AN EPIDEMIC OF THYROID CANCER – REALLY??

district-210976_1280FIVE FACTS YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THYROID CANCER

Welcome back everyone!  It’s another #FACTUAL FRIDAY and time to examine something called the “epidemic of thyroid cancer.” You see, according to several recent news reports thyroid cancer is becoming the most diagnosed cancer in the world. In fact, it’s been reported by some sources as being of “epidemic proportions.”

Now, the word “epidemic” comes from the Greek epi and demos, which together mean “upon or above the people.” Today epidemic is a term used to describe “a rapid spread of an infectious disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time.”

Of course, thyroid cancer is not an infectious disease. Nor is it occurring in populations over a very short period of time. Moreover, according to The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Italy’s Aviano National Cancer Institute this reported “epidemic” is, in fact, mainly the result of over-diagnosis driven by new technologies.

So, here’s what these two agencies did. First, they gathered data from the cancer research department of the United Nations. This data came from twelve high-income countries in which thyroid cancer has become common. And over the years, the study noticed that the high amount of thyroid cancers reported in these twelve countries appeared to coincide with the introduction of ultrasonography for the thyroid glands.

To be sure, these ultrasounds found anomalies in the glands. But, up to 90 percent of those found in recent decades were growths “very unlikely” to cause any symptoms at all – let alone death. In addition, the use of CAT scans and magnetic resonance imaging or MRIs are adding to the detection of many non-lethal anomalies in the thyroid glands of healthy people of all ages.

For example, from 2003 to 2007 our team of researchers estimated that 90 percent of reported thyroid cancer cases in South Korea were due to over-diagnosis. During this same period, they estimated that 70 to 80 percent of the cases in Australia, France, Italy and the United States were due to over-diagnosis. And, they found that 50 percent of thyroid cancer cases in Japan, the Nordic countries, England and Scotland were also due to over-diagnosis of harmless anomalies.

All right – so what do we do? How do we protect ourselves from harm without creating more harm? Let’s start here:

FIVE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THYROID CANCER:

  1. GENDER AND AGE. For reasons unknown, women are approximately 3 times more likely than men to develop diseases of the thyroid, including cancer. Moreover, women are typically diagnosed in their 40s and 50s while men are typically diagnosed in their 60s and 70s.
  2. HEREDITY. Several inherited conditions can contribute to the development of thyroid cancer. These include an anomaly in the gene known as RET, familial adenomatous polyposis or FAP and Cowden disease.
  3. FAMILY MEDICAL HISTORY. This, of course, goes hand in hand with heredity. Individuals with a first-degree relative (a parent, sibling or child) with some form of thyroid cancer are more likely to develop this cancer themselves.
  4. CHILDHOOD RADIATION TREATMENTS. Radiation to the neck and head during childhood increases one’s risk for thyroid cancer. In the past, conditions such as acne, ringworm and enlarged tonsils were treated with radiation. More common today, lymphoma, Wilms tumor and neuroblastoma in children often are treated with radiation, which increases the risk for a subsequent thyroid cancer. Exposure to radiation as an adult carries much less risk.
  5. LACK OF IODINE. Diets low in iodine also increase one’s risk for thyroid cancer. In the industrialized countries of the world a lack of iodine in not usually a problem because it’s found in most table salts. However, more table salts without iodine are now being offered in which case, iodine needs to be obtained from another dietary source.

So, let’s review. Yes, it appears that the apparent and reported increase of thyroid cancer around the world may be greatly exaggerated. Between 50 to 90 percent of these cases are believed to involve harmless, non-lethal tumors and anomalies of the thyroid.

BUT, if any of the above five facts apply to you, you need to monitor the health of your thyroid carefully. Know your risks, discuss them with your primary physician and be pro-active in your healthcare regimen. As I always say, “Don’t be Surprised – be Prepared.”

I hope this information helps a bit. I’d like to thank our friends at IARC, the Aviano National Cancer Institute and the United Nations for their hard work and diligence – and for bringing clarity to a troubling issue.

And thanks to you, my friends, for joining me again 🙂 Until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .

TAKE THE COURSE AND TAKE CHARGE!!

Time to Review: THE SINGLE SOURCE CANCER COURSE, Volume 1, Medical Treatments/Conditions, pgs. 69-75.

 

 

 

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WEIGHT GAIN AFTER CANCER? FACT OR FICTION?

horizontal-162952_1280      DOES CANCER = WEIGHT GAIN?                                         IS IT A GIVEN?

Hello Everyone and Welcome to another #FACTUAL FRIDAY.

In case you missed it, a recent study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City finds that obesity is more common among we cancer survivors in the United States than the general population.

