Join Us for Breast Cancer Awareness Month Events Next Week!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we’ve got three great events we want to share next week and we are looking forward to a great turnout to support the Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative.

Next Wednesday, October 19th we’ll be at El Vato Tequila and Taco Bar in Mary Brickell Village. Join us at 7:00 p.m. for complimentary margaritas and light bites until 8:00 p.m. El Vato is located at 1010 S. Miami Avenue. This event is sponsored by House of Boho Jewelry and MIA Shoes.

From there, head over to Blue Martini at Mary Brickell Village where beginning at 9:00 p.m., you’ll receive a complimentary cocktail with your donation to WBHI!

On Saturday, October 22, The Shore Club is hosting the Miami Beach Pink Tape Party, sponsored by NUVO and Venge Media. Donate $10 to WBHI and receive a complimentary NUVO cocktail!

Join Us for a Pre-Game Tailgating!

We will be having a B4 PINK tailgate (non alcoholic!) just before the Palm Beach Gardens Community High  School foot ball game between 6 and 6:30pm!!  We will be bringing sodas and water in a cooler, some chips, pizza and chicken wings – and a special cake for the little birthday girl, Miss Danae to enjoy before the game!

We will be giving the B4 Pink T Shirt out at the event. At the event, there will be T-Shirts for a donation of $10 as well as the headbands and wristbands for a donation and canisters with our logo for donations – the students at the high school will be running this project.

The Palm Beach PINK patrol car

We are also happy to share that the Palm Beach Sheriffs Office’s Pink Patrol SUV will be out from 7pm to 9pm in support of our event and Breast Cancer awareness and prevention!!

See the links for more  


The game is located at:

Homecoming Game: Friday, September 30th , game starts at 7pm Palm Beach Gardens Community High School 4245 Holly DrivePalm Beach Gardens, FL 33140

We will also have flyers for the October 6th fundraising event in Palm Beach Gardens – if you know anyone who is interested in going to that Chili’s from 11am to 11pm, 10% of all sales will be donated to our mission!  But all attendees must have the flyer with them when they purchase their food.

 The Palm Beach Sheriff Office pink patrol car will also be out at the Chili’s from 11am to 2pm and WBHI Staff will be joining them with a table and information- attached is the flyer to share!

Please feel free to call Stephanie at 786-277-7305 or Emilia at 786-378-2650, should you get lost  . . .   Looking forward to seeing  you on Friday!!

Palm Beach Gardens High School Going Pink for Homecoming

B4Pink socks! Look for them on the Gators team Friday!

The color of the night will be pink as the Palm Beach Gardens High School kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness month with the Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative, Florida Affiliate (WBHI) at the Gators Homecoming football game Friday, September 30. It is a way to enjoy great Gator football, and support the fight against breast cancer.  It is also a wonderful opportunity for the community to raise money to support WBHI’s door-to-door outreach in the area. The football team will be wearing pink socks, and the students will don B4PINK t-shirts, headbands, and wristbands to raise awareness about the B4Pink movement and the WBHI. The B4Pink movement was created by WBHI to extend the awareness of the importance of early detection and healthy living as a way to prevent and beat cancer. One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Even more disturbing, approximately 40,000 women will die of breast cancer this year alone. With so many women at risk, it is crucial to promote early detection any way possible. The B4PINK movement targets women before they are diagnosed with breast cancer Palm Beach Gardens High School chose WBHI as a partner because of their active commitment to women in South Florida communities. The school is promoting the partnership and funds raised go toward the planned 2012 door-to-door outreach campaign in West Palm Beach neighborhoods. Because there is no cure for breast cancer, WBHI’s mission is to reduce the incidence of undetected, untreated breast cancer among the some of the most vulnerable in communities: uninsured, at-risk women. Teams of volunteers go door to door in targeted neighborhoods providing breast health awareness, education, free mammograms, referrals for low cost screening, and assistance to those participants requiring additional screening and treatment. If you can’t make Friday’s game, you can still help the school support the Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative’s door to door outreach campaigns. To donate to WBHI and help expand outreach in Palm Beach Gardens, visit or call 866.315.7711. For more information on the B4Pink Movement supporting the Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative, visit

