Testing It Up » October 2010

Monthly Archives: October 2010

Early Disease Detection

After Breast Cancer: 10 Tips for Breast Cancer Survivors

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The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and its clinical partner, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, has released the last research-based tip sheet in a series that it produced in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The FHCRC provided tips and information regarding breast cancer prevention, screening and treatment, and now offers tips for those who survive the disease. The last tip sheet in the series is provided by Karen Syrjala, PhD., the director of behavioral sciences and co-director of the Survivorship Program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

breast cancerDr. Syrjala shared the following tips for breast cancer survivors:

1. Get a summary of your treatments, such as surgery and chemotherapy doses, so that these can be provided to your primary care providers.

2. Using the information regarding the treatments you have undergone, make a plan for monitoring the long-term effects of your cancer treatment.

3. Learn how to manage the fear of cancer coming back.

4. Get moving by engaging in such physical activities as walking or choosing to take the stairs, or join an exercise program.

5. Follow a healthy diet.

6. Live a healthy lifestyle, by not smoking, taking only limited amounts of alcohol, and using sunscreen to protect one’s skin, on top of eating healthy and exercising.

7.  Reclaim your body.

8.  Manage symptoms.

9. Connect with other survivors – sometimes, it is not enough to have the love and support of family and friends; there is a different comfort in being able to talk and spend time with someone who knows exactly what it is like.

10. Make use of resources. There are various community and online resources available to breast cancer survivors, such as Cancer Lifeline and LIVESTRONG.org.

Seattle Health Screening

Early Disease Detection Pregnancy & Fertility

Study Supports Hormone Replacement Therapy and Breast Cancer Link

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A new study shared by CBS News provides additional evidence linking hormone replacement therapy after menopause and breast cancer. There has been confusion among women regarding the risks versus the benefits of taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and this study indicates that HRT may prove to be dangerous.

Dr. Freya Schnabel of the Langone Medical Center of New York University was quoted as saying: “What’s important about this study is that it really provides tremendous clarity regarding the risks of hormone replacement therapy.”

hormone replacement therapyThe feature shared information regarding a large study of post-menopausal women conducted in 2002, which determined that the combination of estrogen and progesterone triggered an increase in breast cancer cases. The rate, according to the results of the study, was an estimated one extra case for every 1,000 women who are taking hormones for a year. After the report was released, there was a significant decrease in the number of women who took hormones, which also resulted in a decrease in breast cancer rates.

Observations of the women involved in that study continued for an average of 11 years, according to CBS, and it was determined that beyond a mere increase in the number of breast cancer cases, it was also observed that the cancers that patients developed were more likely to be advanced, and ultimately fatal. Schnabel went on to say: “I think from this point onward any woman who’s considering taking hormone replacement therapy will need to genuinely consider these risks.”

Hormone replacement therapy, however, is being prescribed for a reason; it may be helpful for women to keep themselves informed and do their own research, and to discuss thoroughly with their doctors what the risks are.

New York Health Screening

Health & Wellness

Advantages and Disadvantages of Caffeine

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The most well-known caffeine fix is coffee. It’s one of the most popular drinks in the world. Studies have proven that caffeine is not at all harmful when taken in the right amount. Negative side effects usually happen when you had too much of the substance in your system. Let’s take a look at the positive and negative factors that are affiliated with caffeine intake.

Positive Side Effects of Caffeine

caffeinea. Alertness – Caffeine makes our brains active and alert for an hour or two. Regular intake has shown to increase brain power.

b. Anti-oxidant – Caffeine can prevent heart diseases. For as long as you do not have a heart disease to begin with, caffeine can help prevent serious heart diseases and even some forms of cancer.

c. Stamina – Taking caffeine before exercising and working out slows down production of adenosine which causes muscle fatigue.

Negative Side Effects of Caffeine

a. Addiction – When you start out the habit of drinking coffee every day, you will notice that in the long run, your body will be craving for it every day too. This is because caffeine is addictive. When we skip it, we become irritable, tired or depressed or even have headaches.

b. Dehydration – Caffeine in coffee has diuretic properties which can cause dehydration.

c. Panic attacks – Heavy doses of caffeine in our body for a long period of time can cause the fight-or-flight instinct and panic attacks. A person begins to have shaky hands, sweaty skin, and the state of always thinking that something bad might happen.

Health & Wellness Pregnancy & Fertility

Understanding the Common Causes of Hormonal Imbalance

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More and more women are now suffering from symptoms of hormonal imbalances.  The problem in dealing with this abnormality in the body is that most doctors would look into the symptoms and find treatment for them without thoroughly examining the causes why such changes happen. Hormonal imbalances can be caused by the following:

hormonal imbalance1. Stress – There’s no question that stress is a cause for such a condition. Cortisol level increases due to stress and our system reacts by producing other hormones to cancel out the cortisol. This will ultimately lead to an imbalance in the hormones of the body.

