To Test or Not to Test?

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I was browsing through the October issue of Better Homes and Garden when I came across this article about Breast Cancer. The article starts off with a story about a woman named Kathy Smith who’s best friend Valerie age 44, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.  Immediately Kathy tried to schedule a mammogram for herself. Luckily she did because it revealed a cluster of suspicious cells that could be classified as stage IIB. When Kathy was finally in remission, she saw a news report that shocked her.  According to studies, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force suggests that most women in their 40s should not bother getting routine mammograms because screenings do more harm than good. And that women over 50 could skip their mammogram every other year. Kathy wondered why they would make these conclusions considering that her and Valerie would not be alive if they did not go for their routine checkups. The trouble with this way of thinking is that no one can know if they fall into that category of women who will be afflicted with breast cancer before age 50. Since breast cancer can strike anyone at any age, it is better to be safe. How can you be sure if you are in the minority that has breast cancer. Not testing for it is just irresponsible. Celebrities such as Sheryl Crow & Olivia Newton John who were diagnosed in their 40s both defended the decision to have routine mammograms. With rumors that health insurance companies might stop coverage over routine mammograms, congress passed a Health Care Reform Bill to mandate the task force’s guidelines be ignored.

The task force says that the guidelines were not meant to discourage women from getting mammograms, just to raise awareness of the drawbacks of mammograms (such as a false positive).  The important thing is for women to have open communication with their gynecologist. Sometimes a mammogram will find something that isn’t cancer or is non aggressive cancer. The risk is that if you don’t have an annual mammogram you could potentially miss a fast acting cancer that can potentially kill you. Some patients will simply forgo treatments if their gyno doesn’t recommend them.

According to a recent study 67% of doctors will stop offering routine mammograms to women in their 40s. While only 29% of patients said they would stop the frequency of  screenings.  You have to wonder why someone else has a say in an issue concerning your health.  The most concerning factor is that some women are forgoing screenings because these guidelines from the task force went public. Mammography is best among the best diagnostic tools for breast cancer  but it is far from perfect. Out of 2,000 women who get tested, half will get a false positive. This will lead to follow-up tests such as biopsies. For every 1,904 women who get tested, one woman’s life will be saved. By age 50, one woman out of 1,339 women will be saved. The task force looked at these numbers and figured that it was not necessary that every woman be tested. The problem is that if this scares women away from routine mammograms, the minority that could be diagnosed, will not seek testing.  Health experts suggest talking to your doctor before making any rash decisions about mammograms. They will ask you about your lifestyle, family history, and possibilities of false positives. The decision to get a mammogram should be an individual one and not decided by a task force. Kathy Smith is grateful that she got screened in her 40s and so are countless other women.

Cajun Fried Turkey

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Makes: 1 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour, 30 minutes
One of my favorite cooking ideas is to deep fat fry our turkey for the holidays or guest parties. Great for holiday cooking and New Years Party. My wife loves it when I cook; gives her time to do the other baking and cooking while I prepare the main dish.
12-15 pounds turkey 1 1/2 cup Italian dressing
1 stick butter 1 handful Cajun seasonings
peanut oil amount depending on size of turkey garlic powder and onion powder to taste
Two days prior to cooking:
Defrost turkey. Although not recommended by the FDA, when I have forgotten to take it out early enough, I have successfully thawed it in warm water in the sink – draining and refilling as water turns cool.Evening prior:
Strain Italian dressing to catch items too big for the injector needle. Melt a stick of butter and add to the strained dressing.Take a handful of your favorite Cajun seasonings and add to marinade (I prefer Tony Chachere’s (TM) Creole seasoning, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s® blackened seasoning, Zatarins® Creole seasoning, Cajun Shake seasonings, and any Cajun spice I can get my hands on). 

Add onion powder and garlic powder to taste. You can also purchase Cajun Injector seasoning from the store.

Use injector to inject marinade into the breasts, thighs, and wings. Stick the needle all the way in. As you slowly pull out, slowly press and inject spices into the turkey. Inject from multiple angles for maximum coverage. The more you use, the juicier the turkey will be when you cook it. Also, rub seasoning on the outside of the turkey, under the skin, and the inside cavity as well.

