S. Korea curbs U.S. beef sales after confirmation of mad cow disease – CNN.com

Maybe it’s a sign from above that we should all just stop eating beef.  For what it’s worth, eating beef is also associated with higher rates of several cancers including pancreatic and breast cancer, and many other of the reproductive cancers.  Eating hamburger also may involve eating pink slime.  So all in all, I’d say it’s been a bad year for beef, and perhaps it will go on to be a bad decade for beef.  Those of us hoping to take steps to improve our health can only hope.  From CNN.com:  S. Korea curbs U.S. beef sales after confirmation of mad cow disease.

Phew — Now If We Can Get Komen to Focus on Prevention as well as Cure

The Susan G. Komen foundation just released a letter stating that they will continue to fund Planned Parenthood. Well, that’s a relief, but only a small one for me. The big thing I worry about in cancer activism is that the corporate influence is pushing us to look too much toward treatment and not enough at prevention. But that’s a story for another day. Today’s story is that the Sisterhood of American women and its supporters are still strong enough to carry the day and Planned Parenthood will continue to provide needed medical care for women.

Just Wanted to Keep You Abreast

Who doesn’t love boobies? They’re adorable! So exotic and graceful. They’re especially enchanting during courtship, the way they seem to puff themselves up. You just want to give them a squeeze.

Kids love boobies, too. In fact, some have taken to wearing bracelets to declare that very sentiment. Unfortunately, some school administrators have quickly put the kibosh on such accessorizing. This happened in South Dakota earlier this week, which seems rather strange given how far inland the state is. Do they even have boobies in that part of the country? Isn’t it too cold for them? Regardless, it seems silly to stifle the free expression of students simply because a Principal or two has got a thing against boobies. Maybe these fellows would feel differently if they could just see one up close, perhaps even hold one. Nah, it’ll never happen.

UPDATE: I’ve been busted. It appears I was misinformed. I had heard of the aforementioned booby ban in passing and did not adequately investigate the story. The boobies in question were not the blue-footed seabirds known for hunting fish by diving into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. They were…umm…you know…the other kind. Now, I feel like a boob.

Anyway, here’s the original news article from the Associated Press:

Rubber bracelets aimed at raising awareness about breast cancer and emblazoned with “I love boobies” are raising eyebrows among school officials in South Dakota.

This week, Baltic High School joined several schools nationwide to ban the popular bracelets with a message some say is in poor taste.

“I do think there are more proper ways to bring this plight to the attention of people, and I don’t think this is a proper way,” Principal Jim Aisenbrey told the Argus Leader.

Officials at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls have also told students not to wear the bracelets in school.

“Our concern is that the issue the wristbands are meant to address is a serious one, but the language used on the bracelets trivializes the issue,” said Principal Kyle Groos.

The bracelets that sell for about $4 in stores were created by the nonprofit Keep A Breast Foundation of Carlsbad, Calif. Proceeds go to the foundation’s programs.

Schools from Florida to California have banned the bracelets following objections from some students and parents.

Baltic resident Ann Aberson said cancer has affected several of her relatives, and she doesn’t have a problem with her two teenage daughters wearing the bracelets. “I guess I never thought of them as offensive,” she said. [full story]

For more information about the Keep A Breast Foundation, visit their website.

Women’s Cancer Screening Program Rescued!

I had a lot of reasons for attending Cambodian New Year at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet this Saturday, but top of the list was getting to talk to the good people at the Women’s Cancer Screening Program. They were one of the community groups running an information table and I used to coordinate with them when I worked in health promotion for the Providence Housing Authority.

Believe it or not, most people are not interested in spending more time at the doctor’s, even if they have no insurance. Outreach and education are key. Years of hard work, however, have paid off and with unemployment high more women are seeking out the program.

I remember one woman, working but uninsured. She knew something was wrong and asked for screening. She had a mastectomy on Valentines Day, which struck me as especially sad. However, I ran into her a few years after the surgery. She looked good, she was glad to be alive.

Other women I met were grateful to get the screening because they were paying for all their doctor’s visits, and this allowed them to stretch their health care budget.

