Thursday, August 27, 2015

Is chemical a link to cancers, birth defects?

Huffington Post exposé looks at possibility that DuPont corp. actually poisoned the planet

Almost everyone agrees that environmental toxins contribute to the fact that 250,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

And that those environmental factors most likely lead to countless men and women contracting other cancers.

As well as birth defects.

Now comes a Huffington Post exposé well worth a look-see, a revelatory piece about DuPont's actions regarding it allegedly poisoning the planet with a chemical compound innocuously called C8.

Some may find the story, comprehensive (and long), too depressing. 

Others may be inspired to protest one thing or another.

Some may even defend DuPont, whose ads have used the trademarked phrase "The miracles of science" with its logo, by invoking an old chestnut, sometimes erroneously attributed to Calvin Coolidge: "What's good for business is good for the country."

Regardless, the piece may shake your faith in the idea that only the bottom line — profit — counts.

In my new VitalityPress book, "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," which is aimed at male caregivers, I, Woody Weingarten, discuss a variety of environmental factors and how they might — or might not — be responsible for the disease. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Study questions value of post-Stage O procedures

Women with D.C.I.S. must weigh breast cancer surgeries against doing nothing at all

Karen Jaggar
Women who get a lumpectomy or a mastectomy after developing ductal carcinoma in situ, or D.C.I.S., an early form of breast cancer, don't necessarily increase their chances of living.

That's the conclusion of a new, extensive study of 100,000 women followed for 20 years, according to a story in The New York Times by the newspaper's cancer expert, Gina Kolata.

Patients with this condition, also called Stage O, apparently had a 3.3 percent of dying within 20 years of the treatment, regardless of the procedure they underwent — similar to an average woman's chance of dying of breast cancer.

JAMA Oncology cited the researchers' findings yesterday, Aug. 20, basing them on what the Times labeled "the most extensive collection of data ever analyzed on this condition."

D.C.I.S. involves abnormal cells confined to the breast's milk ducts. Upwards of 60,000 women a year are diagnosed with it.

It is generally agreed in the cancer care community that unnecessary and disfiguring treatments following D.C.I.S. diagnosis have often been excessive, but only a minority of physicians believe the best way to treat the condition is to do nothing.

Kolata's story quoted one leading doctor as believing D.C.I.S. "should be treated as a precursor to potentially deadly invasive cancers, analogous to colon polyps that can turn into colon cancer." 

Karen Jaggar, executive director of an educational organization based in San Francisco, Breast Cancer Action, was quoted in the piece as saying women tend not to appreciate the harms of over-treatment and often over-estimate their risk of dying of cancer, "making them react with terror."

As always, though, this study may quickly be contradicted by new studies already underway. "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," the VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, wrote mainly for male caregivers, details how researchers and physicians can flip-flop "on a dime" about almost any medical decision.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

'90210' star blames metastasis on insurance lapse

Actress Shannen Doherty battling breast cancer — and ex-managers, for it spreading

Shannen Doherty
Shannen Doherty, who gained fame by starring in TV's "Beverly Hills, 90210" but even more from fighting with her co-stars, is now fighting again.

This time it may be for her life.

She's been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The 44-year-old's also battling her ex-business managers and accountants — via a court suit — for allegedly mismanaging her money and letting her health insurance lapse, an action that in turn purportedly allowed the cancer to spread.

Doherty, who's also starred in television's "Charmed," may require a mastectomy and chemotherapy.

According to an Associated Press story in USA Today and other newspapers, she apparently has been unable to work since her March diagnosis, which was just revealed through the lawsuit.

The suit maintains the metastasis has caused her "severe emotional distress," the story adds.

Doherty also has incurred "significant medical expenses," People magazine said later.

According to the Daily Dish, the actress claimed "she paid bosses at Tanner, Mainstain, Glynn & Johnson five percent of her earnings to manage her finances, including medical insurance payments to the Screen Actors Guild, and when they ignored a bill, her coverage was canceled for much of 2014."

That cancellation, she charges, forced her not to visit her doctor for regular check-ups, only to find subsequently she had breast cancer that has since metastasized.

An earlier diagnosis, she says, might have resulted in treatments that could have stopped the cancer from spreading.

She contends that an earlier diagnosis might have resulted in treatments that could have stopped the cancer from spreading.

A lawyer for the firm, Randall J. Dean, called her claim "patently false."

Doherty's husband, Kurt Iswarienko, also is suing the Tanner, Mainstain for mismanaging the couple's money, thereby "leading to other financial troubles, including tax audits and liens," the AP reported.

