Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer’

the power of downward facing dog

Monday, February 8th, 2010

yoga woman at peace

Have you ever gone on a hike, a walk, or a run and felt tired but also very relaxed and at peace afterwards? We thought so. That is the magic of exercise and of focusing on something other than every day minutiae. Yoga classes, meditation and even simple relaxation techniques can also quiet the noise within and calm the mind. And it turns out that these practices are exceptionally good for your health. A recent study was conducted on cancer patients who were asked to try an 8-week stress reduction program and the results were staggering:

In a study involving 49 patients with breast cancer and 10 patients with prostate cancer, participation in an 8-week “mindfulness-based stress reduction” (MBSR) program was found to enhance quality of life, reduce stress symptoms, reduce cortisol levels, improve immune patterns, reduce systolic blood pressure and improve mood. The 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program consisted of relaxation, meditation, gentle yoga, and a daily home practice. Various measurements were taken pre- and post-intervention, and at 6 and 12 months follow-up. Results of linear mixed modeling showed significant improvements in overall symptoms of stress after the intervention, which remained over the follow-up period. Reductions in pro-inflammatory cytokines, cortisol levels, systolic blood pressure, and mood disturbances were found. Furthermore, heart rate was positively associated with symptoms of stress. The results of this study suggest that participation in activities such as those included in this mindfulness-based stress reduction program may be of great benefit to cancer patients, with beneficial effects lasting well beyond the intervention. The authors conclude, “These pilot data represent a preliminary investigation of the longer-term relationships between MBSR program participation and a range of potentially important biomarkers.”

You don’t have to be a marathon runner or a renown Yogi to enjoy the benefits of exercise and relaxation. If you are short on time, buy a yoga or Pilates DVD, or simply find a nice place to sit, breathe, and quiet your mind for a few minutes. All together now: “Om”

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To learn more about managing stress levels for better health, see our health archives. Stress can compromise the immune system, cause irregular unhealthy sleep, and can even contribute to unwanted weight gain. Our effective, high quality supplements Relora® and Dual-Release Melatonin can really make a difference in your stress levels and can promote healthy sleep patterns.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/36457, “One year pre-post intervention follow-up of psychological, immune, endocrine and blood pressure outcomes of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in breast and prostate cancer outpatients,” Carlson LE, Speca M, et al, Brain Behav Immun, 2007 May 21; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Linda E. Carlson, Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre Holy Cross Site, Alberta Cancer Board, 2202 Second St. S.W., Calgary, Alta., Canada T3B 0W7; Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada).

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Breast cancer: make it personal

Friday, October 16th, 2009

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As most of us know, October is National Breast Cancer awareness month.   For the 25 years that this has been going on, I’ve worn a pink ribbon on   occasion, clicked on a link or two to fund free mammograms, and made a   donation every so often to one of the numerous charitable groups that   fund research and services for people with breast cancer.  I was doing my   part.  Wasn’t I?

About six years ago a trifecta of tragedy struck my immediate family.   First, my mother-in-law succumbed to a very long and brave battle with  breast cancer that had been in and out of remission.  Very soon after, my young, forty-one year old sister-in-law was diagnosed with a breast tumor and had to endure chemotherapy while caring for her two small children.  And finally, six months after that, my own mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Suddenly the war on breast cancer was hitting very close to home.

And then something happened to me.  I finally understood the hopelessness, the depression and the anger that hundreds of thousands of families around the country and around the world have had to cope with when there is a diagnosis of breast cancer.  I started to be acutely aware of changes in drug and treatment research and also how much volunteer support is needed both for the patients and families going through cancer.

I made some changes in my life.  I arranged my schedule so I could help my mother with household chores she no longer had the energy to accomplish.  I drove her to her treatments.  I emailed more often with my sister-in-law, whose diagnosis to this day is happily quite good.  I donated one of my cars that I planned on selling to a breast cancer charity.  And perhaps most notably, I shared my family story of breast cancer with everyone who would listen.  I pleaded with the women I knew to get regular mammograms, and to be sure to see their doctors immediately if anything seemed amiss with their breast health.  I became an early detection crusader and am to this very day.

My mother’s diagnosis turned out to be treatable, which was wonderful news.  But even so, she has endured many false alarms and several operations over the years just to make sure the cancer was gone.  It is highly traumatic for any woman (or man for that matter) to go through breast cancer treatment.  They deserve our empathy, our support and our utmost respect.

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To learn more about breast cancer information and ways you can make a difference, click here.  At Solanova, fighting breast cancer is particularly close to our hearts.  For every order placed over $100 dollars in October, we will donate 5% to breast cancer charities.

Thank you for your support and for your patronage.

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Vitamin D stands for "defense"

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

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We already know that vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption and also may help to fortify the immune system.  Getting enough exercise, relaxing in (a little) sun once in a while and taking a quality vitamin D supplement can all be important aspects of good health.

Have you ever imagined why as soon as the season for colds begins, we tend to catch cold and influenza? This corresponds to less sunlight and thus vitamin D insufficiency.

A study was carried out originally to test the hypothesis that vitamin D supplementation would prevent bone loss in calcium-replete, African-American post-menopausal women. Half of 208 women were randomized to receive placebo or 800 IU/d of vitamin D for 1 year, followed by 2,000 IU/d for 2 years.

The incidence of symptoms of colds or influenza were determined at 6-month intervals by questioning. During 3 years, 26 subjects on placebo reported cold and influenza symptoms vs. 8 in the D group ( <0.002). The placebo group had symptoms mostly in winter, the 800 IU/d group had infrequent symptoms distributed evenly throughout the year, while only a single subject on 2,000 IU/d had symptoms, and this was in summer. For the high-dose group, some of the white bars in the figure appear to be missing, but that is because the number of sick subjects was zero. A biochemical rationale was proposed for this result

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Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/38559Reduced prediagnostic 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in women with breast cancer: a nested case-control study,” Rejnmark L, Mosekilde L, et al, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2009; 18(10): 2655-60. (Address: Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism C, Aarhus Sygehus, Aarhus University Hospital, Tage-Hansens Gade 2, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. E-mail: rejnmark@post6.tele.dk ).
Reference: Aloia JF, Li-Ng M. Correspondence. Epidemiol Infect 2007;12:1095-1096.


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