Utah Breast Cancer Support Group

Non-denominational breast cancer support group in Utah for young women in their 20's, 30's and 40's. Friends by Chance. Sisters by Choice.

Young Survivor Sisters is a free, non-denominational breast cancer support group for women living in Utah who are in their 20's, 30's and 40's. We've been supporting each other like sisters since 2003 and welcome your participation. Together We Survive! To join the conversation, please join our Facebook Page

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Odd Vegetable Kills Breast Cancer Cells

I just read this article and thought some of you might find it interesting also. I found it at http://www.aolhealth.com/condition-center/breast-cancer/bitter-melon?icid=mainnetscapedl5link3http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aolhealth.com%2Fcondition-center%2Fbreast-cancer%2Fbitter-melon.

Odd Vegetable Kills Breast Cancer Cells
Getty Images By Marrecca Fiore
A vegetable used in Chinese and Indian medicine to treat diabetes may also destroy breast cancer cells, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of “Cancer Research,” a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Lead researcher Ratna Ray, Ph.D., a professor in the department of pathology at Saint Louis University, uses bitter melon in her stir fries but was surprised to find the vegetable’s extract also appears to “kill” breast cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying.
“To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the effect of bitter melon extract on cancer cells,” Ray said in a statement. “Our result was encouraging. We have shown that bitter melon extract significantly induced death in breast cancer cells and decreased their growth and spread.”
Bitter melon gets its name because it's among the most bitter of all vegetables, although it's also called African cucumber, balsam pear and bitter gourd. It is widely grown and used in India, Southeast Asia, China, Africa, and the Caribbean. It resembles a shriveled cucumber or gourd and the texture of the vegetable is described as being similar to both a cucumber and bell pepper. It's high in fiber and vitamin C. It also contains the B vitamins, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and B6, as well as magnesium, potassium and zinc.
In the East, bitter melon is often used in stir fries, soups, and stews, as well as for pickling.
In the U.S., bitter melon can purchased at specialty grocery stores, especially Asian and Indian grocers.
Ray told AOL Health she purchases the vegetable in either Asian or Indian grocery stores and cautioned that the taste may take some getting used to.
It's very bitter," she joked. "I don't mind because I like the taste, but some people might need to get used to it."Supplements have become very popular with Americans due to the vegetable's widely touted blood sugar benefits and can be purchased in both health food and health supplement stores such as GNC, as well as in drugstores. It can also be purchased as a tea. To date, Ray's research has not included the use of supplements and teas.
"We've only used the extract straight from the vegetable," she said.
Ray decided to test bitter melon's ability to fight breast cancer because it has been used for diabetes management and to lower cholesterol, .
She used human breast cancer cells in a controlled laboratory setting to conduct her experiments. She said the next step would be to test the extract in animals, which she plans to do within the next several months.
“Cancer prevention by the use of naturally occurring dietary substances is considered a practical approach to reduce the ever-increasing incidence of cancer. Studying a high-risk breast cancer population where bitter melon is taken as a dietary product will be an important area of future research,” Ray said.
Ray said bitter melon will probably not prove to be a miracle drug as women in places such as Asia where the vegetable is widely eaten still get breast cancer.
In the meantime, she said eating bitter melon does have many health benefits and certainly wouldn't harm anyone who wants to start adding it to their diets.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Raft for the Cure!!

Anyone up for an adventure?  How about a fun river-rafting adventure in Southern Utah?  50% off all proceeds go to Susan G. Komen.  Here are the details...



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Breast Cancer Fears Grow Around Household Cleaners - DailyFinance

This is a VERY INTERESTING article. Everyone should read it.

Breast Cancer Fears Grow Around Household Cleaners - DailyFinance


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nutrition and Healthy Foods During Cancer Treatment

I read a great article last week on Nutrition and Healthy Foods During Cancer Treatment. You can access it at http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/nutrition-and-healthy-foods-during-cancer-treatment or here is the whole text. I hope this helps those of you who are currently in treatment.