Place turkey, legs up, on holder and place inside plastic oven roasting bag. Keep overnight in an ice chest with a little ice.

Morning of:
Fill fryer approximately 1/3 with oil (You don’t need peanut oil, but once you try it, you won’t use anything else. It also smokes less).

Dip turkey while in the plastic bag in oil and fill or drain as needed. Oil should just cover the top of turkey. Ensure you have a hole at the top of the plastic bag, otherwise the bag will expand with air and you will not get an accurate reading. Take turkey out of oil and place back in cooler.

An alternative is to use water the previous day prior to seasoning/injecting turkey. Place turkey in a plastic bag and then place in the pot. Pour water into pot until bagged turkey is fully submerged. Remove turkey, mark the water level, empty water, dry and pour oil to that spot.

Heat oil to 375°-400°F. It takes approximately 30 minutes. Remove turkey from plastic wrap and place in oil. Oil should drop to 350°. Ensure you keep the temperature between 325°-350°F, but the closer to 350°F the better. Cook 2-3 minutes per pound. Never, ever cover pot with lid! You will have much more on your hands than a “smokin’ Cajun turkey”…

You may cook a larger turkey, but most cookers can’t handle more than 20 pounds. The largest one I cooked was 21 pounds, but it barely fit in the pot and made cooking the very tip extremely tricky.

Remove and let the turkey rest before carving. According to Emeril, the best way to carve is to PULL the legs, wings and thighs off; then undercut the breast following the bone to the center and then slice.

Enjoy with family and friends!


Makes: 6 – 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 50 minutes
We know Maw Maw and Grandma did not have the luxury of cream soups but that does not mean a Cajun can’t use them. Especially since Maw Maw and Grandma now use them too!
1 cup margarine or butter 1 cup onion chopped
1 cup bell pepper chopped 5 cups raw shrimp peeled
1 pound crab meat 1 can cream of shrimp
1/2 cup water 1/2 cup green onion top (scallions)
1/2 cup parsley 3 cups cooked rice or cornbread
Saute onions and pepper in margarine. Add the peeled shrimp to the mixture; stir and continue cooking until 10 minutes after boiling begins. Add the can of soup, water and bring to a boil again. Add the crab meat, green onion and parsley and cook for 10 minutes. Add the rice or cornbread, mix well and serve.

Questions to Ask before getting a Manicure or Pedicure

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With nail salons in every shopping center and around every corner, it is difficult sometimes to tell which ones would pass inspection. Many people assume that they are recieving safe sanitary services performed by professionals. But in truth, this is not always the case. It may be surprising but not every country in the world requires nail technicians to be licensed; many are also not required to take a professional course. Even countries with strict educational requirements still have untrained technicians working in salons. It is important to ask to see their credentials from an accredited school. Accredited courses will have covered such important theory such as anatomy, disease and disorders, and proper sanitation as well as a thorough understanding of the science behind the practical applications of acrylic or gel enhancements. People don’t realize that taking a brief medical history before your appointment can be vital to your safety. Especially if you are diabetic, your nail services will have to be altered completely. Also, what if you are allergic to the acrylic or gel? You want someone with experience in dealing with these situations.

The next question to ask is what are their sanitation proceedures?  Any qualified salon professional will be more than happy to walk you around and go into detail about their sanitation requirements by law.

Do any of the products in their services contain any banned ingredients? There have been several cosmetic ingredients that have come under fire in Europe and North America in recent months and some of the banned ingredients are present in nail products.

How do they disinfect their foot bath. This can be very serious because people have gotten terrible infections from unsanitary conditions. If in doubt, you can purchase a foot bath liner that will fit inside any footbath. This ensures that your feet wont touch any unclean surfaces.

Disposable files or buffers?  If your technician reaches in a draw full of used tools, run for the door. Nail files can be full of bacteria and should be disposed of after each customer. Furthermore, health regulations state that these items should be disposed of after one use.

In conclusion, this article isn’t to scare you from getting a manicure or pedicure, just to inform you of how to go about doing so safely. Ask the right questions so that you don’t face dire circumstances later.