Good Habits for Breast Health at Every Age

A woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is approximately one in eight. In addition to following the early detection guidelines, there are habits women should pick up to protect themselves against increasing their risk of developing breast cancer. The following tips for women are meant to help you protect your breast health while monitoring any changes . This way, problems can be caught early. Early detection has been shown to be a key factor in surviving a breast cancer diagnosis. You’re In Your 20s The habits you develop in your 20s can help reduce your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. 
  1. Get a clinical breast exam and become breast aware. A clinical breast exam is a physical breast exam performed by a medical professional. During your 20s, a clinical breast exam and discussion about your overall health and personal risk factors is a good way to take stock of what’s “normal” for you. The American Cancer Society recommends that women receive a clinical breast exam every three years in their 20s and 30s. Some doctors consider breast self-exams optional, but it’s a smart idea to be familiar with your breasts so that you will notice any small changes which you’ll want to bring to the attention of your doctor.
  2. Find out if you are high risk. If breast cancer runs in your family, you’ll want to discuss with your doctor a personal plan for understanding your risk. For example, you may want to consider being tested for the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 gene mutations, which are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
  3. Drink less alcohol. Dr. Anne McTiernan, the author of “Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer” advocates no more than one drink per day. Alcohol use increases your risk for breast cancer. McTiernan notes that one drink a day does not mean you can abstain all week and drink a week’s worth of drinks on Saturday night.
  4. New moms should breastfeed for at least six months. Some studies suggest that breastfeeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk, specifically for women who breast feed for one and a half to two years.  A study released by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center showed breastfeeding six months or longer reduced breast cancer risk by 20 percent.
  5. Exercise and eat right! Exercising at least 30 minutes per day, whether it’s by walking, biking, jogging, dancing or any other physical activity can reduce your breast cancer risk by about 20 percent. Plus, it’s a habit that is good for your bones, joints, heart and overall health. Eating healthy means limiting your intake of red meat to four ounces per day on average and avoiding processed meats like sausage and bologna. In addition, the National Cancer Institute has for years recommended eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
You’re In Your 30s Although breast cancer rates for women in their 30s are still pretty low, it’s time to start monitoring your breasts for changes. Cultivating breast health awareness is key in this decade. In addition to continuing the healthy habits you cultivated in your 20s, there are a few more things you can consider: 
  1. Get a clinical breast exam and become breast aware. Continuing to receive clinical breast exams every three years while in your 30s is part of the American Cancer Society’s early detection guidelines.
  2. Evaluate your risk to determine a plan of action. Monitor your own breasts for changes and report any concerns to your doctor. If you’re in a high risk group due to family history, your doctor may want you to start getting annual mammograms or MRIs. Additionally, your doctor can
  3. Keep stress in check. A recent study in Israel of women under 45 found that exposure to several stressful life events, such as divorce or death of parents, was associated with breast cancer. Cultivating happiness and optimism boosts your natural defense against illness. Simply adopting a “don’t worry, be happy” mantra won’t protect you from cancer, but a positive outlook will help you stick to all the other good habits you’ve developed, contributing to an overall healthy lifestyle.
You’re In Your 40s When you hit 40, you really need to start being vigilant about your health. At this point in life, breast cancer rates start to increase. In addition to limiting alcohol, eating right, exercising and limiting stress, remember to do the following:
  1. Schedule an annual mammogram and clinical exam. The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older get a mammogram and a clinical breast exam every year. Also, stay familiar with your own breasts: If you notice any changes, tell your doctor about them immediately. Chances are good that any changes you notice, such as fibrocystic breast changes, are harmless, but it’s still essential to have anything new or unusual checked out.
  2. Avoid unnecessary exposure to cancer-causing substances. This includes radiation and chemicals. Make sure that any physician who orders an x-ray for you, especially high dose types like CT scans, knows how many other xrays you’ve had. Unless it’s an emergency situation, you should ask if there are alternative examinations for your situation, such as an ultrasound or MRI. Your doctor will help you weigh the relative risk of momentary exposure to radiation versus not having an X-ray or CT scan that may be medically necessary. Scientists have identified over 200 potential breast carcinogens. Learn about them through the American Cancer Society’s analysis. Opt for foods and products containing mostly natural ingredients.
If You’re In Your 50s and Over As menopause hits, the risk of developing breast cancer rises. The average age of a woman who receives a breast cancer diagnosis is 62, which is why women in their 60s need to be more vigilant than ever about breast health. Taking care of your health beginning at age 50 is critical to reducing your risk of developing breast cancer. In addition to continuing to receive annual mammograms, eating right and staying active, there are a few additional habits you can pick up to reduce your risk of a breast cancer diagnosis.
  1. Avoid alcohol as much as possible.  A recent National Cancer Institute study of postmenopausal women found that women who had one to two small drinks a day were 32 percent more likely to develop the most common type of breast cancer. Women who had three drinks or more had as high as 51 percent increased risk.
  2. Maintain a healthy body weight. A healthy weight is a body mass index (BMI) of 25 percent or less. Research has shown that being overweight or obese (specifically in post menopausal women) increases your risk, even if you put the weight on as an adult. Additionally, overweight women had lower breast cancer survival rates and a greater chance of more aggressive disease than average weight or underweight women.
  3. Avoid or limit hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Hormone replacement therapy definitely increases breast cancer risk, although for women with major menopausal issues, doctors at the Fred Hutchison Cancer recommend limited courses of HRT for no more than five years.
  4. Up your vitamin D intake. Although the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400 IUs, some researchers think that higher levels – 1,000 IUs a day – is a convenient and low cost way to reduce breast cancer risk. To check your levels of vitamin D, ask your doctor for a blood test. He or she will help you determine if a supplement would be beneficial for you.
No matter what your age, the habits you develop to stay healthy also help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. While eating right, exercising and following the guidelines for early detection don’t guarantee that you won’t develop breast cancer, they are good habits to improve your life overall and limit unnecessary increases to your breast cancer risk.

