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Special Message from Barbara

This week’s newsletter is different. I am taking a month or two off to regroup and re-energize. There will be no newsletters during this time. My commitment is to come back with renewed energy, fresh ideas, and a new perspective. Please be patient with me. This is something we all need to learn – when to take time off for self-care. It is part of the healing process – even years later – it’s part of life.

In the interim, if you have any thoughts, ideas, or issues you’d like to see discussed, please drop me a line at I will not be totally out of communication. I would love to hear how you manage your self-care. Do you take time off – jump off the cycle of doing?

You may see some posts on Facebook as I progress through this process. I am excited and already feel my creative energy returning. Part of my process is de-cluttering and getting back to simple – the basics. Life can get way too complicated – more complicated than it needs to be.

I will continue to teach my classes – Healthy-Steps™, Moves In Rhythm (my own program) and the Knitting Group – all at Wellspring Calgary. I need the social and physical interaction for my own health and well-being.

Chat with you again in a couple of months. Take good care of yourselves. I care for all of you.

Big hugs,


Attention Editors and Publishers

Cancer Help Hub content may be republished with a link to the full article on Such republication must include attribution with a link to the Cancer Help Hub homepage as follows: source, and then the website.

Is Anxiety Today Caused by Technology? By Barbara Cunnings-Versaevel

There was a time when life was quite simple. Life was less stressful.  In my lifetime, I’ve seen many advances, not all have been for our better good. Others have, indeed, created advantages that were not even thought of when I was younger.

Am I that old? I don’t feel I am. It’s just that there have been so many advances in technology in the years I have been alive that it is easier to see the good and the bad results.

What do I mean?

1. Life has speeded up.

In my first working years, letters were not only typed on typewriters using carbon paper between the pages to make copies, but they were mailed. Mail is slower than email. The advantage is processing time. There was time to think about decisions. We weren’t expecting an immediate answer as we do today. An email goes out and we somehow expect a quick reply.

Due to the fact that answers weren’t instant, we made sure to allow time for this type of communication. I recall working in a law office on Vancouver Island where legal documents for a real estate deal had to come from an outlying island. This meant mail had to travel by float plane to a hub, on to a distribution center on the mainland, and then back to us on the island. It took a few days.

We went with the flow. Yes, we might have wanted quicker responses, but that wasn’t what was going to happen. We adjusted.

The margin of error was less as well. We didn’t have a ‘send’ button to push that sometimes nowadays gets hit on a quick impulse and can cause major damage because the message was not read prior to sending for accuracy of both facts and intention.

2. Availability 24/7

Nobody expected anyone to work 24/7 in the days when I first started working. In my area, we started work at 9:00 and went home at 5:00. That was it! We didn’t take work home. We didn’t have a work cell phone that kept us on duty after hours. If we were not able to handle the workload in the time we were at work, the workload was evaluated and discerned whether more help was needed or more efficiencies needed to be put in place.

When work was done, we went home. The hours after work were ours to use as we chose. That was mainly family time. It was time to spend with friends or take up a hobby or read or whatever. The fact of the matter was – there was time.

3. Shopping

Relating to the 24/7 issue, the issue of stores being open on the weekends comes up. Stores were closed on Sunday. People had a day off to recharge. In fact, I remember my first week in England when I moved there in the early ‘60’s. The stores all closed at noon on Saturday and reopened on Monday morning. If you had shopping to do, it had to be done by then.

In France, this is still much the same as experienced when I spent a month there in a small town a couple of years ago. Stores closed at 1:00, reopen at4:30, and then closed around 9:00. Mainly this is true for the smaller towns, not Paris. But still, the message is clearly that life is more important than work. People work to live, not live to work.

4. Phones

This is dating me but I remember the party line phone system. We shared a line with others in our neighbourhood. Eventually we got private lines and then eventually we could get push button lines on a business phone.

The advent of the cell phone and now all these smartphones and iPads has revolutionized how we communicate. They have also changed drastically how we live.

