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Why Are We So Obsessed with Nipples?!

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

I’ve had some time to come to terms with my own nipples and/or breasts. My rambunctious toddler was an equally feisty infant, and she had no time for covers or modesty. She was also a very curious thing, so random strangers would be greeted with some nice views of the milk goods on a regular basis. Loud noise? Unlatch. Approaching person? Unlatch. Incoherent babbling? Unlatch.

You get the picture.

A cover was never an option, because I drew more attention with the screaming child who was trying to rip it off me. And I travelled too often to find a “private space” every time my daughter needed to nurse. Oh, and bathrooms were a solid, hardcore no. Gross. I have been in a position where I needed to poop as badly as my daughter needed to nurse, but that was not a repeat event. Toilets and breastfeeding do not mix, ok.

Back to the point.

The point is, nipple is going to be out there, ok? But is it really that big of a deal? Is my nipple that shocking to you? You don’t give a crap about my husband’s nipples, and honestly, I prefer mine to his. They actually do something. Nipples and breasts are not sexual, so why all the fuss?

And then I realized, the fuss over nipples starts with babies.

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and realized that several moms had summer pics of their cute kids, but their nipples were covered with little stickers that had been added via photo apps. Seriously? These kids are babies and toddlers, yet their nipples (only girls of course) are being covered as if they’re inappropriate. Do you know who is sexualizing babies when you put on nipple stickers? YOU. The person putting on nipple stickers. Do you know who else wears nipple stickers? Strippers.

Ok, that was a far leap. I admit that.

But my goodness.

Your child, boy or girl, does not need nipple stickers. A breastfeeding mother does not need to cover up. It’s literally just a nipple, and y’all need to calm down. There is nothing shameful about breasts or nipples, and kids are being taught before they can speak that they should cover up.

Teach something different. Teach that nipples, along with every other body part, are completely normal. Teach that there is a time and a place to rock your nipples, and that the pool in your own backyard is probably an ok place. Teach that breastfeeding is just as acceptable as bottle feeding and vice versa. Do not stigmatize or sexualize children, and do not shame moms for doing what is completely natural.

Stop obsessing over nipples. They won’t hurt you, I promise.

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Lifestyle Changes That May Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Courtesy of the Army of Women

What can I do to prevent breast cancer? What is the best way to find my cancer early, before it has spread? These are two of the most common questions women have. Here’s what we know:

There is nothing that you can do to ensure that you absolutely do not get breast cancer. However, studies suggest that some lifestyle choices may help reduce breast cancer risk.

These include:

  1. Eating a healthy diet that is low in animal fat and high in whole grains and fruits and vegetables. There is no data indicating that a specific diet, per se, can help reduce breast cancer risk.
  2. Taking a multivitamin and make sure it includes adequate folic acid.
  3. Having your children before 35, if you have a choice.
  4. Breastfeeding your children.
  5. Avoiding unnecessary X-rays.
  6. Drinking alcohol in moderation and make sure you take folic acid when you do drink.
  7. Losing weight (if you are overweight).
  8. Not gaining weight after menopause.
  9. Getting regular exercise.

Using hormone therapy to treat menopausal symptoms for the shortest time period necessary, it at all.

You should also be sure to:

  • Evaluate any breast symptoms or changes that develop.
  • Have mammograms when appropriate.
  • Consider raloxifene if you are postmenopausal and need to take a drug to prevent bone loss.
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer or for other reasons are at high risk of getting breast cancer, visit our section for High-Risk Women.

To help us learn more about breast cancer prevention, you can:

This post is courtesy of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, dedicated to eradicating breast cancer and improving the quality of women’s health through innovative research, education and advocacy.  To support this important cause and donate, visit www.dslrf.org.

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Army of Women Seeks Volunteers for Cancer Study

A Message from Our Friends at Army of Women…

Endocrine therapies, such as Nolvadex (tamoxifen), Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), or Femara (letrozole), are medications for breast cancer that block or remove hormones. Endocrine therapies can improve survival in women whose cancer has estrogen receptors (ER+). Research shows that some women take their endocrine therapies very regularly, whereas others do not take it regularly, stop taking it, or switch to another endocrine medication. It is important to understand the factors that contribute to these patterns of medication adherence, so that programs can be developed to inform women who are starting endocrine therapy.

