Monday, June 30, 2008

A drug company marketing tool or honest attempt to fundraise?

Or both?

Arimidex, a prescription drug for breast cancer has created a site called the “Celebration Chain”. According to their promotion, the “Celebration Chain is a way to honor special women in our lives who have overcome or are fighting breast cancer...”. Users create a virtual doll in honor of someone they know, then send (spam?) it to everyone they know.

For every doll created, Arimidex donates $1 to “a breast cancer charity”, up to $25,000. But no where on the site do they disclose which charity; and for all we know, they could consider their R&D team a charitable unit. Arimidex also fails to mention if they donate the revenue or proceeds from the program, i.e. do they take marketing and website development costs out of the amount donated?

My last concern is that the dolls are gender specific, and of course only female (skinny and busty females to be exact). And although most cases of breast cancer occur in females, there are still approximately 2,000 men diagnosed each year.

Putting cynicism behind, this may be a genuine attempt for a drug company to give back to the cancer community. We just want them to be transparent about their motives.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sadie Nardini Will Now Take Our Questions

Sadie Nardini was diagnosed with severe Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome as a teenager and grew up to become a fierce red-headed author with a successful Manhattan Yoga Studio. She will be just one of the teachers at September’s Yoga Month, a grassroots national campaign to inspire a healthy lifestyle and educate about the benefits of yoga. Scheduled to teach in 9 cities nationwide, Nardini sat down with Halle Tecco, Yoga Bear’s founder, to discuss Yoga Month’s initiative and how Nardini will be use her experience to empower others.

Why did you choose to participate in Yoga Month and what will you be doing for this initiative?
I will be teaching workshops in my own style of yoga, Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, which teaches students how to access their own inner strength, and learn to express it into the world in a mindful, effective way. I will also be speaking about my new book, The Road Trip Guide to the Soul, which is a step-by-step process to access that same inner connection and use it to re-align areas of life, like health and healing, relationships to self and others, finances and more.
As a yoga teacher and an author, my interest is to help as many people as possible find out about this brilliant way to center and heal. Yoga is one of the most empowering, do-it-yourself ways to have a balanced life, since anyone can do it, anywhere, anytime. And, besides having a quiet place and a little space, it's not reliant on anything but a desire to move towards health and greater well-being.
Yoga Month is helping to spread this same message that is so dear to my own heart across the country. It's making yoga in all its many forms accessible to people who might not yet have had the opportunity to see how it can positively impact their lives. I want to be a part of this widening scope of yoga teachings, and offer the practice that helped my own life vastly improve to others seeking a way to do the same for themselves.

Yoga Month will be hosting events in numerous cities around the US. Who is your target demographic?
We are targeting anyone and everyone who would like to learn about the physical, mental and emotional benefits yoga can provide. We have workshops geared towards all fitness levels and interests, and we did that on purpose. We don't want to turn anyone away who is seeking more information about how to bring this healing modality into their own lives to help them towards their goals. There are vigorous physical workshops, like mine, where if someone felt more comfortable listening and taking notes, they would learn just as much about coming back to their center. There are meditation-centric workshops, like Max Simon's wonderful Get Self Centered classes, where any experience level is welcome to come and calm the mind. Whether it's a lecture on the medical benefits of yoga and meditation, a nutrition seminar or an on-the-mat lesson for any level, Yoga Month has it.

Yoga Month will be visiting 10 cities throughout the end of August through September. Cities to include: Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Boston, New York City, Chicago, Austin, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Vancouver. All proceeds will benefit the charity Youth Health Alliance. To pre-register for the event click here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sign this petition!

There are approximately 70,000 people aged 15-39 diagnosed with cancer every year. For over two decades there has been little or no improvement in survival for this age group. By signing this bill, you are supporting the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Bill of Rights to be established as a standard for care to meet the needs of this underserved population.

Allocating Funding by Type of Cancer

Here's the question: How should cancer funding be allocated among types of cancers? Should more money go towards the most common cancers or the most deadly?

