I promise

"I promise, Suzy... Even if it takes the rest of my life." - Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

What is Triple Negative Breast Cancer?


Just in recent years, Triple Negative Breast Cancer has sparked interest in the news where instead of calling the tumor as ER-negative, PR-negative, and HER2-negative; researchers began using the shorthand term, "Triple Negative," dubbed the "new type" type of cancer. Being Triple Negative, you don't have a targeted therapy and that your only treatment option is chemotherapy.

Triple Negative is seen in about 15% of all breast cancers. Triple Negative is a very aggressive cancer that tends to strike younger women, pre-menopause, especially among African-American women and women who have BRCA1 mutations. The tumor tends to be fast growing and is less likely to show up on an annual mammogram. TN is more likely to metastasis early on; has a high rate of recurrence in the first 2-3 years from diagnosis and has a poorer prognosis than other types of breast cancer due to lack of specific, targeted treatment for TNBC.

Carpe diem

Seize Each new Day with Renewed Strength,
Believe in Yourself, Go forward with
Courage and faith
to face whatever Tomorrow may bring.

Chicks For Charity motto:

Enjoy life. Laugh a lot.
Work hard. Play hard.
Be thankful for our blessings.
Share the wisdom. Give back

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hugs to all of my TNBC sisters...

 Y'all an inspiration to me! 

Capturing the Beauty of Breast Cancer...

My Triple Negative Breast Cancer sister, Kellie D. Pack celebrates her 
5 years of being a survivor with a spectacular photo session showing her strength and beauty of overcoming losing her breasts. Kellie opted to not have reconstruction and is confident with "sporting the flat" and believes even though Cancer is Ugly, the Woman is NOT!
With Kellie's permission to post, I had asked  her if she has a message she would like to share for other women going through their journey...

"Remember You're BEAUTIFUL & Leave Your Sparkle Where Ever You Go!"  ~Kellie D. Pack

"This is My 5 yr Mark since Dx with TNBC,
 Stage 3 B-C with lymph-nodes pos..
I wanted to show The Beauty of Breast Cancer...
I'm Not defined by Breasts!"

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Does Not Discriminate: Introducing My TNBC Pink Sisters

Dr. Andrew Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid


How much: Sparingly
Healthy choices: Unsweetened dried fruit, dark chocolate, fruit sorbet
Why: Dark chocolate provides polyphenols with antioxidant activity. Choose dark chocolate with at least 70 percent pure cocoa and have an ounce a few times a week. Fruit sorbet is a better option than other frozen desserts.
How much: Optional, no more than 1-2 glasses per day
Healthy choices: Organic red wine
Why: Red wine has beneficial antioxidant activity. Limit intake to no more than 1-2 servings per day. If you do not drink alcohol, do not start.
How much: Daily
Healthy choices: High quality multivitamin/multimineral that includes key antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, mixed carotenoids, and selenium); co-enzyme Q10; 2-3 grams of a molecularly distilled fish oil; 2,000 IU of vitamin D3
Why: Supplements help fill any gaps in your diet when you are unable to get your daily requirement of micronutrients.  
How much: 2-4 cups per day
Healthy choices: White, green, oolong teas
Why: Tea is rich in catechins, antioxidant compounds that reduce inflammation. Purchase high-quality tea and learn how to correctly brew it for maximum taste and health benefits.
How much: Unlimited amounts
Healthy choices: Turmeric, curry powder (which contains turmeric), ginger and garlic (dried and fresh), chili peppers, basil, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme
Why: Use these herbs and spices generously to season foods. Turmeric and ginger are powerful, natural anti-inflammatory agents.

