All Articles Tagged "cancer"
Angelina Jolie is a siren, a vixen. Exotic and curvy by Hollywood standards, she made a name for herself slinking across red carpets and film sets as the walking embodiment of sex. She’s the dark-haired beauty who stole the sexiest man in America from America’s blond sweetheart.
She’s the stuff of Hollywood legend. Making her announcement that she recently underwent a preventive double mastectomy all the more jarring.
In a New York Times op-ed, Jolie describes her decision-making and treatment process following the discovery that she carried a “faulty” gene, BRCA1. The presence of which sharply increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer (her mother passed away from ovarian cancer at the age of 56 after battling the disease for a decade).
“On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman,” she writes. “I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in now way diminishes my femininity.”
Jolie didn’t have to go public. Not even a whisper of her condition had leaked to the press. She could have had reconstructive surgery, walked the red carpet and rolled her eyes as blogs wondered if she had a boob job. Instead she used her personal struggle and celebrity to give a platform to a serious issue.
This approach falls in line with the humanitarian Jolie has become. An evolution that began when she started working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees after being exposed to humanitarian crises while filming the Lara Croft franchise.
“She’s the biggest name of all, and I think given her prominence and her visibility not only as a famous person but also a beautiful actress, it’s going to carry a lot of weight for women,” said Barron H. Lerner, a medical historian and the author of “The Breast Cancer Wars” told the New York Times.
The cost of testing for mutations of BRCA genes comes in at more than $3,000. Why the high price tag? The biotech company that discovered the gene filed a patent for it in 1995, giving them a monopoly on products that can test for mutations. The Supreme Court is still deciding whether a corporation can file a patent based on a gene invented by Mother Nature and present in every single cell in every single person on earth.
Jolie’s situation is seen as special and high-risk by the medical community. Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are estimated to cause only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers and 10 to 15 percent of ovarian cancers among white women in the United States. But statistics for other racial and ethnic groups are not available. Odd, given that African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer than their White counterparts.
Studies show that few Black women younger than 50, a population disproportionately afflicted with and dying from early-onset breast cancer, undergo genetic testing. Only one third of Black women aged 50 or younger who met national guidelines for genetic testing for breast cancer had been referred for such testing.
Moreover, the high cost of healthcare in this country — and the fact that many still lack coverage — make it cost-prohibitive for many to take basic tests, like a mammogram, let alone receive treatment.
Family history and financial status are thought to influence their treatment choices. “Through our study, we determined that 34 participants met national guidelines for BRCA testing,” study co-author Tuya Pal, M.D. said. “But only 13 reported that their health care providers referred them for genetic counseling and/or testing.”
Now that Jolie has the world talking, maybe the issues surrounding breast and ovarian cancer will get more attention.
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
My family SUCKED at being healthy. Over the past five years family members have been in and out of the hospital due to not going for regular check ups, many seizures/strokes, fibroids, hypertension and diabetes. Most, if not all of these deadly diseases, are a direct reflection of poor diet and exercise choices. Shortly after my aunt passed away in December 2012 – a woman whose last doctor’s appointment was in the early ’80s and who remained the picture of health until colon cancer claimed her – I got interested in eating healthier. I had given only a cursory glance to online articles about how food choices directly relate to cancer before, but now I was interested, if not heavily invested. It hit me all at once.
I didn’t have to wonder anymore. I didn’t have time to say, “I’ll get healthy tomorrow.” I didn’t try to talk myself out of it. I allowed the journey to begin. I started researching everything. Veganism and vegetarianism weren’t just hippie white folk fads anymore to me. They were real viable options for better health.
I didn’t see my body as indestructible anymore when I watched my mother hemorrhage to the point of near-death because of overgrown fibroid tumors. I didn’t take pride in the fact that I could eat whatever I wanted and still remain thin due to ridiculously high metabolism, as I watched my mother now struggle with her weight and her overall health. I didn’t feel good about my sedentary lifestyle when I watched people much older than me – I’m talking 70s and 80s – win battles against all sorts of terminal illnesses because they chose to educate themselves about nutrition and follow through with action. They were marathon runners, and I was sitting on the couch watching Ridiculousness eating Entenmann’s donuts. I’m 27. Things needed to change and they needed to change fast.
I first considered vegetarianism/veganism when I watched the documentary ‘Vegucated’. The film shows a young vegan filmmaker who finds three individuals of different demographics to participate in a month-long experiment of life as vegans. No meat, no animal byproducts, which includes cow’s milk, butter, eggs, etc. Not only did the documentary show how they navigated life free of meats and animal byproducts, it also showed how harmful a diet high in meat is to our overall health. It followed the documentary volunteers as they learned about the farming industry and genetic modification. They learned how to cook their own great meals free of meat or animal byproducts. It was inspiring to watch.