If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and are now taking, or have taken within the past 12 months, one of the following pill-type medications: Nolvadex (tamoxifen), Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), or Femara (letrozole), please read about this study and consider signing up. Whether or not it’s right for you, please pass it along to any friend who you think might want to take part.

What’s the study about?

In an effort to find the best way to help medical personnel and women diagnosed with breast cancer, researchers have developed an online survey to understand women’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors relevant to taking endocrine therapies. You don’t have to leave your house to participate! Five hundred women are needed for this study.

What’s involved?

If you join this study, you will be directed to an anonymous online survey, which will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Questions ask about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors relevant to taking endocrine therapies.

Who is conducting the study?

Annette Stanton, PhD, University of California Los Angeles and Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston

Where?

Anywhere in the United States

Who can participate?

You can join the Endocrine-ABC study if you match ALL of these criteria:

• You are a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer

• You are now taking, or have taken within the past 12 months, one of the following pill-type medications: Nolvadex (tamoxifen), Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), or Femara (letrozole)

• You have access to the Internet and are willing to complete an online survey

• You live in the United States

The researchers are interested in the experiences of ALL women, including those women who do or do not regularly take their medication, those who stop their prescription before the date recommended by their physician, and those who switch from one endocrine medication to another.

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Saving Lives with ENERGY

MomsGetReal is proud to be a partner & supporter of the efforts of the Army of Women and we gladly dedicate this blog space to sharing their messages whenever possible. Please read & share this – it could save lives!!

A message from Army of Women

Studies suggest that women who are overweight are at increased risk of having a breast cancer recurrence. This is a problem that a group of researchers think they can do something about! Their Exercise and Nutrition to Enhance Recovery and Good Health for You (ENERGY) study was created to help breast cancer survivors develop healthy behaviors that can improve and promote long-term weight control.

We first sent a Call to Action in June to recruit 800 female breast cancer survivors to participate in the ENERGY study. The research team needs many more women to sign up! They have expanded their eligibility criteria and are now accepting women diagnosed with Stage Ic, II, IIIa, IIIb, or IIIc, who have a BMI of 25 or greater. If you match these criteria, have completed treatment, and live in San Diego, St. Louis, Birmingham, or Denver, please read on to learn more about the ENERGY study.

If this study isn’t the right fit for you, don’t stop reading just yet. We need you to think of women you know in these cities who might want to join this study. Got someone in mind? Forward the Call to Action!

What’s the study about?

This study will examine the effects of a program that was created to help overweight breast cancer survivors lose weight by increasing their physical activity level and developing healthier eating habits. A total of 800 women will be participating in this study across the United States at four research sites.

What’s involved?

If you sign up for the ENERGY study, you will be contacted by phone to answer questions about your breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, medical history, and current and past physical activity. If you appear to be eligible, and if you decide to join the study, you will be asked to go to the study site for a screening visit (described below). If the screening visit confirms your eligibility and you decide to join the study, you will then be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to one of two groups.

If you are assigned to Group A, the more intense program, you:

– Will be asked to participate in a group intervention program that consists of 26 structured classes over the course of one year (weekly meetings for the first 4 months, then once every other week for 2 more months, and then once a month for the remaining 6 months).

– Will receive up to 38 short telephone calls/emails over the next two years to help you reduce your food intake and achieve the desired level of physical activity.

– Will receive quarterly newsletters that are designed to help you achieve your goals as well as give you feedback on your progress and guidance.

If you are assigned to Group B, the less intense program, you:

– Will receive two consultations with a weight loss specialist and written materials that provide information about the current guidelines for weight loss and maintenance (at the beginning of the study and 6 months later).

– Will receive 6 bi-monthly group seminars on topics related to healthy living.

– Will receive monthly short telephone calls/emails over the next two years from the study staff.

All participants will be asked to participate in a clinic visit at the beginning of the study and at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. This will include:

– Body measurements (weight, height, waist circumference, resting pulse and blood pressure).

– Giving a blood sample (about 2 tablespoons)

– Completing questionnaires about your health and well being, feelings and attitudes, treatment side effects, and physical activity.

– A stepping test to evaluate cardiovascular fitness. This involves stepping up and down from a bench that is 8 inches high for three minutes.

– At the San Diego site only, completing an online questionnaire about the food you have eaten during the previous 24 hours (only at the study entry, 6 month, and 24 month clinic visits).