My own mother’s experience of disclosing a lump that turned out to be cancer while on a doctor’s visit for something else has brought it close to home. I’m very grateful for Medicare, which covered her treatment.

The value and cost savings of early diagnosis seems so obvious that you would think this screening program would be rewarded, not punished for success. I was very sorry to see this headline last month in the Providence Journal

A federally financed program that provides free cancer screening for poor, uninsured women in Rhode Island has run out of money until July, drained by soaring demand as more women lose health insurance…

Marlene McCarthy, director of the Rhode Island Breast Cancer Coalition, said that in recent months her group “has been inundated with calls from women who need their mammograms and now lack health insurance.” Hospitals and health centers are also reporting significant increases in uninsured people needing care, a trend that can quickly strain resources.

But this week, things are looking better. Grant money has come through and the program will re-start in May.

At this time I am visiting a patient whose breast cancer was not caught early, and it a very sobering experience. I remembering attending the Race for the Cure one year and being shocked and amazed at the huge number of people who participated. We all know survivors and most of us have lost loved ones too.

Fundamental to health care reform is disease prevention. We don’t yet have a cure, or even a sure plan for prevention of cancer. However, with early detection we can reduce the cost in money and suffering.

Educate Yourself to Protect Your Body: Personal Care Products May Contain Toxins

Since 2004 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) launched Skin Deep, an online safety guide for cosmetics and personal care products. The aim was to fill in where companies and the government leave off: companies are allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish, and our government doesn’t require companies to test products for safety before they’re sold.

EWG’s scientists built Skin Deep to be a one-of-a-kind resource.  Take your shampoo or your child’s lip gloss or moisturizer and read more about the danger here: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/.  Our epidermis is the largest body organ and approximately 60% of what we put on our bodies is absorbing these toxic ingredients.  Those who know me know that I am committed to researching and sharing information about potentially harmful facts.  We all are trying to attain a healthy lifestyle and yet, we daily sabotage our bodies (through hair, hygiene, and skincare products) with carcinogens so monstrous they are literally harming our future abilities to procreate, fight off cancers and the like. 

It is sickening that the Personal Care Industry is undermining our abilities to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Cancer has become a common affliction or fatality and will further continue to rise.  Science reflects that toxins sit in the fatty cells of our bodies (i.e., breasts). Water, food, air, materials and personal care products all have toxins and this is completely unacceptable when you do the math and see how a combination has violated the EPA and FDA acceptable toxin limits. 

I plan to update the blog with information to aid you in making better choices.  In doing so, I am hopeful to you will see the damage that is being done and make a lifestyle change.  For now, here are some facts to ponder.  

U.S. President Barack Obama started to take action and recognizing that toxic chemicals exist in most of our skin care products and are penetrating our skin and causing cancer and reproductive problems. He stated that he wants to change the current laws in order for the government to start properly assessing the chemicals that go in our products and not allow any that have risk associated with them, and he’s not meaning tweaking ~ rather, a complete overhaul.

Currently 1,100 toxic ingredients which are banned in Europe but we allow them here.  I have studied toxins for years and I am sick to death of what has only been available to my children.   

Cancer is amongst us, therefore you must ask yourself… can we really be sure of the toxins we have been absorbing through our skin, and that they have no inpact on our other means of ingestion such as food, air and vaccines/medicines?  Work with me and let us remove one of the straws from the camels back, and alter the equation to a lesser number.   
December 1, 2009 in Barrington, Rhode Island ~ 15 year old Ava Anderson teamed up with her mother, Kim Anderson and they launched a first of its kind “Ava Anderson Non-Toxic” product line (http://www.avaandersonnontoxic.com/).  Ava read this article last year (http://www.ewg.org/reports/teens) and was driven to find an answer as to the toxic potions available and make them truly “free” of such harmful ingredients.  Recently, Ava was asked to go before Congress and testify, and further plead for the Cosmetic Industry to change in support of President Obama suggested legislation in September 2009.  For now, I would just like the opportunity to inform people as I feel “Knowledge is power, and Power is Knowledge”, and our children depend on us to make wise choices.   I pledge to you that this is about a toxic message, which you need to unravel.  Please take one minute to look at some of your products.  
Be well, Suzanne Arena