Below is the N.C.I. cancer funding for some of the most common and deadliest cancers:

Cancer (Deaths) N.C.I. Funding per Death
Lung (162,460) $1,630
Colon (55,170) $4,566
Breast (41,430) $13,452
Pancreas (32,300 ) $2,297
Prostate (27,350) $11,298

Cancer (New cases) N.C.I. Funding per New Case
Prostate (234,460) $1,318
Breast (214,640) $2,596
Lung (174,470) $1,518
Colon (106,680) $2,361
Pancreas (33,730) $2,200

From the NY Times blog.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fight Cancer with a Vegan Diet and Yoga

A new study proves that a diet low in fat and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and moderate exercise such as walking and yoga can help combat prostate cancer. This magical pairing, it seems, turns on the genes that fight cancer “while effectively turning off others that can promote cancer.”

The new pilot study shows, for the first time, that men with low-risk prostate cancer who made improvements in fitness, stress management and nutrition -one linked with benefits when it comes to other diseases too - altered the use of genes that have a role in tumor progression.

As outlined in the article, a vegan diet consists of a meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free lifestyle sprinkled with tofu and lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. To read the complete article click here.

Over 45,000 Participate in National Race for the Cure

The Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure 5K Walk/Run took place on Saturday, June 7, 2008 in Washington, DC on the National Mall.

Over 45,000 runners and walkers came together to show their support for breast cancer survivors and their families, to support those battling the disease, and to remember those lost to the disease.

As the wave of pink moved through the city, taking up entire roads, passing by tourist attractions, and attracting the attention of passersby, I thought about why I was participating in the walk. I decided that it was because breast cancer needs to be a topic of conversation in households across the United States. The more we join together to spread messages of prevention and the importance of continued research, the more likely we are to bring about positive health outcomes not only for ourselves, but also for friends and family.

It is my hope that anyone who has a chance to participate in an event like the Race for the Cure chooses to do so. While efforts in breast cancer awareness and control can be valuable at an individual level, nothing compares to the power of united voices working to bring about awareness and change.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gender Symbolism in Breast Cancer Ads

Compare these two ads for breast cancer, which is usually associated with women despite the fact that it transcends gender. These two ads have starkly different approaches to fighting cancer. The one on the left depicts your friend, your mother. The second ad uses sex appeal to sell awareness, "Those awesome knockers on that gorgeous anonymous babe could someday be victims of breast cancer. And we can’t have that! Support breast cancer research!"

From Lisa:
[On the left] we see a woman who accepts some conventional definitions of femininity (make-up, pearls, earrings and, of course, pink), but rejects the idea that women should be ashamed to lose markers of femininity (”We can live without our hair. We can live without our breasts.”) and instead looks bravely towards a cure (”We cannot live without our hope for a cure.”) Plus, this image is about action (a race) instead of fashion (a scarf), suggesting that it is also a rejection of the idea that to be feminine is to be passive or powerless.
Read more commentary at Sociological Images.

Monday, June 16, 2008

a cancer sniffing dog?

In Seoul, South Korea, a black lab is making headlines for his ability to sniff out human cancer cells. Scientists are cloning the dog in hopes of producing more canines useful for human medical studies.
Cancer-sniffing dogs are trained to sit in front of anyone who carries the scent of cancer cells, and researchers in the past have found that cancer-sniffing dogs are especially accurate in detecting breast, prostate, lung and bladder cancer cells.

ABC News

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Yoga Bear at the LIVESTRONG Summit 2008

We're very excited to be part of the LIVESTRONG Summit 2008, put on by the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Yoga Bear founder Halle Tecco will be a delegate at this event for community leaders who care about cancer issues and grassroots advocacy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

“The Tumor Fell Into His Hands Like A Piece of Candy.”

If you were to see Cynthia Hardin today she would show you how flexible she is. At sixty-one years-old, Hardin can lift her foot above her shoulder and create a clean line with her lean leg, all while telling you how beating cancer made her a “walking miracle.”

Hardin did not know what to think when she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in April 2007. The cancer had metastasized to her brain and within days of her diagnosis, she underwent brain surgery. Because of the large size of the tumor in her lung, surgery was not an option.

“The body protects you,” she said. “I went through denial and then shock.”

She doesn’t remember much about her early recovery except how she played the piano in the dining room of “that God-awful home,” a recovery center in Marin County, Calif., and the refuge she found in kind-hearted friends that brought in meals and sat with her while she slept.

What she does remember clearly is her reluctance to begin chemotherapy and radiation.

“I asked the neurosurgeon to tell me why, what are my chances? How long will I survive without it,” Hardin said. “He said six to nine months.”