You will also be asked to sign a medical release to permit the researchers to confirm your breast cancer diagnosis with your physician and to access relevant medical records.

The researchers need to enroll up to 800 women in this study.

Who is conducting the study?

Cheryl Rock, PhD, RD; Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH; Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD; Tim Byers, MD, MPH

Where?

University of California, San Diego
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Colorado, Denver

Who can participate?

You can join the ENERGY study if you match ALL of these MAIN categories:

– You are a woman 21 years of age or older

– You were diagnosed with breast cancer within the past 6 months to 5 years (not including recurrence, DCIS, or metastatic disease)

– You were diagnosed with Stage Ic, II, IIIa, IIIb, or IIIc breast cancer

– You are overweight (BMI of 25 to 45 – to calculate your BMI click here)

– You have finished all initial breast cancer treatments (i.e. Chemotherapy, Radiation, Herceptin). You may enroll if you are still taking a nonsteroidal antiestrogen (Tamoxifen).

– You do NOT have a history of other cancer types (non-melanoma skin cancer is OK)

– You are able to be physically active (You must be able to complete the 3 minute step test)

– You are NOT currently enrolled in another nutrition or weight loss study

– You are NOT currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next 2 years

– You are willing and able to attend group meetings and stay in contact with the study staff for two years

-You live near or are willing to travel (at your own expense) to one of the following locations:

o University of California, San Diego
o Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
o University of Alabama at Birmingham
o University of Colorado, Denver

After you RSVP, the research staff will contact you to ask additional questions to be sure that this study is the right fit for you.

Please note: If you have already submitted an RSVP for this study, you will not be able to RSVP again, as our system only allows ONE RSVP per study. If you think that you now qualify, please e-mail us directly at studies@armyofwomen.org to let us know that you can’t RSVP online and that you would like to sign up.

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Got Milk? Army of Women Needs Your Breast Milk!

A message from our friends at the Army of Women

Breast milk may hold a clue to giving women information about their personal risk of developing breast cancer. We are recruiting women who are breastfeeding moms who have had a breast biopsy in the past or are scheduled to have a breast biopsy to send in samples of their breast milk.

We have recruited for this study in the past, and have already enrolled more than 250 women, but most of the samples have come from Caucasian women. Since breast cancer risk factors differ between ethnic groups, we are now looking specifically for African American breastfeeding moms. Read on to learn more! Not breastfeeding yourself but know a woman who is? Forward the Call to Action!

What’s the study about?

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst are studying the breast cells normally found in breast milk to see if there are any epigenetic differences–which have the potential to be reversed–between women whose biopsies turn out to be healthy and those whose biopsies show a problem, such as cancer.

Learning more about these epigenetic differences may eventually help researchers develop a way to provide women with information about their breast cancer risk.

What’s involved?

If you sign up for the Milk Study, you will be contacted by the research team to confirm that you are eligible for the study. If you are eligible and decide to join, you will receive a container in the mail containing sterile bottles for milk collection, a consent form, a patient eligibility form, and a questionnaire. You will be asked to complete the consent and eligibility forms and questionnaire, which will ask questions about your breastfeeding history, medical history, and any previous biopsies you may have had. You will be asked to donate two fresh milk samples (one from each breast).

You will put the signed consent form, completed patient eligibility form and questionnaire, and breast milk in the box they came in and the box will be picked up by Fedex (at no cost to you).

After the research team receives your breast milk samples, they will contact you to ask if you have had a breast biopsy. If you have had a biopsy, you will be asked to provide a copy of the biopsy report.

Approximately 1 year after sending your breast milk sample, the research team will contact you to ask about any breast problems you have had in the last year.

The information you provide is confidential and will be kept private.

The researchers need to enroll up to 200 African American women in this study.

Who can participate?

You can join the Milk Study if you match ALL of these categories:

– You are a nursing/breastfeeding mom

– You consider yourself to be African American/Black

– You have had a breast biopsy at any time in the past OR you are going to have a breast biopsy to diagnose a lump found in your breast

– You live in the United States

After you RSVP, the research team will ask additional questions to be sure this study is the right fit for you.

Who is conducting the study?

Kathleen Arcaro, PhD, Douglas Anderton, PhD, and Sarah Lenington PhD, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts

Where?

Anywhere in the United States, all necessary participation in handled through the mail.