Now, this finding is based on a sample group of 539,000 American adults studied between the years of 1997 and 2014. In the control group of people with no history of cancer, the percentage of individuals considered obese in 1997 was 21 percent. This rose to a percentage of 29 percent by 2014 for an overall increase of 8 percent.

In the group of people with a history of cancer, the obesity rate of individuals went from 22 percent in 1997 to 32 percent by 2014. So, the increase of the obesity rate in cancer survivors rose 10 percent over the 17- year period.

And, here are the details:

  • Women survivors of colorectal cancer had the greatest increase in obesity rates especially among young, black women between 2005 and 2014. For male survivors, the greatest increase was among older, black men between 1997 and 2004.
  • For women survivors of breast cancer, the obesity rates increased most among young, white women one year after diagnosis between 2013 and 2014.
  • Male survivors of prostate cancer who were younger, white and diagnosed between 2005 and 2014 experienced the greatest increase in obesity rates.

So, what are we to do? Should we be worried? After all, like many of you I am a multiple cancer survivor of both colorectal AND breast cancer.

But, here are 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER when analyzing this study:

  1. First, remember the study showed an increase in obesity of people with no cancer history of 8 percent from 21 to 29 percent. In those people with a cancer history the rate rose 10 percent from 22 to 32 percent. That’s only a difference of 2 percentage points between the two groups. Overall, it really doesn’t sound too significant for a study period of 17 years.
  2. Second, 17 years is a long time. And, over time human beings tend to gain weight – no matter what – as we get older. So, it’s hard to really know if the weight gain in the cancer group was due to the cancer OR just the body’s natural aging process.
  3. Third, many of the colorectal cancer survivors may have undergone surgery known as an anterior resection as I did. As a result, the digestive tract is different. It can take a while to learn how it works best and what diet works best. But, this is a result of the surgery, not the cancer. And, it can be remedied.
  4. Fourth, the breast cancer survivors studied were women who gained their weight within one year of diagnosis between 2013 and 2014. Many treatments during the first year, including certain drugs or steroids can definitely cause a woman to gain weight during this time. And, often when the drugs are discontinued so is the weight gain.
  5. Fifth, when recovering from cancer we don’t always have a lot of energy. It’s sometimes hard to get things done. And, it can be especially challenging to exercise. Weight gain, therefore, might be remedied easily with moderate exercise. Again, that means this weight gain is not really a result of the cancer, but a result of a lack of exercise.

So, I think it’s far too early to panic 🙂 The difference in obesity rates between the two groups studied is not a large one. And, there are several things we can do to monitor our weight after cancer. It’s simply not a given that if you are diagnosed with cancer you have an increased chance of becoming obese.

Always remember to talk with your HealthCare Provider Team and your Primary Physician. Express your doubts and worries. Together you can come up with a plan that works for your particular situation. And, if it seems that weight gain is becoming a potential problem, tackle it head on.

Believe me, if I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT!

Thanks again for joining me everyone. Until next time stay in GOOD HEALTH and,

TAKE THE COURSE AND TAKE CHARGE!

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A LITTLE HUMOR FOR YOUR TUMOR

Good Morning Everyone – On this #Wellness Wednesday I’d like to share with you a Guest Blog that was published this month by my good friends at I HAD CANCER.  It’s all about the great things that happen to us when we laugh. And of course, you don’t have to have cancer to enjoy all the incredible benefits you gain from a good belly laugh. No matter what your situation may be, incorporate these simple tips into your day and see what a difference they make!

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Susan and Angel                    THE POWER OF LAUGHTER

As most of us over 40 know, Phyllis Diller was a comedienne. A consummate comedienne who paved the way for every other comedienne in the business today.

As luck would have it, Phyllis was my neighbor, mentor and friend for many years. After my third cancer diagnosis, I will never forget the non-stop jokes she told me and the outrageous stories she shared with me. She got me laughing and kept me laughing. And, one day she said to me, “I will never get cancer because I laugh every day.”

And, you know what? She never did. She passed away four years ago at 95 of natural causes – with a smile on her face.

Now, I don’t really know if laughter can prevent cancer. But, I do know it can help us survive cancer. And here’s why:

  • Laughing reduces the level of our stress hormone Cortisol. It also reduces the levels of adrenaline and epinephrine. And, less stress means more energy, a better mood and a more positive outlook.
  • It boosts our immune system. A good laugh increases our levels of 1gM, 1gG and Complement 3. One at a time, 1gM are our “first responder” antibodies that swarm the scene of any disease or infection. 1gG antibodies are responsible for long-term cellular immunity. And, Complement 3 is what I call the “cavalry,” a substance which shows up to help all the other antibodies pierce and destroy diseased cells. Hooray for the Good Guys!
  • Laughter activates our T-Cells. These soldier cells are the glue that bind all the other parts of our immune system together. They stand by until summoned and then — like heat-seeking missiles – they target and attack cancer cells everywhere in the body.
  • A good chuckle releases Endorphins. These are the body’s natural painkillers. In fact, the release of endorphins in our system is more effective for pain control than an equal amount of morphine. They provide us with a “natural high” that allows us to relax, stay calm and feel better.
  • It eases Depression. Depression is a common occurrence throughout the cancer process. But, a good laugh releases neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These “feel good” chemicals create a sense of happiness and well-being. So, give your blues the boot with a good old-fashioned belly laugh.