Candace Tatton

Nutrition and Healthy Foods During Cancer Treatment
Now, more than ever, you need good nutrition.
By R. Morgan GriffinWebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
When you're getting treatment for cancer, your body is under assault -- both from the cancer and the treatment itself. So it's more important than ever to make sure that you're getting the nutrition, vitamins, and minerals you need to stay strong.
But sometimes during cancer treatment, eating anything is tough. While chemotherapy is notorious for causing nausea, other cancer treatments -- from surgery to radiation -- can also affect how you eat. Just the psychological stress alone is enough to interfere with a person's appetite.
What's more, the whole notion of "good nutrition" may be turned on its head when you're in cancer treatment. "Eating healthy can mean something quite different during cancer treatment than it does before or after," says Rachel Zinaman, MPA, RD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering's Evelyn Lauder Breast Center.
So what is good cancer nutrition? And how can you eat well when eating is the last thing you feel like doing? Here are some tips from the experts.
Cancer Nutrition: Maintaining Strength and Energy
When it comes to fighting cancer fatigue and boosting strength with good cancer nutrition, you have to pay attention to protein. "The radiation, the surgery, the chemo, and the cancer itself can all increase the body's need for protein," says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Protein makes you heal faster. How can you get enough protein?
"Meats, poultry and fish are great sources of protein," says Sheri Knecht, RD, a dietitian at the South-Atlantic Division of the American Cancer Society. "But some people have trouble tolerating them during cancer treatment." So she also recommends easy-to-digest foods such as:
· Eggs
· Dairy products such as milk, cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt
· Beans, soy, and nuts -- including peanut butter or almond butter
As with any nutrient, dietitians recommend getting protein from natural food sources. But if that isn't working for you, try adding protein powders -- like whey or soy -- or powdered milk to your diet. If you have trouble chewing or swallowing because of your treatment, try mixing them in with soft foods such as mashed potatoes or fruit smoothies.
Don't wait until after you're already in treatment to beef up on protein for cancer nutrition. "We want people to be as healthy as possible before going into surgery, because their bodies will be under a lot of stress," Zinaman tells WebMD. "It's important to go into treatment with adequate stores of protein."
Cancer Nutrition: Avoiding Weight Loss
Unwanted weight loss can be a serious problem for some people in cancer treatment. As your body fights the cancer, and undergoes the stress of treatment, your metabolism may kick into high gear. But while your body might need more food, you're feeling too sick to eat it. Losing too much weight can affect your treatment or even force your doctor to stop it altogether.
Cancer Nutrition: Avoiding Weight Loss continued...
What should you do if you're at risk for weight loss?
· Dietitians suggest you eat foods that are calorically dense -- packing a lot of calories per ounce. Again, protein is ideal.
· If treatment is making your food taste bland, try spicing it up with curry, oregano, or cinnamon, says Zinaman.
· And -- odd as it may sound -- you may need more fat in your diet. Remember that the risks of weight loss are serious. Many dietitians say you can indulge in high-fat pizza or ice cream if that's the only way you can get enough calories.
However, not all cancers and cancer treatments lead to weight loss. For instance, breast cancer treatment often results in weight gain, says Zinaman. So don't assume that good cancer nutrition always means lots of high-calorie and high-fat foods. Ask your doctor or dietitian whether weight loss is something you actually need to worry about.
Cancer Nutrition: Fighting Nausea
Thanks to new drugs, debilitating nausea during chemotherapy isn't inevitable like it once was. But 70% to 80% of people on chemotherapy still have at least some nausea or vomiting. What foods will help?
Ginger is one old remedy for nausea. Experts say ginger does help some people, although by no means all. Other standards, like dry toast, may work too. "Many of the starchy foods often work with nausea," like crackers, pretzels, dry cereals, potatoes, and white rice, says Knecht.