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Stress Management for Breast Cancer Survivors

A message from our friends at Army of Women:

For women under age 50, a breast cancer diagnosis can cause stress related to personal, work, and family responsibilities and the effect cancer treatments can have on reproductive health that is unique to women in this age group. Younger breast cancer survivors need effective techniques to help them manage stress and improve well-being.

Mindfulness is paying attention to present moment experiences with an element of openness and curiosity. Meditation is one way to bring mindfulness into your life. A research team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has developed a mindfulness meditation program that they hope will improve younger breast cancer survivors’ quality of life by, for example, decreasing depression, stress, and fatigue and improving sleep quality and biological functioning. Now, they need your help to see if it works!

Are you a female breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed before the age of 50? Were you diagnosed in 2001 or later? Do you live in or near the Los Angeles area? If you answered yes to all three questions, please read on to learn more about what’s involved and who can participate.

If you aren’t able to participate in this study, you can still do YOUR part: forward the Call to Action to someone you know who might be interested. As a member of the Army of Women you have an important opportunity to accelerate breast cancer research by forwarding this e-blast and helping to fill this study. And that’s not all! YOU can also make a difference by inviting your friends, family, colleagues–ANYONE you know over the age of 18–to join the Army of Women. Together, we can reach our goal of ONE MILLION strong!

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Calling All West Coast Breast Cancer Survivors

A message from our friends at the Army of Women

Are you a breast cancer survivor who is just too tired to read this entire e-blast? You’re not alone! Sleep problems, including difficulty falling or staying asleep, are familiar to many breast cancer survivors. A group of researchers at Stanford University is studying whether acupuncture can reduce sleep disruption and improve sleep in breast cancer survivors. Currently, there are no studies evaluating the effectiveness of needle acupuncture for insomnia in cancer patients.

This study may sound familiar to you. That is because we first sent a Call to Action in February to recruit 64 female breast cancer survivors in the San Francisco Bay Area. With help from the Army of Women, the research team is almost halfway to their goal. Let’s help get them to the finish line! If you are a female breast cancer survivor living in the San Francisco Bay Area who has completed treatment (hormonal treatment is OK), and who has difficulty falling or staying asleep, please read on to learn more about what’s involved and who can participate.

We know that not everyone will be able to join this study. But that’s OK! Every member of the Army of Women community has a chance to participate in her own, important way–by joining a study, passing along our information, or helping recruit new members. Help to fill this study by forwarding the Call to Action to your friends, family members, or anyone you know who might be interested in learning more! And keep looking at our e-blasts–the next study could be the one for you or someone you know!

What’s the study about?

The purpose of the study is to learn whether acupuncture can reduce sleep disruption and improve sleep in breast cancer survivors. The study will enroll 64 female breast cancer survivors who have difficulty falling or staying asleep.

What’s involved?

If you decide to sign up for the Acupuncture for Sleep Problems study and you match the main requirements, you will be asked to go to Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., for a screening interview. You will be asked to provide a blood sample and complete questionnaires about your background, medical history, health-related behaviors, sleep, mood, and stresses related to cancer.

If you are eligible for the study and decide to join, you will be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to one of two treatment groups. Group A will receive acupuncture using traditional acupuncture points designed to provide maximal relaxation and help with sleep. Group B will receive acupuncture treatment using sham needles in your body. These are needles that are NOT traditionally associated with relaxation and sleep. Both groups will receive acupuncture treatments twice a week for 6 weeks. Throughout the study and for one month after you complete treatment, you will be asked to complete questionnaires and daily diaries as well as provide blood and saliva samples. You will also be asked to wear a wristwatch-like device that will record your physical activity during the daytime and at night.

The researchers will explain all study activities in detail.

Who is conducting the study?

David Spiegel, MD, Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine

Where?

Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.

Who can participate?

You can join the Acupuncture for Sleep Problems study if you match ALL of these MAIN categories:

– You are a woman age 21 or older
– You have been diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage (including DCIS and metastatic disease) at some point in your life. It is OK if it is a recurrence.
– You are not currently undergoing breast cancer treatment (hormonal treatment is OK) OR treatment for another cancer type
– You have been experiencing sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep) for at least one month
– You are NOT currently pregnant or breastfeeding
– You have NOT had acupuncture within the past 6 months
– You are willing and able to stop receiving other treatments for sleep problems during the study period
– You are able to speak, read, and write English
– You live near or are willing to travel (at your own expense) to the Palo Alto, CA area.