How much
: 1-2 servings a week (one portion is equal to 1 ounce of cheese, 1 eight-ounce serving of dairy, 1 egg, 3 ounces cooked poultry or skinless meat)
Healthy choices: High quality natural cheese and yogurt, omega-3 enriched eggs, skinless poultry, grass-fed lean meats
Why: In general, try to reduce consumption of animal foods. If you eat chicken, choose organic, cage-free chicken and remove the skin and associated fat. Use organic dairy products moderately, especially yogurt and natural cheeses such as Emmental (Swiss), Jarlsberg and true Parmesan. If you eat eggs, choose omega-3 enriched eggs (made by feeding hens a fl ax-meal-enriched diet), or organic eggs from free-range chickens.
How much: Unlimited amounts
Healthy choices: Shiitake, enokidake, maitake, oyster mushrooms (and wild mushrooms if available)
Why: These mushrooms contain compounds that enhance immune function. Never eat mushrooms raw, and minimize consumption of common commercial button mushrooms (including crimini and portobello).
How much: 1-2 servings per day (one serving is equal to ½ cup tofu or tempeh, 1 cup soymilk, ½ cup cooked edamame, 1 ounce of soynuts)
Healthy choices: Tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy nuts, soymilk
Why: Soy foods contain isoflavones that have antioxidant activity and are protective against cancer.  Choose whole soy foods over fractionated foods like isolated soy protein powders and imitation meats made with soy isolate. 
How much:  2-6 servings per week (one serving is equal to 4 ounces of fish or seafood)
Healthy choices: Wild Alaskan salmon (especially sockeye), herring, sardines, and black cod (sablefish)
Why: These fish are rich in omega-3 fats, which are strongly anti-inflammatory. If you choose not to eat fish, take a molecularly distilled fish oil supplement that provides both EPA and DHA in a dose of 2-3 grams per day.
How much:  5-7 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 teaspoon of oil, 2 walnuts, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed, 1 ounce of avocado)
Healthy choices: For cooking, use extra virgin olive oil and expeller-pressed organic canola oil. Other sources of healthy fats include nuts (especially walnuts), avocados, and seeds - including hemp seeds and freshly ground flaxseed. Omega-3 fats are also found in cold water fish, omega-3 enriched eggs, and whole soy foods. Organic, expeller pressed, high-oleic sunflower or safflower oils may also be used, as well as walnut and hazelnut oils in salads and dark roasted sesame oil as a flavoring for soups and stir-fries
Why: Healthy fats are those rich in either monounsaturated or omega-3 fats.  Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols with antioxidant activity and canola oil contains a small fraction of omega-3 fatty acids. 
How much: 
 3-5 servings a day (one serving is equal to about ½ cup cooked grains)
Healthy choices
: Brown rice, basmati rice, wild rice, buckwheat, groats, barley, quinoa, steel-cut oats
Why: Whole grains digest slowly, reducing frequency of spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation. "Whole grains" means grains that are intact or in a few large pieces, not whole wheat bread or other products made from flour.
PASTA (al dente)
How much
: 2-3 servings per week (one serving is equal to about ½ cup cooked pasta)
Healthy choices: Organic pasta, rice noodles, bean thread noodles, and part whole wheat and buckwheat noodles like Japanese udon and soba
Why: Pasta cooked al dente (when it has "tooth" to it) has a lower glycemic index than fully-cooked pasta. Low-glycemic-load carbohydrates should be the bulk of your carbohydrate intake to help minimize spikes in blood glucose levels.

How much: 1-2 servings per day (one serving is equal to ½ cup cooked beans or legumes)
Healthy choices: Beans like Anasazi, adzuki and black, as well as chickpeas, black-eyed peas and lentils
Why: Beans are rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium and soluble fiber.  They are a low-glycemic-load food.  Eat them well-cooked either whole or pureed into spreads like hummus.
How much: 4-5 servings per day minimum (one serving is equal to 2 cups salad greens, ½ cup vegetables cooked, raw or juiced)
Healthy Choices: Lightly cooked dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy and cauliflower), carrots, beets, onions, peas, squashes, sea vegetables and washed raw salad greens
Why: Vegetables are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.  Go for a wide range of colors, eat them both raw and cooked, and choose organic when possible.
How much:  3-4 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 medium size piece of fruit, ½ cup chopped fruit, ¼ cup of dried fruit)
Healthy choices: Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, oranges, pink grapefruit, red grapes, plums, pomegranates, blackberries, cherries, apples, and pears - all lower in glycemic load than most tropical fruits
Why: Fruits are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.  Go for a wide range of colors, choose fruit that is fresh in season or frozen, and buy organic when possible.
Additional Item:
How much: Throughout the day
Healthy choices: Drink pure water, or drinks that are mostly water (tea, very diluted fruit juice, sparkling water with lemon) throughout the day.
Why: Water is vital for overall functioning of the body.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dr. Andrew Weil's Lifestyle Recommendations for Lowering Breast Cancer Risk

