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End Of The Year In Good Health!

Being Thankful For Good Health! happy There are many things to be thankful for this holiday season – being with family, enjoying the company of friends, or living in a nice house, for example. If you have good health, you can be especially thankful. While most people think of Thanksgiving and Christmas as a time to overeat and indulge, you can still maintain good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle during the holidays. How to be Thankful and Healthy this Holiday Season Be grateful for the delicious food that everyone worked so hard to provide, but opt for heart-healthy, low calorie, low-fat foods whenever possible. Choose white turkey meat, plain vegetables, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, no-fat gravy and homemade pumpkin pie. The tryptophan (amino acis) in the turkey will help calm you, in case there is any stress during the holiday meal. Avoid heavy alcohol consumption. Avoid overeating by keeping portion sizes small. A portion of meat is about the size of the palm of your hand; a serving of potatoes is about the size of your fist. Double up on vegetables, which are low in calories, high in nutrients, and fill you up so you will not be tempted to overeat. Make a relish dish of raw vegetables and low fat, low-calorie dip for your home parties, or offer to bring it as a dish to pass. Go out for a walk at least once a day. Invite your friends and family to walk with you – you might be surprised how much further you will go when you walk as a group. Most of all, tell your family how grateful you are to share a meal with them. Share your fondest memories of the people seated at your table as well the memories of those who are no longer with you.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Prevention Strategies.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked by a pervasive presence of pink and campaigns by national and local organizations, serves as a reminder for all communities to be more aware of prevention, early detection, research and support in the fight against breast cancer. There are many risk factors that women cannot avoid, such as family history and genetics, older age, dense breasts and being white. However, people can make certain decisions or adopt behaviors that lower their risk. These are defined as preventative measures. While research into cancer prevention is ongoing, here are a few areas that are being studied, according to the National Cancer Institute: • Changing lifestyles and/or eating habits • Limiting exposure to cancer-causing entities • Using medicine to treat a precancerous condition or prevent cancer
  Addressing risk factors Certain habits, such as drinking and smoking, should be limited or avoided altogether. Women also should avoid exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, known as carcinogens such as air, water and soil pollution and cigarette smoke, or those that interfere with the body’s normal functions, according to the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure to radiation from medical imaging tests also should be limited, unless it is medically necessary. Additionally, women who are taking oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy should speak with a doctor about the associated risks. Good habits for women to adopt include breastfeeding their babies, if possible; exercising regularly; keeping a healthy weight; and getting sufficient nighttime sleep. “Staying healthy throughout your life will lower your risk of developing cancer, and improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs,” the CDC states. One of the most important aspects of cancer treatment is early detection. While a mammogram is the best way to detect breast cancer, this screening has benefits as well as limitations. For instance, according to the CDC, harms include false positive test results and undue radiation exposure. The CDC recommends women be familiar with how their breasts feel and look, which will help them notice “symptoms such as lumps, pain, or changes in size that may be of concern.” The National Cancer Institute provides an online interactive Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool to help women estimate their risk of developing invasive breast cancer. The tool is updated periodically as new research is made available. (Sources: “Breast Cancer Prevention (PDQ®)–Patient Version” National Cancer Institute. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon

Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon

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!

