Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Coffee, tea join list of 80 cancer-causing agents

Super-hot drinks can trigger disease, says a 10-country arm of World Health Organization 

Damn, that coffee's hot!

Well, that very pick-me-up — or similarly super-hot drinks — are not only likely to burn your tongue, they might well be cancer triggers.

According to an article by Alice Park in the current Time magazine, the World Health Organization (WHO) says liquids such as coffee and tea belong on the list of cancer-causing agents.

An organizational arm of WHO, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), checked 1,000 studies that looked into links between high-temp drinks and various forms of the disease and found anything above 149 degrees fahrenheit hikes the risk of esophageal cancer.

Dr. Otis Brawley
The conclusions of that study by the IARC, which is composed of 23 scientists from 10 countries, were published recently in Lancet Oncology.

As with virtually every piece of research, however, there's another side.

Dr. Otis Brawley, the American Cancer Society's chief medical and scientific officer, believes smoking and excessive alcohol are much bigger perils, the Time piece notes.

Interested in more info on some of the 79 other substances — including exposure to UV radiation from the sun, air pollution, red meat and DDT — that can be cancer risk factors? Check out "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Adventure ranges up to 97 degrees, down to 29

Cross-country biker looking for volunteers to help cancer patients cope with hair loss

Nina Huston on cross-country trip.
Nina Husen's on a two-month cross-country bicycle trip filled with heart.

She's almost midway through a two-month adventure to the East Coast on her bike, which will be followed by a leisurely trip home with her crew (sons, Blake and Spencer) — by car.

Husen, 52, one of the owners of the NH2 Salon in Novato (along with Nicole Hitchcock), hopes to recruit 500 volunteer hairstylists nationally who'll "provide pro bono services to patients with cancer experiencing hair related side effects from treatment."

In a June 2 blog item, she succinctly summed up her mission: "I am riding across the country to bring awareness to Hairdressers with Heart" — which, she wrote, is a network of 50 hairstylists in Marin and Sonoma counties known as Style Heroes who connect with cancer patients and shave their heads, help style their wigs "or take them through one full year of complimentary clean up services as their hair grows in."

The trip — which she's never attempted before (though she's previously ridden "100 miles at a stretch") — has hardly been easy so far.

The Corte Madera resident already has "encountered 97-degree weather all the way down to 29-degree weather."

She left San Francisco at 6:30 a.m. May 18 with the intention of riding through "Nevada, Utah, Colorado, then on to Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and finally Virginia."

On May 24, she noted, "I've had cramps, sun sickness, fatigue, skin loss in places unmentionable, tears and, well, a few sore muscles. The joys? Support from my sons…Their faces at each stop with smiles on them and hands waving, food and water ready for me. Lakes, trees, birds, the sun, the moon, clouds from heaven, and the landscape changing as quickly as my emotions."

She added, with great honesty and poignancy, "I climb out of the shower, a moment of usual reprieve…burnt nose and slits of eyeballs, I burst into tears…Feeling better now after water, ice, smoothie and rest, I have to mention that (A) No one is making me do this (B) I am enjoying myself much of the time, but if you did not hear the challenges it would simply be a pictorial of me riding and smiling and that would be a snoozer."

Hairdressers with Heart, "100% volunteer run," was formed seven years ago after Hitchcock's sister, Brandy, died at age 37 from heart failure while undergoing chemotherapy for acute myelogenous leukemia.

Earlier, Brandy had been upset when her hair started to fall out. So Nicole found her "a long, sexy, blonde wig" — which changed her attitude.

The Hairdressers with Heart foundation was created not long after Brandy's death.

Promotional materials for Nina's trip noted that "over a million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year in the United States. Individuals afflicted with cancer that suffer from unappealing hair loss often find the experience emotionally crippling. Hairdressers with Heart highlights Style Heroes that choose to share their gift of hairdressing with cancer patients across the nation."

To read how other organizations help folks with life-threatening diseases, check out "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Marin Man to Man original a 23-year regular

Weekly support group for partners of breast cancer patients losing a key member

Marv and Maria Edelstein
The Marin Man to Man weekly support group for guys whose partners have or had breast cancer will lose one of its key members in a few days.

Marv Edelstein is leaving the San Francisco Bay Area — and the state of California.

One of the four original members of Man to Man, he's been a regular for 23 years, since shortly after his wife, Maria, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

But Marv has found the local traffic and congestion more than he chooses to handle. And Maria apparently is even more bothered by the negative impact those changes have had recently.

It's not easy for them to say goodbye to the area, however.

They've lived in their San Rafael home 37 years.

Marv has been a regular in the weekly support group for 23 years and, in fact, has been vice chair and treasurer for a long time.

He's always been the epitome of the perfect member — particularly helpful to newcomers because he's been willing to be totally vulnerable, open and honest about his own ups and downs with Maria's bout with breast cancer more than two decades ago.

And her second bout earlier this year.

Marin Man to Man began when husbands of women with breast cancer in the First Position ballet support group realized they needed support themselves.

Eight current Man to Man members gathered this past Wednesday to wish Marv a fond farewell, to express their appreciation of his past contributions, and to say they hope he'll drop in again whenever he's visiting the Bay Area.

The Edelsteins intend to vacation in McCall, Idaho, then move either to Oregon or Washington to be closer to their son, who lives in Seattle.

The stories of their fighting cancer and Man to Man can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, have aimed at male caregivers.