"Dr. Weil recommends that all women diagnosed with breast cancer seek treatment with a qualified and experienced breast surgeon, oncologist and radiation specialist. However, he emphasizes the need for the following lifestyle measures to reduce the risks of developing breast cancer in the first place and to help prevent recurrences after treatment" :
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Weight gain after age 18 to between the ages of 50 and 60, has been consistently associated with risk of breast cancer after menopause. When the ovaries stop producing hormones after menopause, fat cells produce most of the estrogen in the female body. The more fat tissue in a woman's body, the higher her estrogen levels are likely to be, and the higher her risk of breast cancer.
  • Exercise. Regular physical activity can reduce the risks, possibly because it can lead to weight loss and decrease the amount of body fat, thereby reducing exposure to circulating estrogens produced by fat that could foster development of the disease.
  • Reduce exposure to xenoestrogens. A large number of synthetic chemical compounds that we all encounter have estrogen-like activity. Among them: common pesticides, industrial pollutants and hormone residues in meat, poultry and dairy products. While evidence linking these hormones to breast cancer is conflicting, Dr. Weil recommends limiting exposure as much as possible. Choosing hormone-free dairy and animal products and organic produce is a good start.
  • Avoid alcohol. A study reported in the November 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the more a woman drinks, the higher her breast cancer risk. Data from a study including 108,986 nurses who were followed from 1980 to 2008 showed that having two or more alcoholic drinks daily increased a woman's risk of breast cancer by 1.5 times compared to women who never drank alcohol; for women who had one alcoholic drink per day, the risk was about 1.2 times higher than normal. Alcohol is believed to increase a woman's risk because it increases levels of estrogen and other hormones associated with hormone receptor positive breast cancer.
  • Avoid long-term hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Data from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study of hormone replacement therapy that was halted ahead of schedule in 2004 showed an increased risk of breast cancer among women who took HRT, a combination of estrogen and progestin to slow post-menopausal bone loss and relieve menopausal symptoms. Follow up studies have shown that this increased risk continues for about 11 years after women stop taking the hormones. However, when the WHI study was stopped, women who were taking estrogen alone had a 23 percent reduced risk of breast cancer compared to those who took a placebo. Since then, studies have shown that the lower risk persisted for at least five years. (Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) alone should only be prescribed for women who have had a hysterectomy - it presents a risk of endometrial cancer for women who still have a uterus. Adding progestin lowers this risk.) Until there are definitive data suggesting otherwise, Dr. Weil continues to recommend limiting use of HRT.
Nutrition and Supplements
  • Choose fats wisely. Studies have shown that women with a higher intake of olive oil have less breast cancer. Omega-3 fats, found in cold-water fish (especially wild salmon and sardines), freshly ground flaxseed and walnuts have also been associated with inhibiting the growth of breast tumors. Consider taking 2 grams of a good fish oil supplement daily.
  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruit. They contain cancer-protective phytochemicals, especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and watercress. Dr. Weil recommends eating 8 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits a day.
  • Eat less meat. Women who eat the most meat have a higher breast cancer risk than those who eat the least or none. If you eat meat, choose organic varieties to lessen exposure to residues of hormones used as growth promoters in cattle, and cook it less rather than more - a preference for well-done meat correlates with increased risk because carcinogenic compounds form as animal tissue is cooked at high temperatures.
  • Use freshly ground flaxseed or other sources of fiber daily. Diets high in fiber seem to help reduce estrogen levels and promote appropriate weight loss, thereby reducing the risk of breast cancer. In addition, the lignans contained in flax may have a protective effect against breast cancer.
  • Eat more soy. Although the isoflavones in soy have a mild estrogenic effect (they are able to bind to estrogen receptor sites in human tissue), soy foods contain many cancer-protective substances and also appear to possess anti-estrogenic effects. For this reason, and also because population studies have failed to show a relationship between soy consumption and increased risk of breast cancer, Dr. Weil recommends eating one serving of whole soy foods a day. If you have female children, he suggests starting them on whole soy foods early. Regular, moderate consumption of whole soy foods early in life influences development of breast tissue in ways that appear to reduce risk.
  • Drink green tea. Regular consumption of green tea has been linked to a lower incidence of many kinds of cancer.
  • Take a multivitamin. Choose one that contains vitamin D and antioxidants, all of which have been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. Although your diet should be the primary source of most of your nutrients, a good daily supplement can help insure that your intake is adequate.
(Click link to story)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Robin Roberts' Inspirational Acceptance Speech of the Arthur Ashe Award For Courage