And, just how do we manage to laugh while fighting Cancer? Like this:

  • Watch a funny movie. There is an endless supply of comic videos and movies at your fingertips. Just go to the comedy section of your latest video device. Check out re-runs of your favorite television sitcoms. Create a library of silly, goofy movies. Watch cartoons. Tune into the Comedy Channel or YouTube for your daily fix of fun.
  • Play. It’s simply not possible to play with your child or pet without laughing. Playfulness is the key to laughter. And, laughter is the key to health and happiness. A day without play is a lost opportunity.
  • Baby Animal Videos. There is just nothing cuter than a bunch of crazy, clueless little fur-balls. Again, check out YouTube and other online sources. Adorable. Heart-warming. I dare you not to laugh.
  • Read a funny book. How about a collection of your favorite comic strips? Or a book of funny quotes? Or a selection of humorous short stories? Or a book of jokes by your favorite funny-person? There are a lot of guffaws out there just waiting for you.
  • Karaoke. Really, have you ever watched a non-singer sing and not laughed? By the way, the act of singing itself is healthy, uplifting and mood enhancing. And, when we add laughter to the mix we have a double whammy of fun and games. Silly Singing. It’s perfect!
  • Tell a joke or two. Anyone can tell a joke. Set aside time every day to share a joke with family and friends. Even if you don’t fall down laughing, a simple smile will get your “feel good” chemicals churning.

And, there we are. The WHY and HOW of LAUGHTER. It just might be the best medicine after all 🙂

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TAKE THE COURSE AND TAKE CHARGE!

Reprinted and revised from I HAD CANCER, August 4, 2016.

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4 EASY WAYS TO FEEL GOOD ALL DAY LONG

girls-407685_1280     MEET YOUR NEW BEST FRIENDS –     NEUROTRANSMITTERS!

WELCOME EVERYONE! We have a SPECIAL EDITION of #Wellness Wednesday this week. As many of you know, I was so happy to participate in the Indomitable Women Podcast Series in which I was interviewed by Kat Tozier.

My episode will be featured all week long. And, several additional interviews with women who have overcome the odds will continue throughout the summer.

I loved spending this time with Kat. I must say, it’s a bit harder to speak what’s on my mind than it is to write it. After all, when I’m writing I can change my sentences and wording all day long! But, Kat was so easy to work with. A real professional who put me at ease even when speaking about difficult, personal issues. And, as a survivor of three different cancers we had a lot of ground to cover!

Unfortunately, we only had so much time. And, we just weren’t able to really get into some topics that I feel could benefit from a little more exploration. To that end, this blog focuses on the particular topic of neurotransmitters and their importance in our overall well-being.

As you may recall, neurotransmitters are chemicals that are produced by our brain. Many are essential for good health and influence our every thought and action. Especially, those “feel good” chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.

And, here are FOUR VERY EASY WAYS to GET THOSE NEUROTRANSMITTERS FIRING and to KEEP THEM FIRING:

  1. SMILE. This is one of our most basic human responses. When our facial muscles form a smile we literally can trick our brain into thinking it’s happy. Our brain immediately increases its production of both serotonin and dopamine, which provide us with feelings of joy, confidence and well-being. Smiling also lowers the level of our stress hormone cortisol. This in turn stabilizes our mood, calms our nervous system and provides us with more energy. Moreover, smiling releases endorphins, which help relieve pain and create a mild euphoria. And, it doesn’t matter if your smile is forced or natural. The benefit will be the same 🙂
  2. AFFIRM. There is great power in the spoken word. You see, speech is energy. It affects our emotions and the way our brain works. When we say things like, “I am capable,” “I am strong,” or “I am healthy and happy,” it helps our brain build new neural pathways. Positive declarations, like smiling, release serotonin and dopamine into our systems. We begin to feel all the wonderful things we are verbally declaring. So, every morning as you stand in front of the mirror – speak your words out loud – firmly — in the present tense. It’s just a matter of time before your reflection begins to mirror everything your speech aspires to be.
  3. MOVE. Once again, I always like to say this is not about weight loss, toned abs or tight buns. It’s not about running a marathon or lifting 50 pound weights. It’s simply about moving. It’s about the mental clarity we gain from moderate exercise — especially during times of stress. Keeping the body moving helps reverse the detrimental effects of stress. It decreases our levels of cortisol and increases our levels of serotonin and dopamine. Simple movement helps repair the neurons in our brain that can be damaged by stress and depression. Just a leisurely walk or a few stretches can help keep our brains fluid and flexible, our mood elevated and our self-image positive.
  4. MEDITATE. There are many forms of meditation. Personally, I’ve been practicing Transcendental Meditation for most of my life. But, many meditations are surprisingly similar. Most require one to sit comfortably with the eyes closed. Some utilize a mantra – or sound. Some use visualization. But, all require that we carve this time out for ourselves. No interruptions. No phone calls. No texting. Just quiet, easy contemplation. It’s nothing we make happen. It’s simply something we allow to happen. As we focus softly on our body or, perhaps our breathing, our nervous system begins to relax. Our blood pressure decreases. Our levels of serotonin and dopamine increase. And, our feelings of physical well-being and mental peace take over. It’s the perfect way to balance a hectic day.