Now it is possible to be available 24/7 unless we deliberately choose to turn off our phones. Businesses expect employees to be on call in off hours for consultation and/or emergencies. Emergencies, I understand. This is necessary for several professions. The rest fits in with the speeded up response time required in transactions.

Many people do not have a land line anymore. They simply use their smartphone. I can see that this can be an advantage. People are no longer tied to a physical phone location. However, it does mean you are always accessible. I see people walking around the park attached to their phone. They don’t even notice what is around them. The benefits of a relaxing walk in nature are obliterated by taking their work with them. I prefer to just enjoy the walk and treat it as time for me.

If you’ve watched young people, they can be sitting side by side yet still texting each other. No verbal communication sitting across or even beside each other. No eye contact – only eyes glued on the phone screen. I believe we are losing valuable skills in communication. How can they see what a person is saying versus just what comes out in text. Visual meanings and emotions are missed – valuable information in the building of relationships.

5. Time Off/Vacations

Time off has disappeared. I find it myself. I have to make a conscious effort to not be totally accessible. I choose to close my office door and not open my computer. I make an effort to go out and visit with friends.

Even when you take a vacation, there is stress now due to the advanced communication tools. Think of all the emails that pile up when you’re away. Sometimes it takes days to clear the email the backlog. Often it is easier to just check them while you’re away so you don’t have to face all the emails when you get back, but then where did the ‘vacation’ go.

This never used to happen when I was younger. When we went away on vacation, it was a true vacation. You left the office at home. You relaxed and gave your brain a rest. It was time to re-energize.

Some people are now understanding this ‘old’ concept and going ‘unplugged’. I do that. If something is really critical, there are other ways to reach me. Otherwise, I don’t want to know. I’m off the grid.

Where is this all leading?

Stress is a huge factor in dis-ease, especially cancer. It affects our immune system causing it to be suppressed. No wonder there are so many people sick with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.  in a nation that is so advanced.  We literally are killing ourselves running to keep up to the technology that has created a lifestyle of ‘24/7’ accessibility.

Technology was supposed to give us more leisure time. That was the promise. It didn’t happen.

Are we at a point where we now need to learn how to use this new technology in a better way? I hope so. I believe that some people have been able to do this effectively. But as I look around, the vast majority of people are still living with the stress of technology.

We need to rethink our present lifestyles and turn back our ‘illness’ society. I know I am even though I am not as tied to technology as most people, it still is a stress factor of which I am aware and know something has to shift.

What do you think? Does any of this resonate with you?

To your good health and more free time to be you,


Attention Editors and Publishers

Cancer Help Hub content may be republished with a link to the full article on Such republication must include attribution with a link to the Cancer Help Hub homepage as follows: source, and then the website.

Back to Basics – Finding Our Way Again By Barbara Cunnings-Versaevel

This is a concept that you may have or will become acquainted with as time lengthens from the time of diagnosis and along the road when you are well into healing mode or beyond.

We like to think that we will remember all the lessons we learned from our cancer diagnosis. The slowing down, the better nutrition, the exercise – all the lifestyle changes we made in order to be well. However, in the real world of living, as we get better and feel better, resolve slackens. You may find yourself easing off and being less attentive to what was working.

I know. This happens to me. It’s been over 25 years since my diagnosis. In that time, I have gone through this process a few times to say the least. Each year out, I loosen up the reins on staying on path and slip into comfort areas.

Is this harmful?

I don’t think so. I actually think it is good and more importantly, realistic. In the periods when I am not staying on track, my body and life lead me back eventually to what creates health. It gives me time to realize that I made all these changes for a reason. They worked. My body liked them. My lifestyle ran smoother. It then becomes a no-brainer that I need to go back to basics.

One thing I’ve found interesting as I’ve traveled this road of recovery, is the change in the basics. Somehow or other, as my body and lifestyle have adjusted to new routines and nutrients, my healthier body needs different elements. I can work a little longer than I used to right after treatment and even in the years close to treatment. I am able to push a little harder to achieve goals. I can ‘cheat’ a little on foods that taste good but may not be something I want in my daily diet. I can recover faster from nights when I don’t sleep well.

