Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Brigit's Notes

The Canadian Women's Health Network publishes Brigit's Notes, a monthly e-bulletin, offered as a free service to individuals and organizations interested in women's health."

In this issue

1. Time for Action on Unpaid Caregiving: Research Points the Way

2. Hunger Count 2005: Canada's Only Annual Survey Of Food Banks & Emergency Food Programs

3. Ginkgo biloba for Depression

4. Gender, Child Survival and HIV/AIDS: From Evidence to Policy

5 Practice to Policy: Global Perspectives in Nursing: Call for Abstracts

6. Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

7. More Women Are Choosing C-Sections Over Natural Birth

8. Changing Diets, Changing Minds

9. Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme (CWS/cf): Call for Papers

10. Gearing up for a review of Canada's Women's Health Strategy

11. Submit your own news item to What's Hot

Click here for the full bulletin. Brigit's Notes

Sue Richards

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Monday, January 30, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Miss Information

Some people instantly laughed when they caught a glimpse of my name tag. Others tried to explain the double meaning to me, certain that I was clued out. One person was offended that I had not chosen Ms. Information.

Most definitely, my job as official staff person of the information table was greatly enhanced by this simple effort.

Sue Richards

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Organic Conference

The Breast Views Blog will be taking the weekend off. Instead of lurking around the virtual world, I will be attending the Organic Conference at the University of Guelph. As Miss Information, I will be staffing a booth, selling Breast of Canada Calendars and telling people where the washrooms are.

The photo I have chosen to get you through the weekend with was taken by my yoga instructor. It is me in Final Relaxation otherwise known as Corpse Pose.

It was taken on Orangeness Day, hence the top.

Photo Credit: Jacqueline Gilbey

Sue Richards

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: The Pink Ribbon Program

I don't have breast cancer.

Women who do and are recovering from treatment and surgery require specialized attention and rehabilitation that speaks to their specific physical and emotional needs. Joining a yoga or pilates class may be recommended, but unless the instructor understands the effects of the various treatments, the program may not be well tune to the breast cancer survivors needs.

It's an uncomfortable truth that the incident of breast cancer is increasing. With that comes a need for more health regaining professionals to be trained with an eye on breast cancer.

If this is something that you are considering as a vocation, this link leads to a Pilates training course designed for you to specialize in running programs for breast cancer survivors.

The Pink Ribbon Program - Certification and Education for health and fitness professionals.

Sue Richards

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Breasted Canadian Politician

Our 22nd federal election is over. Once again, we have a minority government, this time with a pasty, male, Conservative leader.

Back a couple of year's, in a move that stunned the nation, Belinda Stronach, an under forty, savvy, millionaire business woman turned Conservative politician, left her big C party and crossed the floor to the then in power Liberals. This after she lost the Conservative leadership race to our current, brand spanking new, very square Prime Minister.

People gasped....how could she shift her loyalties so swiftly....what gall... whatever was the poor girl thinking.

Yesterday, as the dust settled and the new buddy took the top dog spot of running our joint, our newspapers were filled with finger wagging folk convinced that Belinda's defection from the current winners circle to the land of the defeated was just dessert. Their conclusion; as a member of the opposition, she will rot in obscurity.

Ho, ho I thought. Not Belinda. No I'd venture a guess that Ms. Stronach has had her eyes set on the Queen of the Castle seat from the start regardless of which party she worked with. The Conservatives were too darn old boys club to let such a creature lead their parade. So she switched teams. And guess what. The defeated Liberal leader just announced he is stepping down.

My succinct letter to our national newspaper on my prediction was published today.
That Belinda factor
Guelph, Ont.
When I add up the Belinda factors, I come up with the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada.
Sue Richards

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Monday, January 23, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Lemonland

Breast Cancer is not funny.

Learning about breast cancer certainly can be.

This site, created by the Mayor of Lemonland, is pure delight. I suspect she's working from the premise of the used car guides, called the LemonAide Reports. Or more simply by our understanding of the meaning associated with something being a lemon. Regardless, the site put a smile on my face.

That alone is worth a click through.

Lemonland: The refreshing way to learn about breast cancer.

Sue Richards

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I have not purchased this report.

I do, however, ask these same questions.

We can be sheep when it comes to following the direction of our medical advisors. The authority vested in our doctors coupled with our own fear of disease creates conditions for blind obedience. The following came across my desk today.

"It is a modern day mantra, widely repeated and unquestioningly accepted, that screening mammography offers the best chance of reducing breast cancer deaths. But is this really true? What can a woman really hope to gain by regular mammography? Are there hidden dangers in the methods used to detect and diagnose breast cancer?