The Chemical Connection – Protecting Yourself

There is a link between environmental chemicals and breast cancer. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself. While there are several known risk factors for breast cancer – obesity, alcohol use and genetic factors to name a few – some risk factors are still being researched. Scientists are studying the connection between chemicals and breast cancer. Though many studies are inconclusive, there have been some important findings about everyday products and their relationship to breast cancer risk. Women expose themselves to chemicals and toxins every day through products they put on their bodies, cleaners they use in and around the home, chemicals they breathe on the job, and even the foods they eat! Now, eating certain foods or cleaning the house is not going to be the sole reason a woman develops breast cancer, but chemicals may increase the risk of abnormal cell development, which may or may not result in cancer. Prevention is all about making choices that reduce breast cancer risk. Let’s take a closer look at some everyday chemicals and how they relate to breast cancer. Cigarette Smoke and Breast Cancer A number of studies have examined the possible connection between smoking and breast cancer. While the majority of these studies have found that smoking is actually not a breast cancer cause and doesn’t increase risk, a few studies have identified a relationship between the two. In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, found that smoking was linked with not only breast cancer, but also a diagnosis of breast cancer at an unusually young age — younger than age 55. Both mainstream and secondhand smoke contain chemicals that, in high concentrations, cause breast cancer in rodents. Chemicals in tobacco smoke reach breast tissue and are found in breast milk. In any case, this possible link to breast cancer is yet another reason to avoid smoking and/or secondhand smoke. BPA and Breast Cancer Bisphenol-A, or BPA, is a chemical found in many plastic products, including baby bottles, nipples, and pacifiers. It’s already been established that BPA affects the endocrine system and hormones, and now studies are showing that BPA may also be associated with increased breast cancer risk. Research studies have shown that exposure to BPA in babies led to increased breast cell growth and some loss of normal cell death, which could allow abnormal cells to grow. As research continues to point to the harmful effects of BPA on humans, it’s best to avoid them. Many manufacturers have stopped using BPA. Look for plastics labeled “BPA-free” to limit your exposure to this dangerous chemical. Pesticides and Breast Cancer Many pesticides have properties similar to estrogen, which allows breast cancer cells to replicate rapidly and the disease to spread. It seems probable therefore that these chemicals could increase breast cancer risk, although studies have been unable to definitively prove the connection. One study showed that older women exposed to the pesticide DDT and similar compounds were slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than women who weren’t exposed. Researchers couldn’t conclude that the pesticides are a breast cancer cause, but they did find that continued exposure to pesticides along with other risk factors for breast cancer could increase the risk of developing the disease. Parabens and Breast Cancer Parabens are preservatives found in cosmetics, skin care products and antiperspirants. They have been linked to breast cancer because a small study cited by the American Cancer Society found parabens in breast cancer cells. The study could not prove that the parabens caused the cells to develop into tumors or whether other factors besides use of cosmetics could have led to the presence of parabens. Further study is needed to prove or rule out parabens as a possible risk factor or cause of breast cancer, and parabens are not considered a health risk at this time. Women seeking to limit parabens in their beauty routine should look for products labeled “paraben free.” Protecting Yourself Even after decades of research, no one can definitively answer the question “What causes breast cancer?” Many of the studies being conducted regarding chemical exposure and breast cancer risk don’t have concrete answers yet. Prevention, simply put, is about limiting potential risk factors. Many of the chemicals listed are harmful in other ways, so limiting exposure to them is a good idea, even if the breast cancer link is in question. Furthermore, if you are at an increased risk of breast cancer based on known factors, you may want to take extra precaution to avoid being around these potentially toxic chemicals to protect yourself from breast cancer as much as possible.