Breast Cancer Awareness Is More Than Wearing Pink

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Published: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 5:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 5:41 p.m.

There are only a few things in this world that turn your blood cold and cause your heart to fall into your stomach.

One of these things is finding out you or a loved one has a life-threatening disease. This happened to me about a year and a half ago when I was told my 77-year-old mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It is one of those things that changes you forever and you never quite look at the world in the same way.

Fortunately, it was caught early enough that she made a full recovery, but only after watching her suffer through radical surgery and months of debilitating treatment. It is something I wish no one would ever have to witness or go through themselves. My mother is one of the strongest people I know who refused to let this evil control her life. Even through the nausea and weakness, she would always put on a smile and pull herself together to spoil her grandkids and try to ease the worry that the family lived with constantly.

Though she lost her hair and suffered other physical torments, she soldiered on and beat the odds that were stacked against her. She is an inspiration and a true representation of how determination and faith can overcome anything put before you. It is also a testament on how getting regular checkups can prevent getting into a situation that unfortunately cannot be fixed.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is a wonderful opportunity to inform and educate all people about the issues surrounding this horrible illness. You will see everyone from professional football players to musicians showing their support for research and education for breast cancer by wearing pink. On Oct. 2, 3,000 women participated in the 18th annual Women’s Only 5K Walk/Run for Breast Cancer in Greensboro to raise money for a mammography scholarship fund that will benefit low-income women and those who are uninsured.

Although struggling with being treated for breast cancer, Susan G. Komen was more concerned about how other people were dealing with breast cancer in there own lives and what could be done to ease their suffering. At her death, Susan’s sister, Nancy Brinker, started the Susan G. Komen Foundation in 1982 as a promise to her sister to end breast cancer forever. It is now the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested nearly $1.5 billion since inception.

But wearing pink and raising money for research will not be enough to eradicate this disease. Each person must do their individual part by talking about the issue, explaining what to look for and having regular preventative examinations. If you find a lump or feel something just isn’t right, don’t dismiss it. Take action on the side of being cautious.

If there is nothing wrong then you are out nothing, but catching it early can make the difference between life and death. Do it for your loved ones, if nothing else. And don’t think of it as just a women’s disease. Although it makes up less than 1 percent of all cases, men have also died from breast cancer. To me, that is 1 percent too many.

I am one of the fortunate people who succeeded in the fight with cancer in my family, but just the thought of losing my mother still shakes me to my soul. It is a thought no one should ever have to have. I hope everyone will take action by making a donation, participating in a fundraising event, giving items to the cancer center or simply just volunteering your time.

My mother wears a pink bracelet on her wrist with the message: Hope, Strength, Faith and Courage. She says it has helped her many times while dealing with all the treatments and the horrible side effects. I will follow her lead and keep that message close to my heart. I hope for the best, I will be strong when dealing with the unpleasant reality, I have faith that God will protect those who are fighting for their lives and I will have the courage to speak out about the need to find a cure for this disease.

No one should ever have this horrible, disfiguring monster disrupt his or her lives ever again. And although I don’t say it enough, I love you Mom and I am inspired by you.

Sharon Myers is a married mother of two. She is a graduate of Lexington Senior High and received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from East Carolina University.


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The beauty of yoga exercise is that it can be enjoyed by all. No matter your age or fitness level, this gentle, yet powerful discipline offers a completely balanced workout, allowing you to develop strength with flexibility, while reducing stress and tension. Practicing yoga has been shown to improve overall health and cardiovascular fitness. And practitioners agree: this ancient art may slow and possibly even reverse the aging process.

First popular in the United States during the 1960s and ’70s, yoga has now re-entered the mainstream. People today are rediscovering what yoga practitioners have known for thousands of years-that yoga’s simple stretching exercises provide the opportunity for a lifetime of radiantly good health and inner peace. Health professionals now recognize that yoga’s preventive, healing benefits can be the perfect antidote to the stresses of the modern world.


