Thursday, February 18, 2010

Aspirin reducing breast cancer deaths?

Last Tuesday, The Journal of Clinical Oncology published the results of a study showing that aspirin appears to have a dual benefit: it reduces both the risk of cancer death and the risk of early-stage breast cancer spreading to other body sites.

The study involved over 4,000 nurses who have been participating in the Nurses Health Study since 1976. Early-stage breast cancer survivors who took aspirin 2 - 5 days a week reduced their risk of death by 71%, and their risk of their cancer spreading by 60%. Interestingly, taking aspirin 6 to 7 times a week reduced death risk by 64% and spread risk by 43%, so more frequent dosing did not increase the protective effect of the drug.

How aspirin and other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen work to stop tumors from spreading and recurring is not yet known. Study researchers think that tumor growth may be fueled by inflammation; NSAIDs interfere with this process, depriving cancer cells of a favorable environment in which to grow and thrive.

Both estrogen-positive and non-hormone dependent tumors were adversely affected; so this finding could potentially benefit virtually all breast cancer patients.

At the moment, no one should start taking aspirin or other NSAIDs in the hope of preventing future cancers; patients on radiation or chemotherapy should NOT take these drugs due to their potential side effects. Also, NSAIDs can cause stomach irritation and bleeding; so consult with your oncologist first before adding any other drug to your cancer regimen.

Interesting news, though! Perhaps aspirin really is a "wonder drug" in an entirely new way.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It's My Birthday - Time To Look Fabulous!!

Today is my Birthday, the third one I've been able to celebrate since being diagnosed! I'm not a girl who enjoys getting dressed up and going out; I'd rather relax at home. But, I can "dress up" and give myself a new look via the magic of the Internet. In the spirit of my friends at Fight Pink, I now have pink hair - without using any harmful chemicals!

Thanks to RuPaul's "dragulator" website , I can channel my inner fabulousness! Try it, it's really fun and great for a laugh!

This is my alter ego, "Cinnamon Lakewood"'ll see how I got this name if you visit the website.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Breast Cancer Isn't the #1 Killer of Women

With all of the constant publicity about breast cancer, you might be tempted to believe that it is the #1 killer of women. Breast cancer is so much in the public eye that it's easy to have the impression that most women die from it than any other medical cause. This is NOT the case; there is another disease which claims ONE of EVERY THREE WOMEN, and we all need to remember this fact (even myself, a breast cancer patient!).

Heart Disease claims the lives of more women than any other disease, even breast cancer! To raise awareness of this sobering fact, today has been designated as "National Wear Red Day" by the American Heart Association. Women wear red today to spread the message that Heart Disease claims far too many women (and men), and leads to years of disability and diminished quality of life for others.

My Mother had debilitating congestive heart failure for years; she was a heavy smoker for decades, and could never manage to quit. She had to sleep sitting up, could barely walk even a few steps without becoming exhausted, and she died at age 59 from a heart attack. My goal even before I lost her 22 years ago was to adopt a healthy lifestyle so that this would not happen to me. Until I was diagnosed with cancer, I led a model life in terms of heart health. I'm struggling to get back to my former weight and level of activity, because I know this is vital to my survival.

Do you know the risk factors for heart disease? Having even one of these doubles your risk of developing heart disease:

Physically inactive
High blood pressure
High cholesterol
Age (55 and older for women)
Family history of coronary disease

Visit the Go Red for Women website for valuable information and assistance in improving your heart health:

Do what you can to improve your risk factors and to lead a long, healthy life. We all can agree on this!