2. Hormonal Supplements – Examples are birth control pills or other types of hormone supplements that causes abnormality in the otherwise normal levels of the body, thus an imbalance may take place.

3. Environmental Toxins – Food contaminants and pesticides are also factors for hormonal imbalance. The chemicals can signal the production of more estrogen which disrupts the normal procedures in the body.

4. Diet – The type and amount of food that you eat can have an effect on your hormones. A specific case for such is when you eat too much food that increase or decrease the levels of progesterone in the body. It is recommended that you eat healthy portions of fruits, vegetables, and protein like chicken or lean meat that maintain the balance of the body. Avoid processed foods as they can be harmful and may result to damaging conditions.

Substance Abuse

Drug Bust in Baja Yields 105 Tons of Marijuana

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In what is being touted as “one of the largest drug busts in recent Mexican history,” a report on the Los Angeles Times shared the seizure of 105 tons of marijuana by authorities. The operation happened on Monday morning.

marijuanaAn estimated ten thousand packages of marijuana were discovered hidden inside six cargo containers, after police were able to intercept a convoy of vehicles that were escorting a tractor-trailer, authorities revealed. The tractor-trailer had just left a warehouse in an industrial area in the city of Tijuana, and this is where the cargo containers were found.

Eleven people were arrested after a shootout. The warehouse, as well as two homes near the coast, was raided based on information gathered from the suspects. Smaller amounts of marijuana were said to have been found after the raid.

The loot, all packaged neatly, was shown to the media at the Morelos Army Base in Tijuana. Its street value was estimated at 4.2 billion pesos or $340 million, according to Gen. Alfonso Duarte Mojica, the top commander for the military in Baja, California. He also said that the drugs were destined for the United States.

Baja is known as a “major staging ground for drug smuggling in California,” and this recent bust serves as yet another blow against organized crime. Just last April, 19 tons of marijuana was seized by the military in a warehouse in Tijuana. A number of major drug cartel figures have also been arrested by authorities, something that brought down gang-war violence that also occurs in other border cities.

Los Angeles Drug Screening

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Happy Days Actor Tom Bosley Passes Away at 83

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Actor Tom Bosley, best remembered for playing Howard Cunningham in Happy Days, passed away on Tuesday. He was 83.

According to reports, Bosley succumbed to heart failure at a hospital near his home in Palm Springs. His agent, Sheryl Abrams, shared that Bosley was also battling lung cancer.

Tom BosleyTom Bosley was born in Chicago in 1927. His father was a real estate broker, while his mother was a former concert pianist. He joined the Navy at 17 and served during World War II, but returned home to enroll in pre-law at DePaul University. He got interested in acting, however, and eventually enrolled at the Radio Institute of Chicago.

Before finding fame in television, Bosley acted on Broadway, after moving to New York in 1950. His off-Broadway debut was in “Thieves Highway” in 1955. His breakthrough role, however, was playing the lead in the Pulitzer-prize winning play “Fiorello!,” about the life of New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia. His performance in “Fiorello!” earned Bosley a Tony Award.

He started appearing on television in the 60s, in such shows as “Diagnosis: Unknown”, “The Law and Mr. Jones”, and “The Virginian”.

Interestingly enough, Bosley shared how he initially turned down an offer to join the cast of Happy Days. A feature on the Navy Times shared the following excerpt from an interview that Bosley gave in 1986: “After rereading the pilot script, I changed my mind because of a scene between Howard Cunningham and Richie. The father/son situation was written so movingly, I fell in love with the project.”

Happy Days eventually became one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, and earned Bosley the No. 9 spot in the 2004 TV Guide list of “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.”

Chicago Health Screening

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Study Links Vitamin D to Prevention of Breast Cancer Recurrence

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A study published in the August 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology associates Vitamin D levels in the blood to the prevention of breast cancer recurrence, and eventual death from the disease, among early stage breast cancer patients. This was shared in a feature on FoodConsumer.org.

Researchers from the Mount Sinai Hospital in Ontario, Canada, determined that women who had a deficiency in vitamin D levels were 94 percent more likely to experience a recurrence of the disease, and 73 percent more likely to eventually succumb to it.

vitamin DA vitamin D deficiency was defined as having less than 50nmol/Li, while insufficiency was defined as having 50 to 72 nmol/Li. A patient with sufficient vitamin D levels is defined as one with more than 72 nmol/Li.

The study analyzed information gathered from 512 patients who were diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, from 1989 to 1996. Levels of vitamin D were measured in stored blood; 24 percent of the patients were found to have sufficient levels of vitamin D, while 37.5 percent were deemed deficient, and 38.5 percent were deemed insufficient. An average follow-up of 11.6 years revealed that 116 patients suffered from distant recurrences, and 106 died.