Expert Panel Issues Lymphedema White Paper: Calls for Early Detection and Intervention to Reduce Lymphedema Progression

Avon Foundation for Women-sponsored white paper reports latest lymphedema clinical advances that could benefit many of the 2.3 million U.S. breast cancer survivors 

A compression sleeve used in lympedema treatment

New York City, July 27, 2011 – An expert panel issued a white paper examining new evidence that shows early detection and intervention hold the greatest promise for reducing breast cancer-related lymphedema, which affects up to one-third of the 180,000 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients annually and 2.3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. The Avon Foundation for Women, in partnership with the Lymphatic Research Foundation and the National Lymphedema Network, convened a group of leading scientists, clinicians and advocates in April 2011 to discuss recent advances in the early detection and early intervention of upper extremity lymphedema. The expert panel produced several recommendations, which are shared in a white paper released today, Recent Advances in Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema Detection and Treatment.
Continue reading

10 Common Breast Cancer Myths and Misunderstandings

Excerpted from 1. Myth: Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk. Reality: ALL women are at risk for breast cancer.  According to the American Cancer Society, roughly 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors for the disease. But the family-history risks are these: If a first-degree relative (a parent, sibling, or child) has had or has breast cancer, your risk of developing the disease approximately doubles. Having two first-degree relatives with the disease increases your risk even more. 2. Myth: Wearing an underwire bra increases your risk of getting breast cancer. Reality: Claims that underwire bras compress the lymphatic system of the breast, causing toxins to accumulate and cause breast cancer, have been widely debunked as unscientific. The consensus is that neither the type of bra you wear nor the tightness of your underwear or other clothing has any connection to breast cancer risk. 3. Myth: Wearing antiperspirant increases your risk of getting breast cancer. Reality: The American Cancer Society discredits this rumor, but admits that more research is needed. One small study did stumble on traces of parabens in a tiny sample of breast cancer tumors. Parabens, used as preservatives in some antiperspirants, have weak estrogen-like properties, but the study in question made no cause-and-effect connection between parabens and breast cancer, nor did it conclusively identify the source of the parabens found in tumors. Continue reading

FDA: Breast thermography not a substitute for mammography

(This information was released on June 2 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The original release can be found here.) Telethermographic, ‘infrared’ devices not approved for primary cancer screening

Thermographic image of breast tissue

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration h aswarned women not to substitute breast thermography for mammography to screen for breast cancer. Unlike mammography, in which an X-ray of the breast is taken, thermography produces an infrared image that shows the patterns of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body. Some health care providers claim thermography is superior to mammography as a screening method for breast cancer because it does not require radiation exposure or breast compression. However, the FDA is unaware of any valid scientific evidence showing that thermography, when used alone, is effective in screening for breast cancer. To date, the FDA has not approved a thermography device (also referred to as a telethermographic device) for use as a stand-alone to screen or diagnose breast cancer. The FDA has cleared thermography devices for use only as an additional diagnostic tool for breast cancer screening and diagnosis. Therefore, FDA says, thermography devices should not be used as a stand-alone method for breast cancer screening or diagnosis. Continue reading

Looking Back as We Move Forward

With your support in our 2011 Winter/Spring Outreach Campaign, The Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative, Florida Affiliate visited and educated an additional 5,767 households in Miami-Dade and Broward County, surpassing our goal for the Winter/Spring Outreach. Thanks to you support and dedication, we are now over half way to our goal of visiting 10,000 homes in South Florida in 2011.   Please join us as we embark upon this journey together to visit an additional 4,284 homes in Miami-Dade County during our 2011 Fall/Winter Outreach Campaign on September 3, 10, and 17, and October 8, 15, and 22.  Your participation could save a life!  Contact us at or 786.378.2650 to secure your participation in our upcoming life saving campaign in September and October of 2011.

Love is in the Air! (Volunteer Spotlight)

It is with great joy that we can announce that two members of the WBHI family are now engaged to be married. Staff member Stephanie Hoogenbergen and Community Partner Monica Massillon have each made the first step toward the altar with their respective partners. 

Mario Martinez (Stephanie's fiancé), Beatriz Matos, Stephanie Hoogenbergen, Andrea Ivory, Maria Carolina Gomez, Monica Massillon and Marlon Gilles (Monica's fiancé)

“When Marlon (Monica’s fiancé) first started coming out, I thought it was as a favor to me. But as time went on, I learned that he had really come to believe in the cause. I love that we can share this with one another,” said Monica. Both Stephanie and Monica’s fiancés have been committed not only to them, but to the work they are so passionate about. During each outreach season, our ladies can be seen with their fiancés setting up for that day’s outreach event in the wee hours of the morning. “I love that Mario (Stephanie’s fiancé) and I share a passion for the same cause,” says Stephanie. “I know that I haven’t just found a husband, but a partner in life. As our love continues to grow, so does our commitment to The Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative. We feel truly blessed.” We hope that you will join us in wishing them the best of luck on their upcoming nuptials.  Congratulations!