Breast Cancer Under 40: What You Need to Know

Every October our news feeds and communities come together to bring awareness to Breast Cancer. As someone who is a big advocate for everything that affects women, I’ve participated in my fair share of Breast Cancer related charities & events; but to be completely honest, I never had anyone in my family or anyone I knew personally affected by Breast Cancer so there was a slight disconnect with the cause.  

A friend of mine from High School gave me a call that started with “There’s something I need to tell you”.  When you’re in your mid-thirties, the answers to that statement are usually a) you’re pregnant b) you’re getting married c) you’re getting divorced.  Never would I have EVER guessed that the words, “I have been diagnosed with breast cancer” would be said at 35.  Weeks later I found out that another girlfriend of mine, also in her mid-thirties and a mother of 3, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I immediately felt connected to this cause

In my mind, Breast Cancer wasn’t something I’d have to worry about until I was way into my Forties and even less if I had no family history of it.  Boy, was I wrong.

I contacted my friends at UM Health and asked if we can have one of their experts come to the Vixen Workout Studio and speak to our members about Breast Cancer.  Specifically, Breast Cancer awareness for those of us under 40.  

The lovely Dr. Carmen Calfa, a Breast Oncologist from the Sylvester Cancer Center, spent an afternoon with us answering some of our questions and educating us on what we need to know about Breast Cancer under 40.

IMG_6765.PNGHere are some of the things we learned from Dr. Calfa:

  • Her Breast Cancer patients ages range from 18 being the youngest ranging all the way to 80.
  • The fight against Breast Cancer has had a lot of progress in the last 20yrs. The Mortality rate has decreased significantly— an improvement of 40%.
  • Only 20-30% of cancers diagnosed have family history. 
  • If you don’t have any family history, being checked by 40 is still the recommended age.
  • About 12% of women in the general population will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives.  By contrast, 55-65% of women who inherit the BRCA gene will develop Breast Cancer in their lifetime.  
  • Although the mortality rates have decreased, the drop in age where the diagnosis is happening has increased. It’s a population that usually don’t screen and don’t do mammograms because they think they’re too young.
  • 250,000 of the women living in the US today were diagnosed with breast cancer and are under the age of 40. 80% of those women found the cancer through self examination.
  • 20% of cancers can be missed by imaging.

Are there any factors causing this drop in age? Whats different?

Dr Calfa explains, Everything is different.  The food we eat, for example, in comparison to what our grandmothers used to eat.  We eat food filled with preservatives.

The amount of social drinking has increased tremendously and drinking has been associated to Breast Cancer.  We don’t really talk about it, but 1 drink a day is too much.  You need to cut your drinking to 3-5 drinks a week. 

Women are now much more focused on their careers and are pushing having children later in life and choosing not to breastfeed, some of us stay on birth control for 20+ years, all of these things contribute to increasing your risk of getting Breast Cancer.  

It’s CLEAR that you don’t need to have someone in your family diagnosed with Breast Cancer to be at risk for Breast Cancer.  What if you DO have family history, what steps do women with family history need to take to be proactive about their health?

It is so important to pay attention to your family history and to know what kinds of cancer is in your family history.  I see so many people not pay attention to the dad’s side, for example, Prostate Cancer is linked to the same gene that causes Breast Cancer and so is Lynch Syndrome.  It is important to know your family history, Mom & Dad’s side, 3 generations up.  

If you have 1st or 2nd degree family members who were diagnosed (Mothers/Fathers/Siblings/Grandparents/Aunts/Uncles) that were less than 50 when they were diagnosed, you need to get checked 10 years down. For example, if a family member was diagnosed at 45 you need to start getting checked at 35.

When getting a mammogram, go to a Radiology Certified place like the Sylvester Cancer Center.  3D Mammography is now available and it increased the detection of Breast Cancer by 40%.  Here are some awesome tips on how to self-screen and stay breast aware. 

