Archive for December, 2008

Another blogger shares her personal top 10 of 2008.


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(SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, Dec. 30, 2008)

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) — Women with high levels of insulin in their blood appear to be more likely to develop breast cancer than those with lower insulin levels.

And that might be the link between obesity and breast cancer, say researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. High insulin levels have already been associated with obesity.

The researchers compared insulin levels in 835 women who developed breast cancer and 816 women who did not. All women were participating in the Women’s Health Initiative study. Those whose fasting insulin levels were the highest had a 1.5 times greater risk of breast cancer than did women with the lowest fasting insulin levels, the study found.

The risk was even greater among women who were not taking hormone therapy. The study found that those women were 2.4 times more likely to have developed breast cancer if their insulin levels were high than if they were low.

The findings were published in the Dec. 30 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In laboratory studies, insulin has been shown to stimulate the growth of breast cells. And, being overweight or obese has been identified as a risk factor for breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
“These data suggest that hyperinsulinemia [excess insulin in the blood] is an independent risk factor for breast cancer and may have a substantial role in explaining the obesity-breast cancer relationship,” the researchers wrote.

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Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) has a new free 40-page Guide to Understanding Lymphedema which covers how this chronic side effect develops, what your risks are, which signs to watch for and what to do should you develop lymphedema.

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Twitter Yuma Survivors http://www.twitter.com/yumasurvivors

This is a group of patients, survivors, caretakers, agency representatives, health care workers, community volunteers, Relay for Life coordinators, hospice workers, medical care professionals, nonprofit organizations and American Cancer Society workers. We first met as a group in October 2008 to address access to information and resources, including LOCAL resources for cancer patients and survivors, and to collaborate with local fundraising efforts.

Not everyone is that excited about using twitter yet – especially really busy people. And some of the group are not online. But we are starting where we are and we are going to use this to keep in touch, share information and resources as we develop.  http://www.twitter.com/yumasurvivors.

We are attracting some attention from outside resources, and that’s GREAT!

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candle-lightA common theme last year at the Life Beyond Cancer Retreat at Miraval was how to be vigilant but not anxious.

That was a year ago. I have been very slow to learn how to do this gracefully. I thought it was a balancing act, but I think I was mistaken.

As Sarah Weddington says, cancer cells are like Osama bin Laden.  “I don’t know if the cancer is dead or alive and hiding in body caves and waiting to jump out and shout ‘boo!’ I’m grateful to be NED (no evidence of disease) but I’d like to have a more permanent diagnosis.”

So we have schedules for checkups and tests and in between try to be vigilant and do our self-exams and our massage to prevent lymphedema and eat our broccoli and get our exercise but not worry too much about someone shouting “boo!”

I have been waking up at 3:00 a.m. so I began a vigil of sitting in silence in the deepest part of the night

Open in this moment. I trust in the darkness.

Waiting in trust. Growing in trust.

. . . drawn into the night’s silence

I keep vigil with eternal questions.

And only through this practice have I begun to experience that there is a difference between waiting (for test results, for the other shoe to drop, for a diagnosis, for the next checkup, for decisions to solidify) and keeping vigil.

“Anxious, fearful impatient waiting is nothing more than waiting. Waiting with purpose, patience, hope and love is vigilant waiting.”  –  from Seven Sacred Pauses by Macrina Wiederkehr)

I don’t want to just be waiting impatiently. I am trying to learn the art of holy waiting.

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From another breast cancer blog:

At the end of March of this year I had a mammogram that showed no signs of abnormal tissue. I thought I was good to go until the following year. One issue I discussed with my Doctor at that time was some itching I had on my left breast. He said it was probably just dry skin due to the cold whether. Well, I didn’t have dry skin or a rash normally associated with itching. The itching wasn’t severe it was just annoying and lasted for months. At the end of August I found a lump in that same area during a self breast exam. I have since learned that itching can be a symptom.

When I read this, I knew exactly what she meant. I had an itching sensation in the area where the tumor was found later. It isn’t the kind of itching you get from dry skin. It is a deep itching sensation, deep in the breast, around the cells that are growing out of control. Mine was intermittent, wasn’t relieved by showering or lotion, and didn’t go away until the tumor was removed. 

It is important for us to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us and to be firm and believe in ourselves and our feelings in the face of doctors that suggest that we dismiss these things as unimportant.


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Tonight on www.breastcancer.org
Ask-the-Expert Online Conference Tonight!:
Updates from the 2008 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
Wed., December 17, 7:00-8:30pm EST Ruth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. & Carol Kaplan, M.D.

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