On the whole, it's hard to make blanket suggestions about foods that fight nausea. The specifics vary from person to person.
"I had one person who said that fast-food fried chicken was the only thing that calmed his stomach," says Knecht. "Obviously, that's the exact opposite of what we usually recommend, but I told him if it worked, he should go with it."
Other techniques may help. Since it's hard to sit down to a full meal, eat frequent small snacks instead. Knowing you have to eat can be stressful when you're sick, says Zinaman, and that stress in turn makes it harder to eat. So she recommends breaking your usual dining habits -- try eating by candlelight, or with music on, or outside. Anything that avoids the normal associations may help.
Cancer Nutrition: Staying Hydrated
Drinking enough fluid is a key part of cancer nutrition. According to the American Cancer Society, many symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment -- fatigue, light-headedness, and nausea -- can actually result from dehydration.
People getting chemotherapy need to be especially careful about drinking enough -- usually eight to ten glasses a day. Some chemotherapy drugs can be tough on the kidneys, and lots of liquid can help protect your kidneys. If you're having diarrhea or vomiting, you're probably losing a lot of fluid that you need to replace.
Cancer Nutrition: Staying Hydrated continued...
"Just about any kind of liquid that the person can tolerate is OK," says Knecht, as long as the doctor doesn't say otherwise. Water, juices, and sports drinks are all fine. However, if your cancer treatment puts you at risk of gaining weight -- or for that matter, losing it -- pay attention to how many calories are in your drinks.
Are caffeinated drinks okay? Generally yes, although your doctor may not want you to count them among your eight to ten glasses a day. Ask your doctor if you should completely cut out alcohol. The answer depends on the type of cancer and the treatment.
Cancer Nutrition: What Foods Should I Avoid?
The short answer is simple: during treatment, avoid the foods that you can't tolerate. Just about anything else is OK, unless your doctor tells you something different.
Should you aim for a typical well-balanced diet, high in fruits and vegetables and low in sugars and unhealthy fats? Of course. That's always the ideal goal.
But if some of those foods aren't sitting well with you, don't worry about cutting them out right now. People with mouth sores may find that some fruits are too painful to eat. People who have nausea and diarrhea may find that they just can't tolerate the high-fiber breads and cereals. That's OK. Remember that treatment won't last forever. Once it's over, you can go back to healthier eating habits. The goal right now is to get through treatment however you can.
Of course, always follow your doctor's advice about cancer nutrition. Depending on your situation and any other health conditions, he or she might have specific recommendations.
Cancer Nutrition: Supplements and Risky Diets
While we hear a lot about using food as medicine these days, experts say that it's not a great idea when you're in cancer treatment. Don't adopt an extreme diet or start taking mega-doses of specific foods, supplements, or vitamins. Doing so could have real risks.
For instance, experts worry that eating excessive amounts of soy products -- such as tofu -- could theoretically encourage the growth of breast cancer. Even antioxidants -- thought by many to prevent cancer -- could have dangers during treatment, Zinaman says.
"Antioxidants help protect cells," Zinaman says. "So if someone were taking lots of antioxidants, they could theoretically be protecting the cancer cells we're trying to kill with treatment."
Never start taking any supplements -- or eating large quantities of specific foods -- without checking with your doctor first.
Getting Help With Cancer Nutrition
Dietitians are unanimous about one thing: there's no single cancer diet. The best approach to cancer nutrition depends on the type of cancer you have, the type of treatment you're getting, and perhaps most of all -- what you want. The diet that gets one person through cancer treatment won't work for someone else.
So don't fret over checklists of "good" and "bad" foods for cancer nutrition. Instead, talk to your doctor or schedule an appointment with a dietitian.
"The advantage of working with a dietitian is that you'll get more than vague, general statements about what to eat," says Zinaman. "A dietitian can come up with a targeted plan for you as an individual."