But could I forego the meat? Did I HAVE to? At this point, all I knew was that I wanted to be healthier. I wanted to have energy throughout the day without needing a shot of caffeine. I wanted to decrease my chances of developing a terminal illness. I wanted to be active. I just wanted good health, which I knew I did not have at this point. I may only be 107 pounds, but climbing a flight of stairs left me winded. Something was very wrong with that. So why not consider these other options?
I’m a black woman with a familial history of diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension and fibroids. I was horribly unaware of ALL of this until my mother’s hysterectomy last January and my aunt’s passing in December. The year of 2012 was a wake up call for me. With heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes as the four leading causes of death in African Americans, perhaps consideration of a lifestyle change wasn’t so crazy. Perhaps substituting fresh produce for a McDonald’s burger wasn’t so mind-blowing. Sure, it’s not fast, but it’ll save my life. I’m with that. Our people are dying because we don’t care how/what we eat – it’s a tradition for African Americans to eat large portions of unhealthy foods, to have little to no real nutrition education, or to not have access to more than fast/processed foods.
So why not consider, at the very least, adding a surplus of fresh fruits and vegetables to our diets? Why not consider substituting fresh herbs and spices for the salt?
I have decided to try a vegan diet. Not to prove anything, but just to see how much I can do. I have had a “I can’t live without meat!” mentality for most of my life. And honestly, I don’t know how I’m going to survive without butter, but the fun of it is to test the waters and see what happens. In deciding to take responsibility for my life, researching and exploring new ways to do so is a no-brainer. Though I am still in the research phase – gathering a nice little library of vegan meal and snack recipes, I am eating so many more fruits and vegetables in a day, I’ve taken up running and Pilates, and I’m planning to run two 5Ks by the end of the year. The cycle ends with me because I refuse to leave my health in the hands of anyone else. I’ve got one body and even if veganism doesn’t pan out for me – I’ve learned too much about the immense amount of freedom in food choices to go back to donut binges. I plan on sticking around.
I’m a Black woman who is considering veganism. I’m no less Black. I’m not crazy. I’m finally health-conscious.
Documentaries you should check out:
La Truly seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe www.about.me/latruly.
Nearly a month ago, we found out 33-year-old Ahmad “Real” Givens of VH1′s I Love New York and Real Chance of Love had been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Immediately, everyone who remembered him and his brother on TV felt a pang of sadness at someone so young and vibrant being faced with such a horrific battle, but the reality TV star is, thankfully, in high spirits. Yesterday, he gave fans an update on his Facebook page, and assured them he’s ready to fight the good fight and become a cancer survivor. He wrote:
Hey everyone,I know its been awhile since I’ve been on here.I’m sure most of you know I have colon cancer.At this moment I would like everyone to know I am doing a lot better after the chemo,changing my diet and the biggest impact of all which is God.He is truly amazing….It has truly touched my heart to see the love and support I have received from family,friends,associates,the media and all the people on facebook and twitter.
I want to say THANK YOU to everyone and all those who have donated.Your donations have helped more than you know and I don’t know how to thank you enough.I’m gonna fight this cancer with all my strength and with God’s grace and love,I believe I’m gonna beat this.I’ll keep u posted on my progress and again,I thank you for all the donations,love and support from everyone.Thank you and I love you all.God bless
When Ahmad went public with his diagnosis last month, he set up an account for donations to help with his treatment costs and medical bills. Donations can be made payable to account “Cancer Funds for Real,” Chase bank acct# 407662563. Let’s hope he continues to handle his treatment well and progress through this illness.
The Chicago Sun-Times, the newspaper where Roger Ebert unexpectedly got his start reviewing movies, reports that Ebert, 70, passed away today in Chicago. The iconic movie critic who wrote for the Times for 46 years and was on television for 31 had been battling cancer of the thyroid and salivary gland for the past decade. As a result of the treatment of his condition Ebert lost his lower jaw, the ability to speak and eat through his mouth in 2006.
Despite the setbacks in his health, Ebert remained dedicated to his work, reviewing 285 movies a year. His efforts have been celebrated throughout his career. In 1975, he became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize and in 2005, his name was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Shortly after he won the Pulitzer, Ebert achieved national recognition and notereity when he and Gene Siskel became the famous duo “Siskel and Ebert” launching their show “Coming Soon to a Theater Near You.” The show would go through several name changes but it was most popularly called, “Siskel & Ebert & The Movies” in 1986, when the partners moved to Buena Vista. This was also around the same time Ebert coined the catch phrase that would enter the lexicon: “two thumbs up.”