Special Thanks to our friends at UM Health for making this happen and Dr. Calfa for educating us!

xoxo

Janet Jones

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The Glorification of No Sleep

The Glorification of No Sleep

#TeamNoSleep

You probably have the following phrases engraved in your minds:  “Team No Sleep”, “Sleep is for the Broke”,  “While you’re sleeping, someone else is working.”  Your social media feeds are flooded with inspirational quotes from Musicians, Entrepreneurs, and entertainment moguls that seem to practice the no sleep lifestyle.  Somehow, we’ve managed to glorify not sleeping.  I am guilty of succumbing to this false stigma, I mean, I’ve worked really hard and I would hate for someone to snatch it all away while I sleep… right?  The messaging we are receiving every day, in essence, says “if you want to be successful, don’t sleep.”

So how much of this is true and how much of this is societal BS?  The experts at University of Miami Health System (UHealth) say that studies continue to show that even moderate amounts of sleep deprivation can produce impairments in adults equivalent to being legally drunk.  Additionally, chronic fatigue from lack of sleep can also make you more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.  Now, let that sink in…

If your purpose for being an advocate for #teamnosleep is ambition, how productive can you really be if the important decisions you need to make everyday are made while you’re mentally impaired? Both our brains & bodies need time for recovery. According to the experts, lack of sleep sets you up for irrational choices, non-optimal performance, and injuries that could derail everything you’ve worked for.  It’s also been said that sleep deficiency can age your skin, cause weight gain, and decrease your sex drive– ahem, heard of getting your “Beauty Sleep”?

Head over to UHealth’s blog post to read more about the connection between sleep and athletic performance, what the experts advise – and what Lebron James and Roger Federer have in common.  

As a momma-preneur, I’ve been part of #teamnosleep for the last 7 years.  It’s gotten so bad, that I fight my sleep at night because there is one more task that I could accomplish, or one more article that I could read to give myself a competitive edge.  Thanks to my friends at UHealth for educating me on the power behind sleep.  Sleep should not be associated with guilt and lack of sleep should not be the measure for success.  As someone whose professional life depends on their physical performance, mental creativity, while advocating self care; I find myself not practicing what I preach.  From this day forward, I vow to be #teamsleep and you should join this team too.

Stay Hungry. Live Fierce.

Janet Jones

 

Fitness Trackers: Are they Worth the Splurge?

fitness trackers-We all have that one friend that will break out into what seems like an Irish step dance if their Fitness Tracker alerted them of being behind on their steps. Or the friend who will out-dance, out-treadmill, out-anything you do in order to get more calories burned on their tracker. So what’s the deal? It seems like everyone has one, and some come with a hefty price tag… but are they worth it?

Fitness tracking bands have become the must-have accessory for fitness fanatics and non-fitness fanatics alike. Nowadays Fitness Trackers not only count your steps, monitor your heart and measure your quality of sleep, but they also remind you to move when you’ve been inactive. They also come in sleek fashionable designs so you can wear them beyond the gym and into a night out, perhaps in case you want to count how many steps were completed dancing to “Despacito” with your girlfriends.

Sounds amazing, but our expert friends at the University of Miami Health System share that science indicates these results may not be as accurate as you think. 

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Researchers tested several of the most popular models, with participants taking part in 13 different activities, including running and playing basketball. They said the results showed the bands were at best ‘reasonably accurate,’ but that most were more than 10 percent out when estimating calories burned.

So do Fitness Trackers help you lose weight? The answer is, it depends. Check out UHealth’s blog post to read what the experts have to say about the benefits of tracking – according research. If you are already fit, fitness trackers are a great way to measure your heart rate and keep track of your workouts. Will it make you lose weight? Well, thats up to you. Your diet and exercise program is what will help you lose weight, but if having a tracker on your wrist will get you motivated then yes they’re worth it!

Stay Hungry, Live Fierce.

