Weekly and Monthly Newsletter

Do I Need a Patient Advocate?

Many cancer patients are not able to do the research they need in order to make informed decisions, either because they are too sick or because they don’t have the skills. They can enlist friends or relatives to help, or they can hire a patient advocate.

Making Medical Decisions

When you are newly diagnosed with any serious illness, you will have to make decisions that could have life-or death consequences. You need to know all your treatment options, the likely survival outcomes, and all the side effects and other short-term and long-term risks for each option. You want to be very sure that you will be better off with treatment than without treatment, and you want to be sure that any treatments you choose are the best ones available. You should read whatever you can, and you should also ask questions of other patients and your doctors.

Cancer and the Precautionary Principle

As global climate change adversely impacts economic growth, the right-wing corporate elites are counting on new technologies to save the global economy. One is genetic engineering, which is creating entirely new organisms (GMOs) that don’t exist in nature.  Another is geo-engineering, which aims to alter the weather to counteract global warming (also used for military purposes).  Another is nanotechnology, which manipulates atoms and molecules.  What could go wrong? What are their effects on cancer?  It would seem that if ever the precautionary principle were called for, that time is now.  However, so long as corporations have the ability to corrupt politicians with money, citizens will be subjects in a global science experiment without our consent.

Body Weight and Breast Cancer

After I finished chemotherapy in 2011, my medical oncologist began expressing concern about my weight. Overweight is usually defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 25.  In postmenopausal women, overweight is considered a risk factor for estrogen receptor-positive...

My Anti-Cancer Diet

My integrative oncologist has me on a remission maintenance program designed to keep any residual cancer cells from proliferating and also designed to prevent the development of new cancers caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The program consists of diet, supplements, and physical fitness, as well as stress reduction and avoidance of carcinogens,

Understanding Anti-Estrogen Therapy

About 80% of breast cancers are estrogen-receptor positive (ER+), which means they need estrogen in order to grow. There are two main types of oral anti-estrogen therapy: selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) and aromatase inhibitors (AIs). While they both aim to slow or stop the growth of hormone receptor-positive tumors by preventing the cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow, they work by different mechanisms and have different safety profiles.

Radiation as a Cause of Breast Cancer

Radiation is a major environmental carcinogen. The most important distinction in terms of health is whether the radiation is ionizing or non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation has enough energy to remove electrons from atoms, which turns them into ions and creates free radicals. Cancer is the illness most commonly associated with ionizing radiation, because it damages the DNA in cells. Cells that are rapidly dividing, such as those in infants in growing children, are most sensitive to ionizing radiation. Pregnant women in particular should try to avoid ionizing radiation.

Textiles and Breast Cancer

Our skin is permeable, so everything we put on it is absorbed into our bodies. The chemicals used to make these fabrics and finishes have been linked to many health problems including cancer, immune system damage, behavioral problems and hormone disruption, and they also harm wildlife and the environment.

Lawn and Garden Products and Breast Cancer

Chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers all contain known or suspected carcinogens that can be absorbed through the skin, by mouth, or by breathing sprays, dusts, or vapors. They are especially dangerous to children and pets, and they also damage the environment.
Some gardeners now specialize in organic lawn and landscape care.  You can hire someone or you can do it yourself.

The Meaning of Life

I think there are three things that make life worthwhile.  Nobody achieves perfection in any of them, but I think our lives can be measured by the progress we make in each of these three areas.

Household Cleaning Products and Breast Cancer

Household cleaning products are a big issue for cancer patients because there are known or suspected carcinogens in so many things, including anything antibacterial (they contain pesticides); air fresheners; all-purpose cleaners; cleaning products for the bathroom, kitchen, floors, dishes, laundry, furniture; pet stain and odor eliminators; wood and tile cleaners; stainless steel cleaners; oven and BBQ cleaners; jewelry cleaners; tarnish removers; and much more.

Kitchenware, Food Packaging, and Breast Cancer

There are some food-related dangers in cookware and food packaging. In 2005 the EPA fined chemical giant DuPont a record $16.5 million because for decades it had been covering up the health hazards of a chemical known as C8, also called PFOA. In 2005 the EPA Science Advisory Board found that PFOA is a likely human carcinogen. PFOA was a main ingredient in making Teflon™, the non-stick coating used on pots, pans, bakeware, cooking utensils, and many small electric kitchen appliances. PFOA was also used to make grease-resistant coatings for food packaging, such as microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and wraps for greasy items like French fries

Personal Care Products and Breast Cancer

You may think of your skin as a protective barrier, but because of its pores, it acts more like a screen. That’s why medication patches applied to the skin can deliver drugs into the bloodstream. That means that any personal care products you put on your skin can also potentially enter the bloodstream. It has been estimated that if you use conventional personal care products like shampoo, toothpaste and shower gel every day, you can absorb almost five pounds of chemicals and toxins into your body every year. Putting chemicals on your skin or scalp may actually be worse than eating them.

The Truth About Cancer Charities

Pinktober is almost here. All the cancer charities are asking for our money and our time. Some want us to raise money for them by running in marathons, and every October we are encouraged to buy products that wear pink ribbons. Cancer patients and their supporters have responded with great generosity. But all cancer charities are not equal. Sadly, many of the cancer charities have been corrupted, taking corporate money and participating in pinkwashing

Plastic and Breast Cancer

Almost all commercially available plastic products leach chemicals with estrogenic activity, which is linked to an increase in breast cancer. The best solution, and one we can all do, is to reduce the amount of plastic products we are buying and using. This will be safer for us, safer for the environment, and usually cheaper as well.

Drinking Water and Breast Cancer

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just unveiled their Tap Water Database.  It provides the most complete source of information available on the state of American drinking water.  EWG collected data from the EPA and from state agencies based on testing done between 2010 and 2015 by 48,712 water utilities in all 50 states.  The utilities found 267 contaminants.

Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment of Breast Cancer

A bombshell study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in early 2017.  Danish researchers studied data on more than 1.4 million women aged 35 to 84 between 1980 and 2010.  They found that increased screening for breast cancer caught additional cases of small, slow-growing tumors that were unlikely to harm the patient, but it did not catch additional cases of more aggressive and dangerous cancer that were likely to kill the patients.

Understanding Food Labeling

A basic understanding of food labeling is helpful In order to make sure you have a healthy diet,. Many food labels are confusing, and some are intentionally misleading. Some label claims are controlled by the government, but most are simply unverified marketing claims. This guide should give you an understanding of the issues and provide a basis for making your shopping decisions.

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