5 Things I Didn’t Know About Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Awareness, Breast Cancer Facts, iGoPink Blog 1 Comment

By Tori Carruth

Tori is currently a Senior at Sam Houston State University and a contributing editor of the iGoPink Blog.

Tori College Student Breast Cancer

  1. Breast Cancer does not discriminate. As a college student, term papers, socials, and the ever-growing number of e-mails in my inbox consume my thoughts. Our generation has the mentality that “it won’t happen to me,” but that’s naïve of us. A 22-year-old woman named Kayla Falcon was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer last year. 22! Her main focus should have been on graduating college or landing her dream job, not on fighting for her life. No matter how young or old, it CAN happen to you.
  1. A healthy lifestyle can help. Eating well balanced and nutritious meals (you mean I can’t live off Cheetos?) and maintaining a healthy lifestyle (walking from my dorm to my car doesn’t count I suppose) could lower your risk of not only breast cancer, but other chronic diseases, too. Physical activity is actually shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer. So get on your bike instead of driving to campus and you have a great cardio session done, plus you don’t have to spend 30 minutes looking for a parking spot- SCORE!
  1. Environmental factors are real (my Health professors were right). I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve listened (i.e. pretended to listen, but actually Pinterested) to a lecture over “environmental factors.” I didn’t understand the significance until recently, though. A few environmental factors with consistent evidence showing a link with an increased risk of breast cancer are: the use of hormone therapies containing estrogen and progestin, exposure to ionizing radiation, being overweight, and drinking alcohol. So let’s break that down- birth control contains those estrogen hormones, and the ionizing radiation could be things like getting a CT scan. I don’t know about you, but I’m about to turn 21, and the risk of alcohol is a new (and scary) thing for me.
  1. Prevention saves lives! There are so many diseases that could be prevented if necessary steps were taken, and while breast cancer isn’t totally preventable, you can absolutely reduce your risk. While it seems odd to get a mammogram at the age of 21, it’s important to realize that according to the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Progress review group, around 70,000 people between the ages of 15 and 39 are diagnosed with cancer every year. Breast cancer accounts for about 15% of all diagnoses in that group- that’s over 10,000 YOUNG women with breast cancer. So go get yourself checked, girl! Even something as simple as a quick self-exam in the shower can save your life.
  1. A lump doesn’t always mean cancer. So let’s say while you were self-examining you found a lump. Your first thought is probably something along the lines of “OMG!OMG!OMG!,” or at least mine would be… But don’t freak out yet! This is definitely a good reason to visit your doctor, but 80% of lumps are benign, meaning they aren’t cancerous and are usually harmless. Keep checking yourself, but no panic attacks quite yet, y’all!


Wellness Wednesday: Fall Fitness Tips

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Seriously, what’s not to love about fall? Pumpkin lattes are back, you can dig out your favorite sweaters, and sweet potatoes are finally in season. Best of all, the crisp temps make fall the perfect time to exercise outdoors: “The cool weather allows you to enjoy yourself without having to worry about being overheated or too cold,” says Terri Walsh, celebrity trainer and creator of the Active Resistance Training Method (A.R.T.). And that means you’re more likely to feel awesome during your workout, and maybe even log an extra mile or climb another trail.

But before you lace up and head outside, prepare for your outdoor adventure with Walsh’s fall weather workout tips:

Wear Layers
It may feel slightly nippy at first, but the weather has a rep for changing on a moment’s notice. Dress in layers that you can easily remove if your body starts to heat up—or put back on if you get cold, says Walsh.

Stay Hydrated
Many people forget to drink enough fluids during fall workouts because it’s not super hot, says Walsh. Not good. Keep drinking as normal to avoid dehydration. While it’s good to carry water, you can add some flavor with a bit of fruit juice to get even more nutrients.

Pack Snacks
Don’t disrupt your outing for a food pit stop. If you’ll be out most of the day hiking or biking, Walsh recommends bringing a small backpack with nuts or fruit stashed inside. No matter where you are, at least you have a constant source of fuel.

And if you think running is the only outdoor exercise to try, it’s time to get creative! If you’re near some branches and a log, you’ll definitely want to try this off-the-beaten-trail circuit workout. But if a park is your only outdoor fitness center, find a jungle gym and do these fun exercises on the playground. The kids in line for the monkey bars can wait their turn.