Many other studies suggest that vitamin D may help prevent breast cancer, and efforts are already under way towards coming up with vitamin D analogs that may be used as breast cancer drugs. Only high doses of vitamin D, though, may result in a “protective effect” against breast cancer, the feature clarified.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Yummy Treats That Can Help Keep Breast Cancer at Bay

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We are still in the Pink month of October, and we continue to bring various features related to breast cancer. This one will make some mouths water, while at the same time help in the prevention of breast cancer. A feature on iVillage.com shares various recipes for gastronomic treats that contain ingredients that help in the fight against breast cancer.

yogurtYogurt was the first featured ingredient, owing to the fact that it brings about an increase in the levels of anti-cancer compounds in animals. In order to take advantage of the cancer fighting benefits brought about by yogurt, one should look for yogurts with live, active cultures. There were recipes for more than just yogurt-based breakfast food: yogurt parfait, coconut milk smoothie, and an easy Greek dip.

Another ingredient that has an abundance of anti-oxidants is blueberries. A study from the City of Hope cancer center indicates that blueberries can hinder the growth of aggressive breast cancer. And one need not worry about being unable to get them when they’re not in season; frozen blueberries are just as effective. There is no need to think that blueberries can only be enjoyed as part of dessert; try recipes for Salmon with Blueberry Salsa, Greens with Chevre and Berries, and Chilled Blueberry Soup. Since blueberries are still very much known for dessert recipes, try the Blueberry-Blackberry Shortcake and the Triple Berry Parfait.

Several studies indicate that pomegranates are able to help prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. Use it as an ingredient in dishes such as Dijon Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze and Grilled Eggplant with Pomegranate Vinaigrette, for a tasty way to fight breast cancer.

Pregnancy & Fertility

Menopause: Know the Signs and Symptoms

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Menopause is a condition that varies from person to person. For some it can be easy; for others, it can be a lot harder and more stressful. It helps to know the signs and symptoms of menopause. We may be able to better understand what is happening if we have information regarding the changes that are taking place inside the body.

menopauseDid you know that symptoms can start as early as 10 years before the actual onset of menopause? Among the most common symptoms of menopause are headaches, hot flashes, irregular periods, hair loss, disrupted sleep, and bleeding. Extreme emotional stress among women is also a notable symptom of menopause. There are even extreme conditions like loss of interest in the sexual act and vaginal changes.

Menstrual cycles dramatically alter as an early indication that menopause is about to happen. Periods would be within a 24-day cycle instead of the usual 28 days. Some might come later and some earlier than the expected dates of your period. Irregularities include a light period in one cycle and with heavy bleeding on the next. There are also times that women will be missing periods for two months only to be back on the third month. This can greatly make women anxious and scared.

When a woman is regularly having mood swings and irritability, you may be able to blame it on menopause. Aside from these, memory loss, anxiety, fatigue, and lack of focus add up to the list. These changes all serve to remind the person that something is changing within the body.

It is never easy to deal with these changes in the body. If you are experiencing more severe symptoms, it is best to see your doctor for appropriate measures to take.

Health & Wellness Pregnancy & Fertility

Safe Remedies for Pregnancy Rhinitis

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Pregnancy Rhinitis refers to the stuffy, uncomfortable nasal condition that affects women at pregnancy. Its cause cannot be pointed out to any environmental factor and usually begins at the first trimester of pregnancy, but can also start anytime during the period. It can last for the whole duration of pregnancy and even a few weeks after a woman has given birth. Why it specifically occurs with pregnancy may be due to the high levels of estrogen and blood at this stage which cause the mucus membranes to swell and trigger rhinitis.

pregnancy rhinitisThe symptoms involved may vary from person to person. In general though, the signs of having such would normally include constant sneezing and coughing, stuffy nose, itchy nose, and headaches. All these will constantly manifest the whole time that a woman is pregnant and up to two weeks after giving birth.

There are a number of measures that can be done to combat pregnancy rhinitis. It would be dangerous for the baby if medications will be used so natural remedies are recommended. First, it’s always good to drink enough fluids and avoid caffeinated drinks. Second, taking a warm bath will be good as the steam helps to decongest the nasal passages. Third, elevating the head while at sleep can also help relieve some of the symptoms of rhinitis. Fourth, little exercises like walking can help control the condition. Lastly, having a humidifier in the room especially at night controls the moisture level and even the bacteria in the air.

If none of these natural remedies work, you can always opt to take medicines. It is a must, though, to see a doctor before starting any medication. Remember that there is another life that will be affected, so it pays to be always careful.