The Anti-Cancer Shopping Cart

Fuel your body’s natural defenses According to the American Cancer Society, roughly one-third of cancer deaths in the U.S. are related to diet, and another third are due to cigarette smoking. While there is no cure for cancer, physical activity and dietary habits are the most significant controllable determinant of cancer risk. Cancer begins when DNA molecules in our cells are altered. The cells begin growing and multiplying rapidly, forming tumors and disrupting the normal function of a particular organ or organs.  The relationship between diet and the development of cancer is two-fold. First there is the ingestion of foods that contain substances that can initiate cancer (carcinogens). An example of a carcinogen in food is sodium nitrite, a preservative found in processed foods like hotdogs and lunchmeat. Foods that contain nitrites should be avoided. Check labels and look for brands that offer nitrate-free hotdogs, bacon and lunchmeat. The second relationship between diet and cancer is the intake of cancer-fighting foods. Studies have shown that there are many foods, spices and herbs that can inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. These foods have compounds that influence our immune systems and others that have a direct effect on cancer cells. Adding cancer-fighting foods to your diet is a small step that you can take to improve your overall health and take advantage of your body’s natural ability to protect itself. “Superfoods” either reduce inflammation in the body or protect against free radicals. These foods work with your body every day to attack cancer-causing toxins and maintain healthy cell renewal. Best of all, many of these foods help control weight, give you energy and improve your overall health. Your Superfood Shopping Cart should contain all of these powerful anti-cancer foods, which should be incorporated into daily diet: Green Tea Green tea is the ultimate anti-cancer drink. Green tea is rich in compounds that can reduce the growth of new blood vessels that feed tumors. It’s also a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier (activating enzymes in the liver that eliminate toxins from the body), and it encourages cancer cell death. In the laboratory, it has even been shown to increase the effect of radiation on cancer cells. Once only found in Asian grocery stores and tea shops, green tea can be found in any supermarket. Look for Japanese green tea, which is more potent than the Chinese green tea. Both regular and decaf green teas have the same cancer-fighting properties. Two to three cups a day will give you the maximum benefit. Green tea powder can also be added to smoothies or yogurt, giving you an extra dose of antioxidants. Super Spices One of the best spices you can add to your anti-cancer shopping cart is ginger. Fresh ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory that combats certain cancer cells and can help slow tumor growth. Ginger can be added to many different meals and recipes. Slice it into a stir-fry or chop it and add it to a fresh fruit salad. Ginger can also be added to your favorite cake or muffin recipe. For individuals fighting cancer, ginger can also help alleviate the nausea brought on by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The most powerful natural anti-inflammatory spice available today is turmeric. Turmeric is commonly used in Indian and Caribbean cuisine, and is what gives curry dishes their bright orange-yellow color.  In the body, turmeric encourages the suicide of cancer cells, slows tumor growth and even increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Turmeric is a very mild spice, so adding a teaspoon of ground turmeric to vegetables, soups and salad dressings is an easy way to incorporate this super spice into your diet. Veggie Power When it comes to vegetables, the more colorful the better. Bright leafy green vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, bok choy, broccoli and Chinese cabbage all contain very potent anticancer molecules (sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol). These molecules help the body to eliminate the buildup of toxins and can prevent precancerous cells from developing into malignant tumors. Make the most out of the healing power of vegetables by steaming briefly or quickly stir-frying them. Never boil or overcook vegetables. Sulfurous vegetables such as garlic, onions and leeks are perfect accompaniments to the vegetables listed above and also contain potent anti-cancer compounds. Fish Several studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory long-chain omega-3s found in fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines and mackerel can help slow cancer cell growth in a large number of tumors including lung, breast, colon and prostate. The risk of developing several types of cancers is significantly lower in people who eat fish at least twice a week. If you don’t like fish or don’t have access to fresh fish in your area, be sure to take a high-quality purified fish-oil supplement daily. Cancer fighting fruits Citrus fruits and berries are the most powerful cancer-fighting fruits. Oranges, lemons and grapefruits all contain flavonoids, anti-inflammatory compounds that stimulate the detoxification of carcinogens in the liver. Eat whole fruits or sprinkle citrus zest into salad dressing or cereal. Citrus fruits can also be added to salsas or used to marinate chicken or fish dishes. Brightly colored berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries contain polyphenols like those found in green tea, which inhibit tumor growth. Two polyphenols found in berries, anthocyanidins and proantho­cyanidins, promote cancer cell death. A bowl of berries in the morning, with a cup of green tea is a perfect way to start the day. When not in season, choose frozen berries that can be added to cereals or smoothies. Frozen berries are just as potent as fresh! Save room for dessert! And now for the best news: dark chocolate is an anti-cancer superfood! Chocolates containing over 70 percent cocoa provide a rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols. One square of dark chocolate actually contains twice as many antioxidants as a glass of red wine, and close to the same amount found in a cup of green tea. This applies to dark chocolate only. The dairy in milk chocolate cancels out the cancer protection of the polyphenol compounds. Food can’t cure cancer, and the best of conventional medicine, such as surgery, chemotherapy and other treatments must be used to treat the disease. That being said, don’t neglect your own natural cancer-fighting capacity. Eating wholesome anticancer foods on a daily basis gives your body the best chance to fight against cancers caused by free radicals and cell damage in the body. Happy shopping!