Truly my Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor Hero... 

"Through it all I learned that true strength isn't when you face down life's challenges on your own. It's when you take them on by accepting the help, faith and love of others and knowing you are lucky to have those." ~ Robin Roberts

( Click link to story)

(Click Link to story)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Breast Cancer Gene Mutation

Who should have genetic counseling and consider genetic testing for hereditary breast cancer?

• A woman age 50 or younger who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
• A woman of any age of has had ovarian cancer or who has a first-degree* relative diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
• Multiple breast or ovarian cancers (primary cancer) in a woman or a first degree relative.
• Any individual with multiple family members with breast or ovarian cancer.
• Any male with diagnosed breast cancer or individuals, male or female, with a family history of male breast cancer.
• An individual with triple negative breast cancer at age 60 or younger; triple negative means the cancer cells lack certain biomarkers that make the cells responsive to treatment.
• An individual of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
*First-degree relatives include parents, siblings and children.
Sources: National Comprehensive Cancer Network; and Melissa Dempsey, genetics counselor, Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center

http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130702/NEWS/307029998/0/SEARCH (Click link to story)

Three women share their stories
http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130703/NEWS/307039998 (Click link to story)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor, Leticia Croft-Holguin Author of Children's Book, "Cancer Starts With C"

"Cancer survivor Leticia Croft-Holguin introduces cancer to children in a palatable, accessible fashion so that they can grasp the concepts and prepare for changes that will occur as their parents undergo treatment. Cancer Starts with C explains what cancer is and what may transpire, giving parents a much-needed tool to articulate or explain unsettling ideas to their children in the face of a jarring diagnosis." 

"At 28, Leticia Croft-Holguin was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer during her ninth month of pregnancy. She Underwent eight rounds of chemo, thirty rounds of radiation and seven surgeries. She became involved with Latinas Contra Cancer in 2010, where she established a program called Young Women and Breast Cancer." www.ymoms.org

Friday, July 12, 2013

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Thrives by Producing its Own Growth Factors

"The study identified new targeted therapies for patients with triple-negative breast cancer focused on signaling molecules called cytokines, which are essentially hormones produced by the cells to tell breast cancer cells to grow."

"This study also found strategies that can be used to target the hormones' ability to stimulate cancer, including blocking the cytokines' receptors, suppressing the production of the IL-6 hormone, or blocking an intracellular signaling molecule that transmits the IL-6 and IL-8 signal to tell the cell to grow."
 "Any of those strategies causes the suppression of triple-negative breast cancer growth," says Brown. "There are available antibodies to the IL-6 receptor and inhibitors of the intracellular kinases called STAT proteins. These drugs are available for clinical trials to treat triple-negative breast cancer."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

TNBC Statistics

"Some of the most 
comforting in words in the
universe are "me too." That
moment when you find out
that your struggle is also
someone else's struggle
that you're not alone, and
that others have been
down the same road."
~ Unknown

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Oily Fish Cuts Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Risk

"Researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center have found that omega-3 fatty acids and their metabolite products slow or stop the growth in the number of triple-negative breast cancer cells more effectively than cells from luminal types of the disease. The omega-3s worked against all types of cancerous cells, but the effect was observed to be stronger in triple-negative cell lines, reducing proliferation by as much as 90 per cent."

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