Yoga is an ancient philosophical system that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Yoga means “to yoke” or “union” in Sanskrit-a bringing together to make whole the body, mind, and spirit. In approximately 2 A.D., the great Hindu sage, Patanjali, wrote down the principles of classical yoga in the Yoga Sutras. Since that time, yoga has evolved into four philosophical branches: Bhakti Yoga (cultivating devotion), Jnana Yoga (developing wisdom), Karma Yoga (the way of action), and Raja Yoga (inner concentration). The stretching exercises familiar to Westerners are hatha yoga, a small branch of Raja Yoga.


While a small dose of hatha yoga can result in a heightened sense of well-being, a regular regimen will reward you with a body that’s lighter and more flexible. Scientific studies confirm many of yoga’s benefits. In an article in Medicine, Exercise, Nutrition, and Health Journal, a team of Georgia Tech researchers concluded that a 32 minute yoga routine was a more efficient cardiovascular exercise than the same amount of time spent walking on a treadmill. According to the research team, yoga’s cardiovascular value, along with its ability to enhance flexibility, strength, and coordination, qualifies it as an important form of exercise.

A plethora of healthcare providers, hospitals, and insurance companies confirm yoga’s preventive benefits. Having a flexible lower-back and hamstring muscles can reduce your chances of becoming one of the millions of Americans afflicted with back pain, says physician and yoga teacher Mary Pullig Schatz, M.D. In her best-selling book, Back Care Basics, Dr. Schatz advocates a program of therapeutic yoga exercises for the prevention and rehabilitation of back pain. Studies on yoga exercise, relaxation and meditation techniques indicate that it can relieve high blood pressure, help chronic pain and illness, and neutralize the toxic stress of modern life. Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest healthcare providers, offers a therapy program that teaches patients how to incorporate yoga and meditation into their daily lives.


Daily yoga practice, meditation, relaxation and breathing techniques, and a low-fat vegetarian diet, are key components of Dr. Dean Ornish’s innovative program for the non-surgical treatment of heart disease, described in his book, Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease (Random House, 1990). Dr. Ornish’s program has proven so successful that medical insurance companies now reimburse individuals who participate in it.


Yoga stretching for flexibility has been recommended by exercise specialists to prevent injury and improve sports techniques. Exercise physiologists Dr. Frank Katch, Ph.D., and Dr. William McArdle, Ph.D., authors of Introduction to Nutrition, Exercise and Health, strongly suggest that yoga stretches be performed slowly, with each position held for at least 10 seconds to fully extend the muscle.

Over the centuries, different yoga poses have been developed to efficiently stretch every muscle in the body slowly and gently as a type of moving meditation. While weight training improves dynamic strength–in which muscles become shorter and thicker as a result of moving the weight they work against-holding yoga poses develops isometric strength. Muscles with this kind of power turn long, lean, and limber from pushing against resistance from a fixed position.

There are hundreds of yoga postures, called asanas, which belong to one of five basic movement categories: forward bends, backbends, twists, standing and inversions, as well as meditation poses. A balanced yoga class should have a series of postures that includes all five movement categories. Although yoga can be practiced at home, it’s a good idea for beginners to attend a class to learn how to safely and properly perform the postures. If you have a medical condition, always consult your health professional before beginning an exercise program.

Whether you’re 9 or 90, you can enjoy the many benefits of yoga. Its requirements are minimal: all you need are 30 minutes each day, a mat or blanket, and a small exercise space. Yoga addresses a wealth of different needs: it can teach children to quiet their minds while promoting strength and flexibility; provide healthy ways for senior citizens to slow down the aging process; and serve as a natural beauty aid by creating a more limber, graceful body and serene demeanor. Hatha yoga practice provides each of us an opportunity to reach our full potential physically, mentally and spiritually.


In yoga philosophy, prana is life force energy. Pranayama breathing is the conscious regulation of the breath that circulates revitalizing prana throughout the body. Research indicates that breathing slowly and deeply sends a message to the body and mind that all is well, thereby interrupting the stress cycle. Many different controlled breathing exercises are available in hatha yoga.