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Celebration of Life Dinner...as told by Erin Gadd

Hello sisters!

I blogged this recently on my family blog and decided I would share it with all of you.  Since, you are after all, my sisters!!

A special thanks to Ginger Johnson and Candace Tatton for the AMAZING Celebration of Life Dinner.  You guys are seriously amazing.  Love you both!  Thanks a million!

Here's my blog entry...

So,  I'm part of the best group ever.  It my breast cancer support group entitled, The Young Survivor Sisters .  It's a group another girl and I started after we were diagnosed with breast cancer 7 years ago.  It's a support group for women diagnosed with breast cancer under age 45.  One in every 8 women will get breast cancer...usually not in their twenties though.  So we're a rare breed. 

When a nurse coordinator put me in touch with another young woman battling breast cancer I felt an immediate connection.  Ginny Nelson ... (Ginny and her hubby)

and I were instant pals the second we started talking on the phone seven years ago.  Then we decided to meet for lunch along with another young survivor, Cheryl Pulsipher. (no relation, but the irony....)  After having lunch together and feeling so relieved to talk to someone about our experiences, challenges and fears, we knew we had something good going.  While I have AWESOME friends and family support, there is something extra special about connecting with another "sister" who has been through the same crap I have.

Ginny and I started meeting other young women at various places and realized what a benefit it was to get together and share stories.  Even if it was just to laugh and sometimes cry, it feels great to have someone who understands.  It proved to be an AWESOME resource for surgeons, doctors, reconstruction options and where to get the best wigs.  Ginny and I kept meeting more and more young women and decided we need to form a group and name ourselves.  We decided that ever since we've met each other, it was like having a sister...hence...Young Survivor Sisters.

Along the way, we met an AMAZING survivor named Ginger.   (Ginger and her hubby)

Ginger saw that keeping the group going was becoming somewhat burdensome on Ginny and I and she stepped in to help out.  Ginger has done AMAZING things for our group.  In the one year since she has been president, our group has gone from around 40 members to almost 80.  She designed these super cute cards to put in doctors offices to advertise our group.

She has worked tirelessly to get the word out.  We knew there were lots of young women out there who needed our group, but just didn't know how to find us.  Ginger has done so much to improve that.  Ginger started a yearly donated dinner entitled, Celebration of Life.  We have a nice dinner, (donated by a generous plastic surgeon Dr. Marge Massey) and enjoy a nice program and each other's company.

This year was AWESOME.  It was overwhelming to see so many faces that I'd never seen before.  Ginny and I were both so taken back that what was a small lunch in a McDonald's 7 years ago, has turned into this!!!  (click image to see larger...oh, if anyone wants a copy of their picture, just email me and I'll send it right over!)

I'm so grateful for the experiences, life lessons, and humility I learned from having cancer.  The experience was forever life-changing.  I feel like the person I am today, is due in large part to the lessons I learned while battling the disease.  Everything from self worth to physical illness and lots of lessons in between.  I grew an unbelievable amount spiritually and my testimony of the gospel has deepened imeasurably.   I know that meeting Ginny was not a lucky happen-stance.  It was a blessing from above.  These amazing young women have changed my life.  I have learned from them, laughed with them, and will forever be their best friends.

If you know a young woman who could benefit from our group, please refer them to our website.  It can make all the difference.
The Young Survivor Sisters


Books Available

Ginny and I (Erin) have collected a bunch of really great breast cancer related books and would love to share them with anyone interested in reading...Just leave a comment here on the blog and we'll arrange getting you the book!

Here's the list:

Finding the “CAN” in Cancer
By Nancy Emerson, Pam Leight, Susan Boonan and Terri Schinazi

Fighting for our future- How Young Women Find Strength, Hope, and Courage While Taking Control of Breast Cancer-
Forward by Ann Curry of the Today Show
By Beth Murphy

Voices of Breast Cancer- The Haling Companion: Stories for Courage, Comfort & Strength
Edited by the Healing Project

Just a Lump in the Road- Reflections of Young Breast Cancer Survivors
By Debbie Leifert, Gina Castronova, Dr. Tamara Brennan, Jackie Ehrilich, Cindy Goldberg, & Donna Palmisciano

Breast Cancer Survivor Fitness Plan
By Carolyn M. Kaelin, M.D., M.P.H.

Facing the Mirror With Cancer- A Guide to using Make-up to Make a Difference
By Lori Ovitz and Joanne Kabak

Breast Cancer Husband-- How to Help your Wife and (Yourself) Through Diagnosis, Treatment, & Beyond
By Marc Silver

First You Cry- The Classic Inspiring Story of One Woman’s Triumph Over Breast Cancer
By Betty Rollin

The Middle Place- A Memoir of Kelly’s battle with breast cancer
By Kelly Corrigan

Crazy, Sexy, Cancer Tips-
By Kris Carr--Forward by Sheryl Crow

Tools & Tips From the Trenches- Heartfelt Advice for Survivors Families & Friends
By Mary Olsen Kelly

Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor’s Soul
By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, & Mary Olsen Kelly

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