However, just like anything, there are limits. This is the process of discovering new limits to the basics. It’s trial and error. For sure, your body will tell you when you have gone beyond.

How do you know?

For me, I start to lose energy. My thinking becomes foggy. I lose interest in activities and projects that I normally totally enjoy. In other words, life becomes a slug.

This can happen when I go one too many nights with poor sleep. This poor sleep can originate from too many things on the go which for me creates an overactive mind that won’t turn off when I go to bed. I’ve taken on too much. Then I have to start saying NO and be more realistic about what I truly can manage.

Food is another area where your body will rebel if you go too far astray from what it needs. I have tried many different approaches to food and supplements. Sometimes they work for a while then gradually they either become less effective or too difficult to maintain. This is when I start listening to my body and figuring out what my body needs and will tolerate. This may not be exactly in line with any particular concept, but an individualized adjustment to my body. And, we all need room for treats or the odd indulgence for foods and/or activities that bring us joy.

For me, ice cream is a big one. I love good ice cream. It brings back wonderful memories of my childhood when my Dad would take us for a drive on a Sunday afternoon. We’d end the trip with a stop of our favorite dairy for a big ice cream cone. There was also a favorite hangout in my hometown of Kitchener, Ontario. An ice cream parlor where they served homemade ice cream. It was absolutely delicious and has spoiled me. I cannot tolerate the run of the mill ice cream sold in the stores. It has to be the real deal – Hagen Daaz or Ben & Jerry’s. There is a limit though to how much ice cream I will eat. It stays a treat, not a regular dessert.

Exercise is another big one. If I don’t get my regular exercise – an hour walk plus my dance classes that I teach, my body tells me. Not only my body feels off, but my whole emotional well-being is off kilter. I still remember my Mom forcing me to my dance classes during study week at school. She always said that I functioned better when I took my classes instead of taking the time off to study. The truth is, I studied better if I was taking my classes. Plus my Mom would probably say I was easier to have around the house.

We all know what works for us. It’s another thing to make sure that we pay attention and do those things all the time. It’s human nature to relax and just enjoy. After all, life needs to be enjoyed. It can’t all be strict discipline.

The important lesson here, the one I’ve learned, is that it is okay to venture into comfort zone. However, we need to be aware when we have strayed too far so that we can pull back to our healthy space and routine. Sometimes it takes longer to realize this timing than others. That’s okay, as long as we know where we need to be in order to stay healthy.

As we’ve talked about before, it is all a matter of defining our path of recovery. Once we know what it looks like, we can always find our way back. It may change a little in direction from time to time, but generally, it will be similar and fairly true. This is the process of discovery – the discovery of who we are and what works for us as individuals, not a collective.

To you and your unique healing path,


Attention Editors and Publishers

Cancer Help Hub content may be republished with a link to the full article on Such republication must include attribution with a link to the Cancer Help Hub homepage as follows: source, and then the website.

How Do You Face Your Mortality – Or Do You? By Barbara Cunnings-Versaevel

Most of us live as though we’ll go on forever. I know I did at one time. The idea of being mortal was a concept, one I knew but had no real meaning on a personal level for me. I just envisioned that life would carry on and I would be entitled to a long healthy life. How simple and naive!!!

When cancer came along, it blew my innocence and belief system. Cancer was my wake up call. Yes, there had been times in my life when I knew I could have been gone in an instant. Being hit by a car crossing the road was one. However, I figured I had survived and the lesson was realizing how fragile my working life was as a dancer. When your body is broken, it’s pretty hard to carry on physically. It took a few months to get myself back into working shape again. I think I thought about death. I’m sure I did, but vaguely. What I do remember was the realization that if I had died in that moment of impact, it would have been painless. That was a revelation.

A cancer diagnosis was very different. For the first time in my life, I had to face the fact that just maybe I wasn’t going to live a long healthy life. Maybe my time had run out and this was all I got.