Born in 1942, Ebert knew he wanted to be a journalist from a very early age. He got his start working for the high school section of the News- Gazette in Champaign-Urbana. He attended the University of Illinois and studied abroad in South Africa on a Rotary Scholarship. He was accepted to the University of Chicago where he planned to earn his doctorate in English but he was given a job in journalism first.
He started reviewing movies, a profession that wasn’t regarded with much respect at the time. As we know now he had a knack for recognizing classic pieces of work. Ebert was one of the few mainstream critics who was able to critically and intelligently review black films without dismissing them as other critics have so often done out of ignorance or lack of accessibility.
But films weren’t the only places he was able to spot talent. In the ’80′s Ebert dated Oprah Winfrey and was allegedly the man who told her she could take her local television show, “AM Chicago” and receive national syndication. Oprah took the advice.
He also was an early investor in Google, a decision that would earn him millions of dollars throughout his later years.
In his 2011 autobiography, Life Itself, Ebert admitted that because he was afraid of displeasinig his controlling, alcoholic mother, he would never marry while she was alive. So after she was gone, in 1992, at 40 years old, he married attorney Chaz Hammel-Smith (later Hammelsmith). Ebert described his love for Chaz in his autobiography.
“She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she is the love of my life, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone.”
Before he passed, Ebert and his good friend Martin Scorsese were in talks about adapted Ebert’s autobiography into a film.
Ebert is survived by his wife, a step daughter and two step-grandchildren.
Those of you who are anticipating Robin Roberts’ return to Good Morning America will have to wait a bit longer.
Sources have informed TMZ that the beloved morning show host will not return to the show until May or June 2013. The show sources say that returning too soon with so many medical issues is too much of a risk to take for her immune system.
But don’t fret: the mid-year return is actually a good thing. Roberts is making great progress since her bone marrow transplant and this puts her right on track. As a matter of fact, Roberts posted the above picture on Saturday to mark her 100 day “anniversary” since the transplant.
Neither Roberts nor GMA are happy with the “late” return, especially since GMA execs know that a return will likely boast huge ratings in their morning show fight. GMa and NBC’s Today are consistently in a ratings battle, one that GMA has found a way to win for the past few months.
In the meantime, we can keep sending well wishes to Roberts. On her Twitter account, she always thanks her fans for thinking of her and sending tweets, cards and anything else they can get to her on her road to recovery.
We can’t wait to see you back on television regularly, Robin!
Let’s be honest: Rihanna catches a lot of heat for her choices so it is great when we can tell a story that “shouldn’t” warrant any negativity.
While on vacation in her hometown of Barbados (have you seen the pics – homegirl is having a great time), Rih took some time to visit the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown. According to the USA Today, she also donated 3.75 million in BArbadian dollars – equivalent to $1.75 million USD – for equipment to be used at the Clara Braithwaite Centre for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine located at the hospital. Clara Braithwaite was Rihanna’s grandmother, aka Grandma Dolly, who passed over the summer due to cancer.
She reportedly made a statement saying:
“I believe that this will have a huge impact on the people of Barbados. This was all done in effort to save lives or at least extend it and I thank you all for being a part of it.”
What an amazing gesture. Cancer research is so important as it seems that most of us have known someone who has lived with or currently living with such an ugly disease. All hospitals, big or small, can use as much help as possible in helping to find a cure.
Good job, Rihanna!
Cutest Spokeswoman Ever: 13-Year-Old YouTube Makeup Blogger And Cancer Patient Is Latest Face Of CoverGirl
I’m sure the announcement of Janelle Monae as a new face of CoverGirl probably blew your mind, but this new announcement is sure to give you a nasty (as in good) Kool-Aid smile on top of a blown mind!
YouTube makeup blogger, Talia Joy Castellano, is known for her pretty fierce tutorials online. But on top of that, she’s also known for her story of living as a young lady who has cancer (two forms, MDS and nueroblastoma), which she’s been doing since she was seven. When she was seven, Castellano was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, and now that she is 13, she recently found out that she has pre-leukemia. While most would probably let something like this get them down, Castellano has been extraordinarily positive, sharing her love of makeup with people online to keep her spirits up, which she says helps her feel beautiful on the inside and out. And people love her tutorials just as much as she loves giving them, because her YouTube channel has nearly 250,000 subscribers, and a massive 19 million views and counting. Her growing viewership and inspiring story even got the little lady with the doll-like eyes a spot on “Ellen” in September, where the host, a CoverGirl spokeswoman, crowned Castellano as an honorary CoverGirl. If that wasn’t enough, she also showered her with not only a chic makeup table, but also a whopping $20,000 from the company. And just like that, here we are today with Castellano’s image being released officially by the company (if you saw the episode of “Ellen” it was part of her honorary CoverGirl presents).