After you RSVP, the research staff will ask you additional questions to be sure that this study is the right fit for you.

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The Effects of Depo Provera on Breast Tissue Study

MomsGetReal™ is a proud supporter in the fight against breast cancer. Get your BoobiePower on by joining the Army of Women. Please read this special message from our friends at Army of Women and consider participating if you can.

Women who give birth before the age of 30 are at lower risk of developing breast cancer than both women who have never had a child and women who have their first child after age 35. This may be because pregnancy causes permanent changes in the breast tissue that reduces long-term breast cancer risk.

Is it possible that giving a woman a high dose of progestin (synthetic progesterone like hormone) could reduce breast cancer risk by causing these same changes to occur in the breast tissue? This is what a group of researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) are trying to find out!

To test their hypothesis, the researchers are studying women who are currently receiving Depo Provera (birth control) injections which provide a high dose of a synthetic progestin that is similar to the hormone progesterone, which is released during pregnancy.

If you live near or are willing to travel to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and are currently receiving or intend to start intramuscular injections of Depo Provera, and this sounds like a study you might be interested in, please click the link below for more information!  The researchers currently only need four more women in order to close this study.

Note: Deciding to use Depo Provera for birth control is a personal choice that should be made with your doctor. We are NOT recommending that you start taking or even inquire about taking Depo Provera simply to participate in this study.

For more information on the study, click here:

http://www.armyofwomen.org/current/view?grant_id=416

The Army of Women initiative, funded through a grant by the Avon Foundation for Women, was launched as a way to help researchers connect directly with women who are interested in participating in breast cancer research studies. Volunteers sign up at  www.armyofwomen.org and get an email alert every time a new study is seeking volunteers (once or twice a month). You get to decide which one you fit and/or are comfortable participating in. Some studies are as simple as an online questionnaire while others involve giving blood, spit or even tissue samples. And if you don’t fit the study, you can pass it on to everyone you know. The Army of Women has amazed the scientific community by their ability to recruit participants from across the country and world, rapidly saving years of effort and lots of money.

Join more than 355,000 women (and a few good men) who are willing to go the next step in eradicating breast cancer.  The Army of Women needs YOU!

To learn more about the Effects of Depo Provera on Breast Tissue Study, click here:

http://www.armyofwomen.org/current/view?grant_id=416

To learn more about the Army of Women and to sign up, click here:

https://www.armyofwomen.org/getinvolved

Thank you for all your support!

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Bunny Hop Your Way to Understanding Breast Cancer Treatment

Today, we wish everyone a wonderful day filled with love and family. However, rather than our usual JibJab holiday video, we’re dedicating our blog space to organizations we’re proud to be supporting, Army of Women and Until Every Woman Knows. Chances are, you know, or will know, someone with breast cancer. Learn what she doesn’t know–not every woman with breast cancer needs chemo. You may be the one to tell her about personalized breast cancer treatment. Help raise awareness.

Please take a moment to watch this important video about breast cancer, then pass this video on to all the women you know. Visit www.UntilEveryWomanKnows.com for more info.

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Exercise, Raise Money for Research and Make a Difference

Getting Real with Jennifer Poole

It is the time of year where every weekend it seems there is a walk/run event to create awareness and raise money for a cause, everything from breast cancer to birth defects to autism to cystic fibrosis. When trying to decide if you want to participate or donate to these events I ask you to think about funding resources.

A large portion of money for medical research comes from our Federal government. Right now we cannot depend on those funds to continue when budgets are being cut and government shut downs are looming. It is up to us to ensure that funding continues for the causes we care about. Get out and get yourself and your family involved. You can sign up for the race itself to get some exercise in or volunteer to help plan or staff the event to show support. If you cannot attend then you might consider making a donation.

This year my sons might not be able to attend Race for the Cure with me due to school events. If that is the case, then I will take the money that I would have normally spent on their registration and donate it for fund raising. Currently, my family and I participate and volunteer for the Komen (Boise) Race for the Cure and for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. I have included links to both of these events as well as the links to the national websites so you can find an event in your area. Remember, most things that have changed the course of treatment this country began at the grassroots level with limited resources. You CAN make a difference!

Find a Komen Race in your community

Find an American Cancer Society Event