer is often stereotyped as a woman’s disease. We often forget that men have breasts too – and that they can carry the BRCA gene mutation just like any other woman on the planet.

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HISBreastCancer.org founder Harvey Singer was devastated when he found out that his sister Vicky has been diagnosed with breast cancer, but he didn’t think that it had anything to do with his own health.

After her third bout with breast cancer, Vicky confirmed her biggest fear – that was positive for the BRCA gene mutation. The women in her family were quick to follow her footsteps and immediately subjected themselves to genetic screening. They became religious about getting mammograms and performed breast self examination regularly… but what about the men in her family?

Unfortunately, Harvey and the other men in Vicky’s family didn’t much about it… after all, they’re guys… isn’t breast cancer a woman’s disease?

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A few years later, Harvey got the wake-up call of his life. He was diagnosed with breast cancer. He finally had his genes tested and found out that just like his sister, he was positive for the breast cancer gene. This prompted him to start HIS Breast Cancer in an effort to educate men about the reality of breast cancer in men.

Although the BRCA gene is more likely to manifest itself in women, men and women both have a 50/50 chance of passing on the gene to their offspring. Women who tested positive for the mutation have a 50-80% chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Men’s chances are considerably smaller at 7%, although studies have shown that BRCA positive men have a 25% chance of getting prostate cancer. Harvey is a testament to this fact – he developed prostate cancer 18 months after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest barrier in the early diagnosis of breast cancer in men is gender stereotyping. Men are more reclusive when it comes to going to the doctor and are more prone to use denial when confronted with even just the possibility of having a ‘woman’s disease’. There are also fewer organizations and websites that provide support for those who seek information about breast cancer in men.

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These are just some barriers that HISBreastCancer.org is trying to break through. They want to spread the word that male breast cancer is a reality and that like women, men with a strong family history of breast cancer or any other cancer can greatly benefit from getting tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2.

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If more than 1 member of your family has been diagnosed with breast cancer, encourage your whole family to undergo for genetic screening or regular physical check-ups every year. Make it a family event – you never know how many lives you can save with a simple test.

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Is Your Birth Control Pill Putting You At Risk For Breast Cancer?

posted by:
ErikaM

The birth control pill has revolutionized the way we think about contraception since its introduction in the 1960s. It has empowered over 100 million women from around the world to take charge over their own bodies. Aside from that, birth control pills also have many non-contraceptive benefits such as better skin and making periods more manageable. While it is true that there are side effects to using birth control pills, most experts and women agree that the benefits almost always outweighed the risks.

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But what if the risks involve breast cancer? A recently published study in The Cancer Research Journal suggests that use of recent use of estrogen-based birth control pills may increase breast cancer risk by as high as 50 percent. The study, done by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington in Seattle involved 1,102 women in their 40s who are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. What makes this study unique is that the researchers really dug into the women’s entire birth control pill use history instead of relying only on self-report.

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Why estrogen?

Some birth control pills work by increasing the levels of the hormone Estrogen in the body. Estrogen prevents ovulation by stopping the pituitary gland from producing the follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. However, the effects of estrogen are not targeted to only affect the pituitary gland – it also stimulates the breast cells to proliferate. Experts believe that breast cell proliferation doesn’t always mean breast enlargement – it may also trigger the growth of cancer cells in the some women.

The study divided the women into three groups depending on the amount of estrogen in their birth control regimen and studied the incidence of breast cancer in each group. The results showed that women who took high dose estrogen pills (ethinyl estradiol or 80 micrograms of mestranol) were 2.7 times more likely to develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Meanwhile, those who took the moderate dose pills (30 to 35 micrograms of ethinyl estradiol or 50 micrograms of mestranol) were 1.6 times more likely. Women in the low dose population (20 micrograms of ethinyl estradiol) showed no risk.

Should this be a reason to stop taking estrogen pills?

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This study prompts health practitioners and women to take a closer look at their birth control regimen. Most pills in the market today are in the moderate and low dose range and high dose estrogen pills are only prescribed to women to treat medical conditions.

Although pills are the most widely used birth control method in the US, each woman should know that all birth control methods is a highly personal choice. Risks and benefits  should be thoroughly explained to her by a professional before she chooses the best method for herself.

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Is The Breast Cancer Miracle Drug Finally Here? Puma Biotech CEO Says It Is.

posted by:
ErikaM

Los Angeles, CA – The CEO of PUMA Biotechnology announced Tuesday that their drug neratinib has the ability to reduce the incidence of breast cancer reoccurrence by 33%.

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The two year Clinical Trial involved 2,821 women diagnosed with early stage HER-2 Positive breast cancer and who had their cancerous tissues removed via surgery. Some of the women received neratinib as adjunctive treatment to Herceptin (trastuzumab) while others were put in a Herceptin-placebo regimen.

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Herceptin (trastuzumab) is a drug that is prescribed specifically for women with HER-2 positive breast cancer. It targets protein receptors that encourages the proliferation of cancer cells. Herceptin is commonly used with other types of chemotherapy drugs and now, it seems that it has found its perfect match with the arrival of neratinib.

Alan Auerbach, CEO of Puma Biotechnology

Alan Auerbach, CEO of Puma Biotechnology

In the words of Puma CEO Alan Auerbach the results of the trial were “pleasing” – with those who received the neratinib-Herceptin regimen not only performing better clinically but has a remarkable 33% chance of disease-free survival as well. Disease free is defined as the period where the patient is alive and without any signs of cancer reoccurrence.

In a statement, Auerbach reports, “We are very pleased with the results…This represents the first trial with a HER2 targeted agent that has shown a statistically significant benefit in the extended adjuvant setting, which we believe provides a meaningful point of differentiation for neratinib in the treatment of HER2 positive breast cancer.

As soon as the statement was released, Puma Biotech’s shares more than tripled in value, making Auerbach an overnight billionaire. After closing at $59.03 the previous day, Puma’s shares skyrocketed to $169.48 the following day! This just goes to show how much the public is clamoring for a drug like neratinib.

Puma Biotech also announced that they would be applying for U.S. regulatory approval in the first quarter of 2015 which means that we might have to wait a while longer before the we can get our their hands on this miracle drug. If all goes well, neratinib can really make a difference in the lives of millions of women and their families across the world.

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We’d like to think that neratinib and the drugs that will follow it are not only the brainchild of certain companies, but the culmination of the efforts of breast cancer advocates who tirelessly raise money to support cancer research. It is really inspiring to know that developing drugs like neratibib and other breakthrough cancer therapies is possible if we work together.

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In the meantime, let us continue to support these advocates by donating or participating in their events. Who knows? Maybe one day, through our combined efforts we can finally find the cure to breast cancer. Fingers crossed.

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