The following simple exercises can be performed anytime to promote calmness–

Sit comfortably in a chair, or on the floor in a cross-legged or half-lotus position, keeping your back straight and your neck and head aligned with your spinal column. Gently place both of your hands, fingertips touching, below the bellybutton. Then slowly breathe in and out from your stomach. You should feel your belly calmly rise and fall with each breath. Continue this basic breathing technique for ten breaths, allowing yourself to derive a joyous serenity.

Triange-Standing Position: (stretches and strengthens legs and lower back) Stand with legs three feet apart, right foot pointing right, arms extended out to the sides. Reach out with the right arm extending torso until right hand reaches right leg. Grasp the right leg as far down as you can (between the knee and ankle) while extending left arm upward. Turn head to look up at left hand. Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Come up slowly and repeat on the opposite side.

Sphinx-Backward Bending Posture: (back and abdominal stretch) Lie on your abdomen with legs hip distance apart. Bend down elbows and place beneath your shoulders, arms straight forward. Keep the shoulders down from your ears while tightening the buttocks. Hold the pose for 5 seconds.

Pose of a Child-Forward Bending Posture: (stretches the back, neck and shoulders) Sit on your heels with knees bent touching the floor together. Slowly bend your torso forward until stomach rests on thights and forehead is centered to floor. Place arms alongside your body, palms upward, and hands close to ankles. Relax deeply, breathing comfortable. Hold pose for up to one minute.

Half Candle-Inversion: (stretches and strengthens the back, shoulders, and arms) Do not do this pose if you have high blood pressure or are menstruating. Lay on your back then slowly raise your legs into the air, lifting the hips. Support the back of your hips with your hands, while your elbows are securely braced on the floor as close together as possible. Keep the legs straight with your feet at a 45 degree angle above your head. Hold the pose for 30 seconds.

Simple Twist-Twist: (stretches and strengthens the back muscles and spine) Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position keeping the spine straight. Slowly rotate your torso to the right and place the right hand on the floor behind the right hip. Grasp the right knee with the left hand and look over the right shoulder. Hold the pose for 10 seconds. Repeat the twist to the left.

Meditation Posture-Half Lotus (stretches hips, knees and ankles, improves posture) Sit cross-legged, right leg in front of the left, keeping the spine straight. Do not force this position, or it may injure the knees. Gently grasp the right foot with both hands and slowly bring it high up on the left thigh. Extend arms out to sides of knees, touching index finger to thumb, palms facing up. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for 10 seconds. Repeat with the left foot.

Written by: Elaine Gavalas

Pregnant With Breast Cancer: 5 Questions Women Need to Ask

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By Deborah Kotz

Posted: February 9, 2009

As earth-shattering as a diagnosis of breast cancer can be, it’s even worse for women who are pregnant at the time. A new study from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, though, provides some reassuring news for those with what’s commonly called pregnancy-associated breast cancer: It doesn’t appear to be any more deadly—contrary to what was once thought—than breast cancer that occurs in women who aren’t pregnant.

There are, however, many complicating factors that women still need to consider if they detect a breast lump while pregnant. (And young breast cancer patients who are not expecting a baby are advised to avoid pregnancy at least until after treatment.) Here are five important questions that women need to ask their doctors:

1. Mammogram or MRI? Small studies have shown that mammography poses little risk to the developing fetus if a lead shield is placed over a woman’s belly to block any radiation scatter, according to Unfortunately, the X-ray isn’t great at detecting tumors; researchers have shown that the test misses anywhere from 22 percent to 38 percent of malignancies in pregnant women compared with 15 percent of cancers in nonpregnant women. Ultrasound may be used before a mammogram to distinguish clear fluid-filled cysts (which are harmless) from solid lumps, but they can’t differentiate the harmful solid lumps from the benign ones. Magnetic resonance imaging is more sensitive at finding breast tumors than mammography, but it’s generally not performed during pregnancy because doctors worry about unknown health risks to the fetus posed by the test’s strong magnetic fields.