This week we launch a new special report: "Mammography, Biopsy and the Detection of Breast Cancer." The report looks in depth at the shortcomings of screening mammography and also discusses needle biopsies, with an explanation of the possible link between this type of breast biopsy and the spread of cancer to nearby lymph nodes."

New Mammography Report

Sue Richards

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Vote

On Monday, January 23rd, Canadians can go to the polls to cast their vote.

Please do.

Sue Richards

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: The Day My Boobs Went Bust

Not being a boob tube owner myself, I am loath to suggest this on one hand, but compelled by a desire to spread the word on the other.

If you live in New Zealand, or the TV ONE viewing area, you may want to tune in on Tuesday January 31 at 9:30pm.

This is what's being serviced up.
Breast implant operations are advertised as the easy way to get a fuller figure and more confidence. But in many cases they can also destroy lives. Currently 60,000 women in Britain alone are ill due to having had breast implants, with implants leaking, rupturing or killing breast tissue and forcing their way out of women's bodies. The programme highlights the horrific problems that can arise, with shocking anecdotal evidence and disturbing visual images of women who have suffered or even died.
The Day My Boobs Went Bust | tvnz.co.nz

Sue Richards

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The Breast Views Blog: CBCN - Official Party Responses to CBCN's Questions

The Canadian Breast Cancer Network has just updated the Federal Election 2006 section of their website with the official responses to their five questions of the five main parties – the Bloc Québécois, the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, and the New Democratic Party of Canada, as well as the responses of dozens of individual candidates, listed by riding.

CBCN - Official Party Responses to CBCN's Questions

January 23rd is our federal election day. The way the polls are showing, could be a whole pile of progressive Canadians looking for a new home. Please exercise your right to vote.

Sue Richards

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Dog Noses for Cancer Detection

Dog breath step aside. Apparently we have cancer breath and dogs can smell our plight.

According to this report from NewScientist.com:
"Dogs do as well as state-of-the-art screening tests at sniffing out people with lung or breast cancer. The research raises the possibility that trained dogs could detect cancers even earlier and might some day supplement or even replace mammograms and CT scans in the laboratory.
The numbers are quite astounding. Read the rest of the report to see why K9's continue to rank as our breast friends. . Dogs as good as screening for cancer detection

Sue Richards

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: In Norway, a woman's place is in the boardroom

Good old Norway.

In the mid 80's I met an Australian girlfriend in Hell, Norway then traveled north above the Arctic Circle, out to a pack of islands and hung out for the 24 hour sun. Friendly folk those Norwegians. Beautiful place to live.

Now, the Norwegian Government is playing hard ball with business. They want to see more women crashing through those company glass ceilings and less 'pale men' running everything.

This story from the on line edition of The Guardian.

In Norway, a woman's place is in the boardroom

Sue Richards

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Link found between light, breast cancer

It's funny. Over the last year, thanks to working on research for the calendar, I've become tuned into electromagnetic fields and have done some shifting around in my house to reduce the amount I'm exposed to. Now I learn, according to this story appearing front page on Saturday's Globe and Mail, a women's exposure to artificial light at night may also be reeking havocs on her abililty to produce melatonin, a much needed hormone that regulates the body's daytime and night rhythms, and helps keep cancerous cells from growing.

Me thinks I'm going to be unplugging even more.

Link found between light, breast cancer

Sue Richards

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Canadian Election

This from my pal Liz Armstrong.

Elizabeth May, Ed Director of the Sierra Club of Canada, and many other prominent Canadian women and men have drafted the attached statement for the launch of the 'Think Twice Coalition' to be held in Toronto tomorrow (Friday) 10:30 a.m. at the Royal York Hotel.

It's all about thinking seriously about the consequences of electing a Stephen Harper majority Conservative government ~ and what this will really mean to Canadian citizens.

Representatives from the child care, aboriginal, women’s rights, health care, human rights, equality rights, environmental, arts, trade union, and advocacy groups have a message for all Canadians.

What would Conservative policies mean for Canadians?

• They mean privatization and de-regulation, and more cuts to social programs.

• They mean the end of the national child care programme, and the rollback of the $5 billion deal between ten provinces and the federal government. This is the beginning of the first new national social programme since Medicare, but Harper says he will cancel it in exchange for a dollar a day sent to Canadians, burdened with securing and financing their own childcare.

• They mean abandonment of the agreement just achieved with First Nations at the Aboriginal Summit, and reneging on promised spending to alleviate a housing and health care crisis for some of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens, women and children.