Oh What a Night!

Andrea and Willie Ivory

Our 4th Annual Open the Door Reception was beyond successful! On Friday, March 18, the Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative (WBHI) held its 4th Annual Open the Door Reception in the elegant ballroom of Shula’s Hotel and Golf Club in Miami Lakes, bringing together the community, business leaders, donors and supporters for a wonderful night of music, food and fun. As guests arrived this year, they enjoyed complimentary Gekkeikan Sake drinks as they bid on the featured live and silent auction items! Upon entering the beautifully decorated ballroom, guests received commemorative event ad programs, which was an exciting first for us this year. The ad programs, an entitlement for sponsors, included a message from Andrea, program details, bios and photos of all the honorees as well as information on the auction items, sponsors and supporters of WBHI. WBHI volunteers greeted guests as they browsed the silent auction that featured one-of-a kind items, Heat memorabilia, spa packages, elegant jewelry, luxury travel and dining packages. The silent auction raised critical funds for our cause, and was once again a great success! Miami Jazz artist Jon Saxx worked and wowed the crowd,  performing hit tunes on his sax.

One-of-a-kind silent auction items

In addition to the silent auction, the live auction also exceeded our expectations. As bidders raised the stakes on our feature packages, our lovely Auctioneer, Mayte Padron Cordones kept the momentum going… and the bids rose. Nothing raises money more than a bidding war, and the room was filled with positive energy as our supporters generously bid in support of WBHI. The night was capped off with the honoree presentations. The always charming Channel 10 Anchor Calvin Hughes greeted the crowd and reminded all the guests about the importance of our cause and why the continued support of the Open the Door event is critical to our success. Founder Andrea Ivory introduced the honorees for the evening, Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate, Joshua Young and the Sunland Mark Connection. Guests listened to the honorees talk about their commitment to WBHI. Each of the honorees we recognized has been instrumental in building WBHI to where it is today. We thank everyone who attended, and hope that our guests enjoyed the evening as much as we did. The funds raised at the event will help us fight breast cancer, one household at a time through door to door outreach. To view all pictures of the event, visit the event photo gallery on our Facebook fan page. The Honorees

Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate

Josh Young

Sunland Mark Connection

Why Mammograms Matter

Getting an annual mammogram beginning at age forty is one of the best tools women have at their disposal to protect their health. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and this simple screening can detect breast cancers early, when they are smaller, easier to treat and the chances of survival are higher. All women 40 years and older should have annual mammograms, based on their physician’s recommendation. Women between the ages of 20 and 39 should have a clinical breast exam (an examination performed by a physician or other health care provider) every three years. When they are 40 years old, they should begin having clinical breast exams every year.  Breast self awareness is an important part of fighting breast cancer. Breast self examinations is an option for women beginning in their 20s. In spite of the fact that mammograms can detect between 80 and 90 percent of breast cancers in women without any symptoms, recent statistics are frightening. In a study released December 9, 2010 as a part of the 2010 Breast Cancer Symposium held in San Antonio, it was revealed that only about half of women over 40 years old are getting mammograms yearly. The study also found that even among insured women, the number of women getting their yearly mammograms is lower than desired. The group of physicians and researchers participating in the symposium agree on one thing: advocating mammography is more important than ever. According to the leaders in the industry, early detection has contributed to improvements in cancer survival rates. The 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer patients has improved from 63% in the early 1960s to more than 90% today. If the cancer is diagnosed while localized to the breast (meaning it hasn’t spread to lymph nodes or other areas), the survival rate is 98%. That is an amazing improvement.  In 2011, we will knock on more than 10,000 doors to educate women about the importance of breast health and provide them with free mammograms right in their own neighborhoods. Because there is no cure for cancer, we believe that our work is cut out for us. Early detection is critical to helping save lives. Help us as we educate 10,000 households about the importance of breast health awareness. We are always seeking volunteers for our Saturday outreach campaigns to join our efforts where we provide free awareness, education, screenings and referrals for women in underserved neighborhoods. Please secure your participation in these life saving efforts today by signing up on our volunteer sign up page today. You too, can save a life.