2. How will  s urgery and chemotherapy be timed? When possible, doctors prefer to delay treatment until a woman is past her first trimester, when all the fetal organs have developed. Unfortunately, risks to the baby from surgical anesthesia and chemotherapy can’t be completely eliminated, and doctors usually discuss these risks in the context of helping women decide whether to continue with the pregnancy. Chemotherapy timing is particularly complicated because while it shouldn’t be given during the first trimester, it also shouldn’t be given within three to four weeks prior to delivery, according to the American Cancer Society. That’s because it lowers a woman’s blood count, raising her risk for bleeding and infections during childbirth.

3. Lumpectomy or mastectomy? Radiation treatments, which are routinely given after a lumpectomy, aren’t safe for the baby at any stage in the womb, so women with early-stage tumors might want to opt for a mastectomy instead. Those who require radiation to prevent a local recurrence will have to delay these treatments until after childbirth.

4. When should’t amoxifen start? Tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen, isn’t given until after pregnancy because of studies indicating that it may be associated with certain birth defects.

5. Breast feeding, safe or not? If you’re currently being treated for breast cancer, breastfeeding isn’t considered safe. That goes for both chemotherapy and a hormone-blocking therapy like tamoxifen. For women who’ve finished all their treatment and who haven’t had a double mastectomy, breastfeeding is still possible and often considered safe for both mom and baby.

Article courtesy of

Simple Tuna Melts: Lunch made easy!

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Simple Tuna Melts Recipe


  • 1 (6 ounce) can tuna, drained
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • pepper to taste
  • 12 slices pickled jalapeno
  • 2 English muffins, split
  • 4 slices Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine tuna, minced onion, and black pepper. Divide mixture onto 4 halves of English Muffins. Arrange 3 slices jalapenos on each muffin half. Top each with a slice of Cheddar cheese. Place on baking sheet.
  3. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 236 | Total Fat: 10.3g | Cholesterol: 42mg

Recipe courtesy of

Exercise may reduce Breast Cancer Risk

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Vigorous Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk

Study Shows Exercise Protects Against Breast Cancer Even Without Weight Loss
By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 30, 2008 — Exercise cuts a woman’s risk of breast cancer after menopause — but only vigorous exercise, a National Cancer Institute study shows.

Moderate exercise did not cut breast cancer risk. Vigorous exercise did, but only in women who were not overweight. However, it’s possible that overweight and obese women found moderate exercise more taxing and misreported it as strenuous exercise.

The findings suggest that exercise itself protects against breast cancer, regardless of whether it leads to weight loss, note Michael F. Leitzmann, MD, and colleagues at the National Cancer Institute.

The researchers analyzed data on more than 32,000 postmenopausal women collected over 11 years as part of the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project.

Women were asked about their exercise habits, and Leitzmann’s team rated their exercise as “moderate” or “vigorous.”

Activities rated as “moderate” were rated “non-vigorous.” They included:

  • Light housework
  • Vacuuming
  • Washing clothes
  • Painting
  • Home repairs
  • Lawn mowing
  • General gardening
  • Raking
  • Light sports or exercise
  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Light jogging
  • Recreational tennis
  • Bowling
  • Golf
  • Bicycling on level ground

“We observed no association between non-vigorous activity and breast cancer,” Leitzmann and colleagues report.

Activities rated as “vigorous” include:

  • Housework such as scrubbing floors or washing windows
  • Heavy yard work
  • Digging in the garden
  • Chopping wood
  • Strenuous sports or exercise
  • Running
  • Fast jogging
  • Competitive tennis
  • Aerobics
  • Bicycling on hills
  • Fast dancing

Overall, women who got a lot of vigorous exercise had only a small decrease in breast cancer. But the researchers saw a much stronger effect in women who were neither overweight nor obese.

“When we evaluated the relation of vigorous activity to breast cancer among women who were of normal weight … the risk among women reporting the highest amount of vigorous activity decreased by about 30% compared with women with no vigorous activity,” Leitzmann and colleagues found.

The study appears in the Oct. 31 online issue of the open-access journal Breast Cancer Research. Leitzmann is now with University Hospital Regensburg, Germany.

Article courtesy of

29 yr old woman Shaves her head due to Breast Cancer

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Easy Steps to Brighten a Dull Complexion.