• They mean a health care system based on commercialization, not patient needs; based on competition between health care providers, not collaborative practice; a health care system that would allocate public health care dollars to for-profit business, rather than improving primary health care for our families; and a continuing absence of national standards for home care, and inadequate long-term care for our seniors.

• They mean the end to the possibility of a national housing programme, and no commitment to the income measures and services needed to reduce poverty.

• They mean more greenhouse gas emissions, the end of the domestic Kyoto plan to reduce emissions by 2012, and moving Canada from a strong supporter of further emission cuts to supporting George Bush’s camp.

• They mean abandoning efforts to protect workers' wages, pensions and benefits in event of corporate bankruptcy.

• They mean greater integration with the US, particularly joint military ventures (including participation in foreign conflicts and space-based military systems).

• They mean abandoning plans for new pay equity legislation.

• They mean abandoning a new national strategy for people with disabilities.

• They mean less government support for the arts and for public broadcasting.

Think Twice.

Sue Richards

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Bra-Makers Supply

I received this blurb from Beverly Johnson, author of The Bra-makers Manual, the 235 page,760 technical illustrations bible of "over the shoulder boulder holders."

"From its humble beginning as a square of cloth, to the engineered marvels of today, the bra has earned its place in history as both the most loved and the most hated garment. Some studies have shown that 70% of women are unhappy with the fit of their bras; others put that number at 85%. Bands that ride up, cups that don’t fit, and wires that pinch and poke‚– being in an ill-fitting bra all day is uncomfortable at best; but worse, a sagging (or bulging) profile makes us look heavier and older than we really are!"

Find out more about the book and the world of bra makers here.

Sue Richards

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Friday, January 06, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Breast Milk Bank

Canada’s newborns are in need of donated breast milk.

For more info on how you can help, check out this story.

Sue Richards

The Breast Views Blog: Making Breast Cancer Political

We, the frozen, are in the midst of a national election campaign. The Canadian Breast Cancer Network would like to encourage all voters in Canada to help put Breast Cancer on the political radar by poising these five questions. Even if you're not Canadian, tuck this idea in your hat for your own future elections.

Question 1: Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits

In 2004, The Canadian Breast Cancer Network conducted a survey on the financial costs of having breast cancer. When asked whether 15 weeks of Employment Insurance benefits were enough to get them through treatment, 75% of the 500 respondents said they were not long enough. Note that 76% of respondents reported being off work for over 15 weeks.

If elected, will your government:
A) Immediately direct the Canada Employment Insurance Commission to ensure that the section of the EI Monitoring and Assessment Report on EI special benefit claims duration is broken down by illness?
B) Use the resulting information on benefit claims duration by illness to lengthen sickness benefits for Canadians undergoing treatment for breast and other cancers as well as other illness that require long periods of treatment so that no one who is ill is penalized by the current limit of 15 weeks of sickness benefits?
C) Cancel the two-week waiting period for EI Sickness Benefits so that sick Canadians are not penalized?
D) When will your government institute these changes?

Question 2: Federal Funding for the Breast Cancer Networks in Canada

The Canadian Breast Cancer Network and the provincial and territorial breast cancer networks have been funded through the Community Capacity Building (CCB) program of the Canadian Breast Cancer Initiative (CBCI) since 1998-1999. The objectives of the Community Capacity Building program are to enable networks to act/intervene at the level of communities; to create improved conditions which allow people to access breast cancer information and support; and to focus on network development and community dynamics rather than individual behavior/outcomes.

However, the networks have been historically underfunded, with the entire annual amount of funding for the entire country at $623,000. This amount has not been increased or adjusted for inflation since the program’s creation.

In 2004, the provincial and territorial networks and the Canadian Breast Cancer Network were offered four-year funding, but with a 25% cut in funding each year of the last three years of the funding period. By 2008, the entire annual amount of funding for capacity building and increasing access to information and support services to the 21,000 women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer each year and the tens of thousands of women living with a breast cancer diagnosis in Canada will be just $263,829, despite the expectation of a huge jump in cancer rates as our population increases and ages.

If elected, will your government:
A) Immediately cancel the 25% cuts in funding?
B) In consultation with the networks, immediately develop a mechanism to enable meaningful participation of the Canadian Breast Cancer Network and the provincial/territorial breast cancer networks in determining adequate funding levels for their grassroots capacity building activities?
C) Immediately upwardly adjust funding to the provincial/territorial breast cancer networks and the Canadian Breast Cancer Network?
D) Ensure that there is permanent, dedicated funding to the Canadian Breast Cancer Initiative (CBCI)?
E) Ensure that there is permanent dedicated funding to the Community Capacity Building program under which the Canadian Breast Cancer Network and the provincial/territorial breast cancer networks are funded to provide capacity building at a grassroots level?