Fitness Friday

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Wellness Wednesday

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This is an e-mail forward that I received a while back that has always stuck with me. I love it and wanted to share it with all of you! Please let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Please read both stories!

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago . Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed “Easy Eddie.” He was Capone’s lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie’s skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block. Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld.  Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong.  Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn’t give his son; he couldn’t pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al “Scarface” Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a  lonely
Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.
The poem read:
“The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.  Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.”


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn’t reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted .50-caliber’s blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch’s daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft. This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy’s first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O’Hare Airport in
Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man. So, the next time you find yourself at O’Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch’s memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It’s located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O’Hare was “Easy Eddie’s” son.

Tasty Tuesday

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It’s almost Fall again! Get ready for football, family and fun! Try out this delicious recipe for a healthy side!


Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

5 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider
salt and pepper, to taste

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 2″ slices; place in crockpot. Whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup, cider, salt and pepper. Pour over potatoes. Cover; cook on low 7-9 hours.

Fitness Friday

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Are you stressed and looking for a way to relax?  Here is a great article about exercise and stress brought to you by www.mayoclinic.com

Exercise and stress: Get moving to combat stress

One way to take control of the stress in your life is through physical activity. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.

By Mayo Clinic staff

You know that exercise does your body good, but you’re too busy and stressed to fit it into your routine. Hold on a second — there’s good news when it comes to exercise and stress.

Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to weightlifting, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re downright out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Discover the connection between exercise and stress relief — and why exercise should be part of your stress management plan.

Exercise and stress relief

Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

Put exercise and stress relief to work for you

A successful exercise program begins with a few simple steps.

  • Consult with your doctor. Begin any new fitness program by consulting with your health care professional, especially if you have any medical conditions or are obese.
  • Walk before you run. Build up your fitness level gradually. Excitement about a new program can lead to overdoing it and possibly even injury. Plus, if you begin your program slowly, chances are better you’ll stick with it. If you’re new to exercise, aim for about 20 to 30 minutes of exercise three to four days a week and increase gradually. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (think brisk walking or swimming) or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running) — preferably spread throughout the week. It also recommends strength training exercises at least twice a week.
  • Do what you love, and love what you do. Don’t train for a marathon if you dislike running. Virtually any form of exercise or movement can increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress. The most important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy. Examples include walking, stair climbing, jogging, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, gardening, weightlifting and swimming.
  • Pencil it in. Although your schedule may necessitate a morning workout one day and an evening activity the next, carving out some time to move every day helps you make your exercise program an ongoing priority.

Sticking with it

Starting an exercise program is just the first step. Here are some tips for sticking with a new routine or reinvigorating a tired workout:

  • Set some goals. It’s always a good idea to begin or modify a workout program with a goal in mind. If your primary goal is to reduce stress in your life and recharge your batteries, your specific goals might include committing to walking during your lunch hour three times a week or, if needed, finding a baby sitter to watch your children so that you can slip away to attend a cycling class.
  • Find a friend. Knowing that someone is waiting for you to show up at the gym or the park can be a powerful incentive. Working out with a friend, co-worker or family member often brings a new level of motivation and commitment to your workouts.
  • Change up your routine. If you’ve always been a competitive runner, take a look at other less competitive options that may help with stress reduction, such as Pilates or yoga classes. As an added bonus, these kinder, gentler workouts may enhance your running while also decreasing your stress.

Whatever you do, don’t think of exercise as just one more thing on your to-do list. Find an activity you enjoy — whether it’s an active tennis match or a meditative meander down to a local park and back — and make it part of your regular routine. Any form of physical activity can help you unwind and become an important part of your approach to easing stress.

Wellness Wednesday

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I started off today a little sluggish, and to be honest thinking that today was Thursday. I checked my e-mail and saw that a friend had forwarded me ANOTHER e-mail. Reluctantly, I opened it up and began reading. Within the 1st sentence I was glad that I did. This is one of those inspirational stories that you read and they put a little pep in your step, and make you remember that there is still good in the world. I know that this is the perfect blog for tomorrow on “Thoughtful Thursday”, but seeing as how I already thought it was Thursday, I am posting it for “Wellness Wednesday”. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I did!

The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget

by: Kent Nerburn

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked.

“Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice.

I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me.