So, there we have it. Just a little more information on an important topic. Four very simple tips to help us feel good and stay healthy every day!

Many thanks again to Kat Tozier for all the time and attention she has invested in her wonderful Podcast Indomitable Women. It’s always so inspiring to hear the stories of women who have faced and overcome the challenges that so many of us experience. For as we share, we learn. And, we are all in this together.

On that note, thanks again for joining me everyone. Until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and,

TAKE THE COURSE AND TAKE CHARGE!

Please visit IndomitableWomen.org for more information and a library filled with Inspiring Stories from women facing all kinds of challenges.

And, you can listen to My Interview with Kat Tozier at: http://indomitablewomen.org/iwpodcast/iwp003

 

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THE POWER OF H20 – 10 GREAT REASONS TO DRINK YOUR WATER

                                                                                             WATER – OUR MOST IMPORTANT    SUMMER ACCESSORYglass-475446_1920

It’s #FACTUAL FRIDAY everyone and we are two thirds through another summer. Now, just in case you’ve forgotten, drinking plenty of water – especially during the hot summer months – is essential for Good Health and Wellness.

So, let’s review the TOP TEN BENEFITS OF HYDRATION and why WATER is our MOST IMPORTANT SUMMER ACCESSORY:

  1. IT REDUCES THE RISK OF CANCER. Yep. Absolutely true. You see, ample amounts of water help flush harmful toxins from our digestive system and colon. Water also dilutes the concentration of cancer-causing chemicals and bacteria in the urine. As a result, our risk of developing colon and bladder cancer is reduced.
  2. OFFERS RELIEF FROM FATIGUE. The process of hydration helps carry oxygenated blood to all our cells. Without enough water the heart has to work harder to do this job. A strain also is put on our other vital organs. This results in fatigue and exhaustion.
  3. GREAT FOR DIGESTION AND METABOLISM. Water aids our digestion and increases our metabolism. These two processes – along with water and fiber — are essential for a healthy and happy digestive system.
  4. AIDS WEIGHT LOSS. While water increases our metabolism it also flushes the by-products of fat intake. Drinking water also suppresses our appetite. Together, these three things help us maintain a healthy weight.
  5. IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION. Our bodies are about 70 percent water. So are our brains. Water keeps our brains nourished so we can think clearly, focus better and concentrate longer.
  6. REDUCES STRAINS AND SPRAINS. Proper hydration lubricates all our muscles, ligaments and joints. It keeps them flexible. This reduces our risk of injury during physical activity.
  7. BOOSTS OUR GOOD MOOD. Simply, our bodies are happy when they are properly hydrated. When our bodies feel better, we feel better. End of story.
  8. IMPROVES KIDNEY FUNCTION. Drinking water promotes urination, which helps flush the kidneys of toxins and bacteria. It also may help prevent painful kidney stones from developing by reducing the formation of mineral crystals in the urinary tract.
  9. IT MAKES US LOOK YOUNGER. Water is essential for healthy skin. It increases the elasticity of our skin, it moisturizes our skin and it keeps our skin cells plump. This, in turn, reduces lines and wrinkles and makes our skin glow.
  10. REDUCES ILLNESS. Drinking adequate amounts of water can improve our immune system.  It can help reduce colds, coughs and congestion. And, if you add a little lemon to your water, you can effectively fight the aches and pains of arthritis, treat intestinal upsets and help prevent respiratory illnesses.

Water. So simple and yet so powerful. It’s the essence of every human body part, organ and function. Make sure you have some on hand wherever this summer takes you. And, for maximum health be sure to continue this good habit throughout the year. Never underestimate the Power of H2O!

Thanks again for joining me everyone. Until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .

TAKE THE COURSE AND TAKE CHARGE!

 

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