Janet Jones

Monica Auslander Nutrition Tips

BLOG HEADERS

MAJOR KEY ALERT: Out with the old, in with the HEALTHY

From NOT, to a simple (and delicious) SWAP. Whoever said you couldn’t have your cake and eat it too didn’t try hard enough, because I’ll let you in on a secret – DIETITIANS LOVE CAKE! Too good to be true? Keep on reading… With each of these “swaps” you are set up to slay unnecessary fat and sugar plus gain fiber, protein, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, without any #foodcrazy (you know – that guilty voice that prattles on about how you don’t DESERVE to eat)…

The allure of nutrition fads, gimmicks, and trends is remarkable. Even I, a registered dietitian with a Master’s degree, years of clinical experience in an academic hospital, and published research have fallen prey at times (hence: the four-hundred-dollar liver “cleanse” pack I purchased from a holistic doctor rotting under my bed). As the dietitian, I stand for science. I stand for what I call “Earth Foods,” (foods with minimal processing that come from the earth or a living creature on Earth) which embody the science of nutrition.

I’ve had countless exasperating, misguided clients who simply do not understand that nutrition is, at its core, a science. Mine usually sit across from me in my office and earnestly “admit” that they eat “too much” fruit and attribute mango intake to their weight gain. This is laughable. Fruit, or any Earth Food, is not to be vilified! It’s poor food preparation, poor food planning, portion distortion, emotional/psychosocial factors, and poor food choices over time that create negative weight outcomes. Some of my clients balk at eating a single date because there is just “so much” sugar but will guzzle Diet Coke, a known metabolic disruptor, by the gallon. They’ll reject my promise that you can eat an entire avocado every single day and that you don’t have to measure out blueberries, but will imbibe “Alien Foods” – foods that are NOT from this planet, and avoid the big picture – changing your nutrition LANDSCAPE.


SO:  Here’s my list of DROPS and SWAPS, dietitian-style. Because being healthy is about balance, not going BALLISTIC about veganism or Paleo or alkaline diets or your arm fat.

squash

  • DROP the white pasta and SWAP it for ‘zoodles’ (zucchini noodles) or spaghetti squash. For the ‘zoodles’ buy a $10 spiralizer (available on Amazon) and get to spiralizing (also works with yellow squash, carrots, cucumbers.. you get the gist). For the spaghetti squash, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, rub with olive oil, salt & pepper, and bake for 35-45 mins in a 400°F oven. Once tender scrape a fork along the inside and see spaghetti appear in front of your eyes!

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  • DROP the ice cream and SWAP is for “nice-cream”. This can be in the form of frozen bananas blended with cacao powder or PB2 peanut butter powder, or frozen strawberries blended with some plain yogurt!

oat flour

  • DROP the white flour and SWAP it for almond, coconut, oat or buckwheat flour. These flours can be used in replacement of white flour in a ton of recipes.

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  • DROP ground beef and SWAP it for beans. Whether it be navy beans, chickpeas, kidney beans or lentils, they can ALL be used in chilis, pasta sauces (perfect with your ‘zoodles’!) and soups!

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  • DROP the mayo and SWAP it out for hummus. Adding hummus to wraps, sandwiches, or even just as a dipping sauce is an easy way to add the perfect combination of fiber, fat and protein to your diet.

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  • DROP the cream cheese on your morning (Ezekiel) toast, and SWAP it for unsweetened nut butter or ½ an avocado. Not enticing enough? Top the nut butters with sliced banana or berries and cinnamon, and top the avocado with pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, feta cheese, an egg or even lox!

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  • DROP the fruit juice and SWAP it for the WHOLE fruit. I promise you will feel 10x more satisfied after eating an apple (skin and all), than after chugging a glass of apple juice (which FYI is the equivalent of four apples! Who are you, Johnny Appleseed?!)

RECAP:  Making these simple and effective swaps in your daily diet will contribute to BIG changes. You’ll feel better, while still never feeling deprived but feeling like you are THRIVING.

MonicaAuslanderEssenceNutrition

Deliciously yours,

Monica Auslander, MS, RD, LD/N

Essence Nutrition, Founder

www.essencenutritionmiami.com