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Did you ever notice that some people just have a glowing complexion? It is not their makeup that gives them that glow it is the canvas on which they started. A great complexion that has a natural glow starts with proper skin care and a healthy diet.

The condition of your skin can be a good indicator of your overall health. For instance a poor diet and bad habits such as smoking and too much alcohol can lead to a dull complexion, baggy eyes and even a yellowish tint. Additionally an improper skin care routine or no skin care program at all can lead to premature wrinkles, sagging skin and patches of dry skin.

So what are the steps to brighten a dull complexion? First and foremost understanding your skin type is the first step for proper skin care. By understanding your skin type, i.e. dry, combination, oily, sensitive, you can begin to select the right ingredients that are the most beneficial to your skin.

Cleansers – Get a facial cleanser specific to your skin type. Your skin care cleanser should thoroughly cleanse but not over dry the face. If after washing your face your skin is overtly dry and tight, you should consider a different skin care cleanser. Usually a dry skin type should select creamy cleansers, oily complexions should consider a foaming face wash, for sensitive skin and combination skin types consider a cleanser that has a low pH of 7 or less. Read more about Caring for Combination Skin.

Toners – are used to restore ph balance and remove the last bits of cleanser left behind. I am a firm believer in toners. If purchasing a toner be sure to select the one that is right for your skin type and has the most natural ingredients. Homemade toners are easy to make. Green tea toners are superb and are high in antioxidants. Other herbs that can be for toners are elderflower and sandalwood for dry skin, fennel or lemon balm for oily skin, and chamomile for combination skin. Apply toner with a cotton ball or pad and do not rinse.

Herb toner recipe: 2 Tablespoons dried or 1 Tablespoon fresh herb depending on your skin type (see note above), 2/3 cup distilled or purified water. Strain and refrigerate.

Green tea toner: 2 teaspoons green tea leaves and 1 cup water.
Naturally the above recipes will have to be sifted to remove the leaves. Refrigerate and it should last up to a week.

Moisturizers – should be used to hydrate and protect the skin. A daytime moisturizer should have an SPF of at least 15, and your nighttime moisturizer should be rich in emollients. Not matter what skin type you have a moisturizer is a must; dry skin needs lubrication and hydration and oily skin needs hydration.

Cleanse, tone and moisturize are the basics of a good skin care routine in order to brighten a dull complexion. Additionally there are other treatments that can be used that promote circulation, slough off dead skin cells and bring a natural glow to your face.

Exfoliation – is a method of removing the dead skin cells on the upper layer of your skin and increasing circulation to promote new skin cells. Once used only in exclusive spas at a costly amount, exfoliation is a simple technique that you can do at home. There are a couple of homemade options for an exfoliation treatment, just add one of the following ingredients to your cleanser: cornmeal, sugar, oatmeal, etc. Sugar is great if you have sensitive skin. These ingredients are inexpensive and eco-friendly and will surely brighten a dull complexion and leave your skin feeling smooth and silky.

Microderamabrasion – is a form of advance exfoliation. The actual surface layer of the skin is removed and new skin cells are exposed. The type of procedure will lessen the appearance of scars and dark spots on the skin. There are a variety of microdermabrasion products on the market that range from creams, kits, and cloths. Read more about microdermabrasion.

AHAs and BHAs known as Alpha and Beta hydroxyl acids – are very popular in anti-aging products. They work very much like a microdermabrasion treatment as they slough off the top layers of the skin thus promoting new skin cell growth. Another added benefit is that they stimulate the production of collagen and elasticity in the skin. When selecting an Alpha or Beta hydroxyl acid be sure to select the right one for your skin type. Here is an article to help you pick the right one for your skin type.

A good skin care routine and one of the exfoliation methods listed above will help promote a healthy glow; however, it is imperative that you eat healthy too. Your complexion can tell a lot about your life style and eating habits. Additionally, your diet and skin care products should contain anti-oxidants such as Vitamin A, E, C, and beta carotene to name a few.

Hope you will stop by and check out all my other posts here on Shine.

For more skin care recipes and articles visit Complete Skin Care Therapy.

For great skin care products and 15% off visit Skin Energizer! This site has an online assistant to help you select the right products for your skin type!