- Created on 07 October 2013
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is not only about pink ribbons and Breast Cancer alone, but about bringing awareness to proactive healthcare and catching cancer and other diseases before they can become harmful. It's important to know your body and be diligent in your healthcare. Getting our routine checkups and going to the doctor when noticing changes to our body is vital. Early detection is everything and saves lives. I know because I lived it.
A year ago this month, I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). DCIS is a non-invasive, non life-threatening form of Breast Cancer that is not often discussed. In fact, I had never heard of this until it happened to me. After learning this, I underwent a double mastectomy with reconstruction to ease my fears of this disease. No chemo or radiation was needed! I now have less than a 1% chance of local or distant recurrence.
After visiting three doctors for what I noticed was a thickening in my breast, I was told there was nothing wrong with me. There was no palpable lump, so the doctors felt no reason to worry and I was given a routine ultrasound, which is given to most women under age 35 and still nothing.
But my gut, my discernment or what some might call the Holy Spirit led me to continue to seek answers and after my fourth doctor visit, I was finally given a referral for a mammogram. And sure enough, there were cancerous calcifications lodged in my milk ducts. At Stage 0, the cancer cells had not broken beyond the duct to become an invasive and potentially harmful cancer.
With that said, ladies please be diligent in your own health. This disease does NOT run in my family. Whether or not it runs in yours or not, be sure to do your routine check-ups and self breast exams. As an athlete of 15 years, I always watched my diet and considered myself generally healthy and so did my doctors. I've learned in most cases such as this, it's the patient who finds this disease.
Ladies, be in-tune with your mind, body and spirit and always listen to it because it will never steer you wrong. My gut led me to find this disease in its earliest, non-harmful form, and I am eternally grateful.
I hope this encourages every reader to be PROACTIVE and GET CHECKED!
About Michel Sproles: Michel Sproles is a businesswoman, mother of two and wife of New Orleans Saints Running Back, Darren Sproles. She is also an advocate for healthcare and encourages African Americans to get routine check ups in order to be and stay healthy. She believes that early detection saves lives and shares her testimony to urge others in her community to stay on top of their healthcare. Healthy living is not something to be taken for granted, and Michel strongly believes that knowing your body will save your body.
- Created on 04 October 2013
An estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 39,620 breast cancer deaths are expected to occur among U.S. women in 2013. And according to a report released this week by the American Cancer Society, an increasing number of them will be Black women.
Read here to see just how much breast cancer incidence rates are converging among white and African-American women, plus more notes on the black health chart this week.
- Created on 04 October 2013
Even as restaurants make changes to their menus to provide "healthier" options, the number of average calories and sodium in a meal remains the same, according to a new study.
Researchers from the RAND Corp. and the Institute for Population Health Improvement at UC Davis Health System found that in the spring of 2010, an entree from a U.S. chain restaurant had an average of 670 calories. But when they looked at the average calorie counts in a meal a year later in the spring of 2011, there had been no change.
Sodium levels weren't much better -- the average amount of sodium in a U.S. chain restaurant meal was 1,515 milligrams in spring 2010, and only went down to 1,500 milligrams a year later.
"Across the restaurant industry, we see a pattern of one step forward, one step back," study researcher Helen Wu, a policy and research analyst at the Institute for Population Health Improvement, said in a statement. "Restaurants make changes to their menus regularly, but they may make both healthy and unhealthy changes simultaneously. This study provides objective evidence that overall, we did not see a new wave of healthier entrees come in to replace less healthy ones."
The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, involved analysis of 26,256 menu options from 213 restaurants, 109 of which had data on children's menus (with 1,794 children's menu items). Restaurants ranged from fast-food, to fast-casual, to family, to upscale, and cuisine ranged from American, to pizza, to sandwiches, to Italian, to Asian, to snacks (such as bakery items or ice cream) to seafood and steaks.
Researchers specifically chose the spring 2010 to 2011 time period for their analysis because they wanted to see how menu options changed a year after the federal menu-labeling law was passed, and also wanted to test the "validity of claims that restaurants are increasingly offering overall more healthful menu options." Indeed, 207 of the 213 restaurants in the study were subject to the menu labeling law.
Researchers found that slightly more restaurants made changes in a healthy direction between 2010 and 2011 -- 10 percent -- which is higher than the number of restaurants that made changes in an unhealthy direction -- 7 percent.
For instance, "the 26 restaurants that made healthy changes to sodium in added items did reduce it by 707 mg on average, whereas the 11 that made
unhealthy changes to sodium in added items increased it by less (547 mg)," the researchers wrote in the study.
They found no major differences in the healthfulness of children's entrees, except for a very slight decrease in average calories between 2010 and 2011.
"Across a large and diverse group of U.S. chain restaurant brands, results do not support the hypotheses that voluntary restaurant industry efforts, the impending implementation of a federal menu labeling law, or any changes in consumer preferences led to meaningful changes in the average energy or sodium content of entrees between 2010 and 2011," the researchers wrote in the study. "If healthy changes did occur, then a sufficient number of unhealthy changes to entrées also occurred that offset them, on average."
Earlier, the same researchers found in a Public Health Nutrition study that 96 percent of entrees from chain restaurants don't abide by USDA saturated fat and sodium recommendations.
Of course, we can't say we're totally surprised that "healthy" menu options may not really be that healthy. Take a look at what we found about egg-white breakfast sandwiches, for instance.
- Created on 03 October 2013
Cocaine may not only rewire the brain after one use, but could also increase users' susceptibility to HIV, a new study suggests.