Question 3: Wait Times

Wait times for the diagnosis and treatment of breast and other cancers continue to lengthen in the following areas:
- The wait time from an abnormal screen to the diagnosis of breast cancer
- The wait time from the diagnosis of breast cancer to surgery and treatment
- The wait time for approval of new drugs, which involves at least two issues: 1) the financial cost of drugs to patients and 2) the long drug approval process that may prevent patients in treatment from receiving the most appropriate drug treatment

If elected, how will your government:
A) Ensure that wait times are decreased across the country to meet national best practice guidelines for acceptable wait times from an abnormal screen to the diagnosis of breast cancer and from the diagnosis of breast cancer to surgery and treatment?
B) Ensure faster approval of new drugs?
C) Ensure that women and men diagnosed with breast and other cancers who do not have private drug coverage will still be able to have no- or low-cost access to the drugs required in the treatment of breast and other cancers?

Question 4: Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control

The Canadian Breast Cancer Network has been involved in efforts to create the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control from the beginning. The Strategy was developed by the cancer community in response to the increasing number of new cancer cases in Canada. If this trend continues over the next 30 years, the Canadian Cancer Society estimates that almost 6 million
Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer; about 3 million will die from cancer; direct cancer healthcare costs will be more than $176 billion and over $348 billion in tax revenues will be lost because of disability due to cancer.

If your party is elected:

A) When will your government provide funding for the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, a coordinated and comprehensive plan to fight cancer?
B) What is the amount of funding your government will commit over a five year period to the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control?
C) What components of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control will be funded?
D) How will your government ensure that the voice of patients and cancer survivors is heard and that patients and cancer survivors are full participants at every level of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control?
E) How much funding per year will your government allot to patient groups?
F) What will the funding to patient groups be for?

Question 5: The Public Health Agency of Canada

According to its website, the creation of the Public Health Agency of Canada marked the beginning of a new collaboration with provinces and territories on efforts to renew the public health system in Canada and support a sustainable health care system.
focusedssed on more effective efforts to prevent chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease, prevent injuries and respond to public health emergencies and infectious disease outbreaks, the Public Health Agency of Canada works closely with provinces and territories to keep Canadians healthy and help reduce pressures on the health care system.

If elected, will your government:
A) Ensure that funding allocated to the Public Health Agency of Canada includes a significant, stable and dedicated amount of funding that is not impacted by infectious diseases.
B) Ensure that there is a large amount of permanent, dedicated funding within the Public Health Agency of Canada allocated to chronic diseases, including cancer and breast cancer.
C) Ensure that there is a significant, permanent and dedicated funding within the Public Health Agency of Canada allocated to the prevention of chronic diseases, including cancer and breast cancer.

Sue Richards

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Balance

I'm a believer in balance and yet am also a person who has experienced excess. Such is the dichotomy of being human.

As I get older and notice the time span I now require to recover from too much, I'm becoming better at practicing balance. Guess I've learned that 'believing' and 'doing' are two separate lessons.

Xiaolan Zhao is a traditional Chinese healer currently making the news. The crux of her health ideology is 'equilibrium or balance'.

Her views on our breast cancer epidemic are very interesting too.

Food for thought.

Sue Richards

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Breast Views Blog: Reconstructive Breast Implantation Complications

There are many reason's for a woman to consider reconstructive breast surgery. However, as with any surgery, it is important to understand the risks involved and be prepared for the range of outcomes.

One third of women who opt for reconstruction frequently develop short-term complications according to a study in the December issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Sue Richards

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The Breast Views Blog: My Mother's World

In 1955, my mother was 42 years old. She likely bought and read magazines, clipped the recipes and followed the advice.

See if you can read this advice column, published in a 1955 edition of Housekeeping Monthly on how to be a 'good wife' without laughing, swearing or hitting something.

Then, if possible, give your mom a hug for making it through.

Sue Richards

The Breast Views Blog: The Pessimist's Mug

It has been grey, damp and cold here for weeks. The house across the street, which I look at all day is grey. The snow...grey. Until the sun returns, I'm likely to be grey.

However, this is funny, and grey. I will admit that this link is not really breast related, not specifically anyway. But perhaps, on the greater scheme of things, The Pessimist's Mug relates to all things...breast-like or not.

Sue Richards

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