Castellano has come a very long way, and even though she has declined the opportunity to get a bone marrow transplant to aid in her pre-leukemia diagnosis and says there aren’t too many other options available for her, she just wants to forgo the pain and live her days on this earth as peaceful and happy as possible. She’s inspired a great deal of people, plus, she’s too cool and cute for school, right? Check out a video of her doing up her eyes and you’ll be surprised how great this little girl is with a brush and a video camera. What can you learn about makeup from a 13-year-old? Watch and learn:
We all know that eating lots of fruits and veggies is healthy for our bodies. But can it also be healthy for our wallets?
When grapefruit juice interacts with certain drugs, it has been found to increase the potency of those drugs. Recently, doctors found that could also be true for drugs being used to treat cancer.
“It’s important not to see this as a new cure for cancer,” Dr. Jerry Avorn, chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told ABC News. “But rather, it’s a very interesting way of using a known food-drug interaction as a means of getting better drug levels into cancer patients.”
Doctors using a transplant drug, sirolimus, on cancer patients found the level of that drug dramatically increased by 350 percent when coupled with grapefruit juice. The dosage was untouched. Not only does this keep side effects at bay, it also reduces the cost of these drugs.
“We’re talking about cutting those costs by a half to a third,” the lead researcher, Dr. Ezra Cohen, said.
Grapefruit juice isn’t the only food out there shown to have healthy qualities. Other foods found to have serious health benefits are Omega-3 rich seafood like wild salmon and sardines, antioxidant-rich blueberries, and broccoli. And eating in season is a good way to keep the doctor away.
And, of course, saving on the time and expense of health care is a good thing. This interesting article from Slate digs deeper into what the term “health care cost” really means. With health care costs eating away at the savings accounts of Americans old and young, determining how much is at stake when we get sick is critical. But recent findings showing that about half of Americans die with barely any assets and wealthier people are healthier people should drive you to add some healthy foods to your grocery shopping list.
Though you may not have realized, Maria Cole, wife of legendary singer Nat King Cole, and mother to daughter Natalie Cole, was a successful jazz singer in her own right.
Originally, from Boston, Massachusetts, Maria Hawkins was born in 1922. After her mother died, she spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and eventually moved to New York to pursue a singing career.
Duke Ellington heard recordings of Maria and hired her as a vocalist for his orchestra. She sang with Ellington and until 1946 when she broke out on her own performing in New York City clubs as the opening act for the Mills Brothers. It was during this time that she met Nat.
The couple were married in 1948 by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Maria continued touring and performing with her husband in the ’50s and created the Cole Cancer Foundation after Nat lost his battle with lung cancer in 1965.
In an interview with Ebony magazine, the couple explained why they adopted their daughter, Maria’s biological niece, Carol, also known”Cookie” and “Kelly,” in 1949. Natalie was born in 1950 and the couple’s twins, Timolin and Casey were born in 1961. Carol would later pass away from lung cancer in 2009, around the same time Natalie was undergoing a kidney transplant.
Maria passed away from a short battle with cancer on Tuesday at a hospice in Boca Raton. At the time of her death she was surrounded by her family members.
Aside from her three children, Maria is survived by a sister, two sons-in-law and six grandchildren.
Natalie and her siblings released a joint statement regarding their mother’s life and death:
“Our mom was in a class all by herself. She epitomized class, elegance, and truly defined what it is to be a real lady.
We are so blessed and privileged to have inherited the legacy that she leaves behind along with our father. She died how she lived – with great strength, courage and dignity, surrounded by her loving family.”
Maria Cole’s private services will be held in Glendale, California.
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Rihanna may be a tough good girl gone bad chick when it comes to the stage, but one thing that’s always been evident is she has a soft spot for her grandmother,Clara Braithwaite, whom she affectionately called Dolly. Unfortunately, over the weekend Miss Dolly lost her long battle with cancer in a New York Hospital.
Rihanna had brought Dolly over to the states from Barbados some time ago and frequently posted Instagram pics of her visiting her sick grandmother in her NYC hospital room. The two were often captured in very intimate moments like the ones seen here and you could tell how much love Rih Rih had for the matriarch of her family. We’re sure she’s in a lot of pain right now but on Twitter she seemed to be taking the news in stride early Sunday morning, saying:
Goodbye #GrangranDolly get your beauty rest until I see you
Thy Will be Done!
It is well done!
Chris Brown also tweeted about Miss Dolly’s passing, saying:
“Praying for family and the lost loved one. She was like my grandmother. Love you GRAN GRAN! RIP”
Despite the sad news, Rihanna still mustered the strength to perform at Sweden’s Peace & Love music festival yesterday afternoon. Initially, attendees seemed disappointed with Rihanna because she showed up late and appeared shaky throughout the lackluster performance but since learning of Miss Dolly’s death, fans have sent her an outpouring of support online. We’re wishing peace and comfort for her family at this time.
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