And then the neurosurgeon told Hardin to picture this: “A beautiful green lawn. All of a sudden, a dandelion pops up, you pluck it. What if seeds of the dandelion sprinkled across the lawn? Within a short time, more will pop up. Radiation kills seeds.”

For Hardin, the choice was clear. She had radiation “shots”, as she likes to call them, to her brain and a few to her lung. Terrified of chemotherapy, she used the influence of visual imagery and imagined the IV containing a “rainbow potion” full of rainbow colors, entering her body, cleaning out her system, healing the cancer. Throughout her recovery, Hardin used meditation and visual imagery to imagine her body improving. She imagined her brain tumor falling into her surgeon’s hands “like a piece of candy." She visualized her inoperable lung tumor shrinking with each dose of “rainbow potion.”

As a former professional dancer, the power of positive thought wasn’t the only entity promoting her wellness. Hardin, through a social worker at the Marin Independent Center for the Living, took up yoga, walking, mediation groups and physical therapy. She describes initially feeling like a colt, fumbling around as her body stretched and healed. She is hard on herself and insists she is learning to be patient. Uninsured, her activities were free through various scholarships, grants, and non-profit organizations.

Hardin finds free yoga classes in Mill Valley, where she lives. She is currently taking a “Yoga for Cancer” class exclusively for cancer patients and survivors. She loves the community of the class and the fact that she doesn’t have to explain anything to anybody. Hardin is also aware that soon her free yoga and pilates classes will be unavailable and is assisting her group to find another location to hold the free sessions.

In March, Hardin's doctors could not find her lung tumor, a tumor once too large to operate on. And in April, they couldn't find it either. Last week, her doctors were thrilled to see her so lively, and sent her away without ordering any other scans.

If you were to see Hardin today she would tell you how grateful she is and laugh that she has an appointment with spring, and must get going.
Cynthia at Disneyland while touring California.

Friday, June 6, 2008

yoga for cancer patients in Oakland

We wanted to share this wonderful program that Piedmont Yoga in Oakland, California has started.
Join therapeutic yoga instructor Cheryl Fenner Brown for a weekly class that incorporates gentle postures, mindful breathing, and relaxation to bring balance to the body, mind and emotions.

This class is appropriate for anyone who is living with any type of cancer, whether you have just been diagnosed, are receiving treatments, or are in remission. No prior experience with yoga is required and the class will include gentle active and restorative asana (yoga poses), mudras (hand gestures) for healing and relaxation, stress-relieving pranayama (breathing).

Visit their site or contact the instructor for more information at (510) 290-2641 or Email Cheryl.

woman loses her job after shaving her head for cancer charity

Stacey Fearnall shaved her long red hair to raise awareness and money for the charity Cops for Cancer, a Canadian fundraiser for cancer research. Upon returning to work, she was fired for this new look.

Fearnall might have grounds to sue on the basis of gender discrimination, said Barbara Hall, chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Hall noted that bald men work at restaurants.

"If something were acceptable if done by a man but not by a woman, then there might be a basis for a complaint," she told CBC News.

Read more here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Yoga for Cancer Patients + Survivors in NY

Yogi Alison Oracle has generously set up a free regular yoga class for cancer patients and survivors in Woodside NY (Queens). Here are the details:

Wednesday evenings 7:30-9PM
Woodside Ballet Academy
49-10 43rd Ave
between 49th and 50th St.
Woodside NY (queens)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

man diagnosed with cancer bets his life and wins

From BBC News:

Doctors diagnosed Jon Matthews with a rare form of lung cancer in April 2007 and gave him nine months to live.

But Mr Matthews, 58, made a £100 bet at 50 to one with William Hill bookmakers that he would beat the survival time for this condition.

On Sunday he is expected to pick up his £5,000 winnings, said a spokesman for William Hill.

'I'm holding on'

Mr Matthews, a former car dealer, told BBC News on Friday that he feels fine and plans to give half of his winnings to charity.

Mr Matthews said when he was first diagnosed he thought "well hang on a minute, I'm holding on".

"So I took the bet with the bookies and they gave me odds of fifty to one," he said.

"They wouldn't let me spend more than a £100, so £5,000 I'm due to collect on Sunday."

Graham Sharpe, media relations director with William Hill, said: "I am delighted I was able to lay him the bet and at least give him an incentive to be positive for a year."

Mr Sharpe said he had never come across a bet like this before.