It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers.”

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware—beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Wellness Wednesday: Your Spice Cabinet May Help Fight Breast Cancer

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Not all stem cells are created equal. In fact, the stem cells found in breast tumors are downright wicked–they can actually fuel a tumor’s growth.

A small number of stem cells can be found within every tumor and like fertilizer they can nourish the cancer and make it grow. Current chemotherapies don’t work against cancer stem cells, so researchers are busy trying to develop ways to stunt their growth and stop their misguided ways.

Now, researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found several household spices that might be able to limit the growth of these “bad” stem cells. A study published in the December 2009 issue ofBreast Cancer Research and Treatment found that compounds derived from the spices turmeric and black pepper might be able to help prevent breast cancer by controlling and limiting the growth of breast stem cells.

The researchers applied the dietary compounds curcumin (from the Indian spice turmeric) and piperine (from black pepper) to breast cells in culture. Their experiment showed that these chemical from the spices decreased the number of stem cells in the laboratory culture but had no effect on normal, healthy cells.

The two spice compounds have only been tested in the lab to date; we’ll have to wait and see whether they can restrain breast stem cells in patients with breast tumors. Still, it’s exciting to see this type of research going on; it provides more hope that dietary factors may one day be another avenue for breast cancer prevention.

By Lillie Shockney, R.N., M.A.S. – Posted on Thu, Mar 18, 2010, 2:50 pm PDT from http://health.yahoo.com

Wellness Wednesday: A healthy diet may trim breast cancer risk

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A woman may not be able to change her family history of breast cancer, but she can typically control what she eats and drinks. And consuming more vegetables and whole grains — and less alcohol — just might trim her chances of getting the disease, according to an analysis of published studies.


“As the incidence of breast cancer continues to rise, with many of the risk factors for the disease non-modifiable, potentially modifiable risk factors such as diet are of interest,” Dr. Sarah Brennan of Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, who led the analysis, noted in an email to Reuters Health.

It’s estimated that more than 120 out of every 100,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, yielding a lifetime risk of about 1 in 8. The idea that diet might influence these numbers is not new; yet solid evidence for such a link has remained elusive.

“Even though we have hypothesized a relationship between diet and the risk of breast cancer, showing it has been very hard to do,” Dr. Michelle Holmes, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health. Individual studies are often too small to uncover modest relationships; combining them, however, offers a better chance of detecting a diet’s true effects.

After carefully reviewing the relevant research to date, Brennan and her colleagues pooled the results of 18 studies that enrolled a total of more than 400,000 people. Each study aimed to associate breast cancer risks with at least one common dietary pattern: the “unhealthy” Western diet (high in red meats and refined grains), a more prudent “healthy” diet (high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains), or varying levels of alcohol drinking.

Since foods and beverages are never consumed in isolation, this more holistic view of intake better reflects a person’s diet than looking at particular nutrients, Brennan and her colleagues explain in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The team found an 11 percent lower risk of breast cancer among women in the highest versus lowest categories of the prudent diet, while those consuming larger amounts of wine, beer and spirits had a 21 percent increased risk — a relationship that has been highlighted in many previous studies. Surprisingly, no overall risk difference was seen between high and low categories of the Western diet.

Just how a healthy diet might lower breast cancer risk is not well understood. Alcohol’s link, on the other hand, is generally known: Estrogen levels are higher in postmenopausal women who drink alcohol, noted Holmes. And a higher lifetime exposure to estrogen has been tentatively linked to the disease.

Brennan stressed that these findings need to be interpreted cautiously, noting that there are inherent statistical problems in combining the results of multiple studies, in addition to the limitations of each included study, such as recall bias. She pointed to the need for more carefully designed studies in the future to further examine the diet-breast cancer link.

In the meantime, Holmes said: “Consuming a prudent, healthy diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a wise idea, because there is lots of scientific evidence that it prevents heart disease and diabetes. This study shows that an additional benefit might be a small decrease in breast cancer risk.”

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 10, 2010

Spa Tip Thursday: 13 DIY At Home Ideas

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We love this article by Glamour magazine…they have 13 great, easy and inexpensive at home spa ideas for rest and relaxation.  Which of these are your favorite?  What other at home spa ideas do you like?  Share with us…we’d love to feature it here on Spa Tip Thursdays!