Want to know what ups and downs Iswarienko, a photographer, is facing as Doherty's prime caregiver? 

In a VitalityPress book,  "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," I, Woody Weingarten, address what male caregivers can do to help their mates and themselves.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sandra Lee out of hospital after new operation

Infection forces longtime Food Network star to undergo new breast surgery in New York

Spirited Sandra Lee in hospital.
Sandra Lee, Food Network star for more than a decade, has undergone a new surgery following complications from her recent double mastectomy.

News and gossip media immediately ran photos of her — alongside her longtime live-in partner, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — giving a thumbs-up sign as she left the New York hospital Wednesday, Aug. 12, a day after the two-hour surgery.

"Everything went well," said Cuomo, "so it's all good."

Cuomo, who's been Lee's boyfriend for a decade, has assumed the role of prime caregiver, one with which I, Woody Weingarten, author of "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," am totally familiar.

Staffers had reported on Facebook earlier that she seemed "to be back to herself" in the hospital, "rearranging flowers on the table, cleaning countertops and organizing seating for her visitors."

Facebook post: Sandra Lee, Andrew Cuomo.
Lee had explained on Facebook that she chose the new surgery when a painful fluid buildup and infection followed the original operation.

She called the infection an "incredible monster," and said she'd done everything possible "to avoid"  the second operation — including modern Western, Eastern and holistic treatments.

Just before her release, her staff wrote that Lee was "up and energized" to go home. Her recovery, they indicated, would probably involve intravenous infusions because she need "massive antibiotics for a couple of weeks to fight against infection."  

Lee, a Daytime Emmy winner who's released 25 books (including a memoir), apparently will need nursing care during that time.

The 49-year-old, known for her show, “Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee,” which premiered on the Food Network in 2003, underwent her first operation in May after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Lee, whose second cable show, "Sandra's Money Saving Meals," debuted in 2009, also noted on Facebook that “I am a long way from where I was and a long way from where I need to be, but at this point I understand that right now I just need to complete this unexpected phase of a tough journey.” 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Come hear 'Rollercoaster' author speak in store

My Copperfield's Books talk in San Rafael is at 7 tonight — please be there to support me

Woody Weingarten and Nancy Fox, with their
granddaughter in Copperfield's children's section.
Tonight's the night.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, I'll find out if I can just as easily put one word after another standing up as I do when I sit at a keyboard.

I'll be at Copperfield's Books in San Rafael, 850 4th St., to speak about my book, "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer."

I'll focus on caregiving, especially for patients with life-threatening diseases.

I'll be happy to sign copies, too.

And I'll also be talking about the support group I've been leading for 20 years, Marin Man to Man.

I'd love it if a bunch of you who read this item show up to support me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

'Rollercoaster' author requests your presence

Save the date — for free talk at Copperfield's Books in San Rafael — and help me save face

Silver-haired Woody Weingarten.
I don't embarrass easily but I can on rare occasion get rather red-faced.

Especially, I imagine, if I'd throw a party and no one came.

Ergo, I'm asking you to save a date.

And then show up.

The time is 7 p.m. The date is Wednesday, Aug. 12. The place is Copperfield's Books, 850 4th St., San Rafael, California.

It's a free event.

So you can simply appear, or you can reserve a spot on the Copperfield's site —

I'll be talking about being a caregiver, especially for a patient with a life-threatening disease.

Specifically, I'll be focusing on the time 20 years ago when my wife, Nancy Fox, was diagnosed with breast cancer. And how we coped — individually and together — during treatments and their aftermath.

And how male caregivers (husbands, boyfriends, fathers, sons and brothers) are typically a forgotten part of the equation but need support, too.

But, in actuality, my presentation could apply to any of the 35 million U.S. caregivers, female or male.

I, Woody Weingarten, who has led the weekly Marin Man to Man support group for two decades, also will be signing my book afterwards.

"Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer" is unique, a comprehensive memoir-chronicle by an award-winning journalist, a love story and, perhaps more importantly, a guide to research, meds and help.

Want to check out what another author thinks of my book? Just click here.

Many of you have found that friending me on Facebook or following me on LinkedIn or Twitter is comparatively easy. Showing up takes a bit more effort. But I'd appreciate you taking that road less traveled, which in this case means being there and keeping me from being embarrassed by an empty room.

You'd miss learning whether my silver hair is matched by a newfound silver tongue. 

So, please… 

Save the date and help me save face.