Obviously that wasn’t the case because I’m still here many years later; however, my belief system changed. I live life differently than I did before cancer. I’m very aware of how fragile life is – that each day is a gift.

In the wake of the cancer diagnosis and the reality of my mortality, I decided to find out what I really thought about life after death. Growing up, I went to church. I knew in my head that there was a God and that there was eternal life after death. However, that ‘in my head’ thought hadn’t really penetrated to my inner being. So I embarked on a path of discovering what all this meant to me on a personal level. I did go back to a church, but mostly to find answers that had eluded me.

This brings up the difference between religion and spirituality. For me, at least, spirituality became my personal belief about what happens after death. Was there really an afterlife? How would I know? What were the signs? I was fortunate to have a pastor who understood this difference clearly. We had long discussions which helped me find my way.

During my healing path from cancer, there were many instances of happenings that I had heard about from others experiences but didn’t give much credence. These were out of body experiences, messages coming in the form of dreams, the definite awareness of spirits walking with me, synchronicities that couldn’t be otherwise explained. As time went on, I have experienced more of what I had formally thought of a ‘supernatural’. Well, it wasn’t supernatural anymore when these experiences started happening to me. They were real.

We are definitely governed in our life by something extremely powerful outside of our realm of reality. Knowing this, it makes me aware that our lives here on earth have meaning. There is a reason we are here. What we do and say matters more than we’ll ever know.

I’m not sure all of you will follow my thread of reasoning. Belief systems are very personal and we all have to come to these beliefs in our own way and time.

Personally, I find all of these experiences comforting. It makes me feel as though I really am not alone. When life got tough, which it did, there was some power, some other being, looking out for me. I could call on this power or God to me, to listen and help me through when there wasn’t anyone around in my real world to be there. This still applies. I know that many times, I am guided to where I need to be. Circumstances and opportunities appear that I could never in a million years have orchestrated. They just happen – and they work. They certainly don’t happen by anything I do.

It also makes me aware that our lives matter after we are gone. What we say and do within our circle of influence lives on as our legacy. It can be as simple as something we say to someone, some kindness or help we extended, or simply just being there for our family and friends. We never know what our actions mean to someone else.

It encourages me to be authentic and open to whatever or whoever shows up in my life. I would hope that my legacy when I’m gone is one of helping to make the world a better place. Also to give hope to others that life can be awesome even if it is challenging. Life was never meant to be easy. It’s during the challenges that we learn about our mettle by how we handle the situation.

Will I go willingly when my time comes? Probably not! I will still be thinking there are more things I want to accomplish or try in my life. However, if I’ve given everything I do my best shot, then I really can’t complain. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a second chance or another go-around to get the rest of my To Do list accomplished. I’m pretty sure I’ve been here before anyway. So, maybe we get recycled and opportunities to finish what we have started and maybe didn’t complete in another life. It’s all conjecture. We will never know for sure in this life.

Cancer does open up the window to seeing life from a different lens. I am grateful for this opening. It has enriched my life beyond measure and helped me reach out for life in ways I may not have done before. We only get so long on this earth. We might as well make the best of it and give it a good shot. In the doing, we can leave our mark.

What kind of mark or legacy would you like to leave? We really do have a choice. It’s up to us to decide. Even if life is cut short, our time here still has great meaning. Although this may not have been what we wanted to happen, it is what it is. We still have choice on how we want to live and be for as long as we have.

Attention Editors and Publishers

Cancer Help Hub content may be republished with a link to the full article on Such republication must include attribution with a link to the Cancer Help Hub homepage as follows: source, and then the website.

4 Benefits and 3 Steps to Proper Fiber Intake By Dan Hammer

We’ve all been told that we need to increase the amount of fiber in our diets. The typical American diet has somewhere between 5-14 grams of fiber per day. In 2002, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences Research Council for the first time issued Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for fiber. For males between the ages of 19-50 it is 38 grams of fiber per day. For women in the same age category it is 25 grams of fiber per day. If you are over 50 years old, then the amount of fiber decreases to 30 grams for men and 21 grams for women. At best the typical American is only getting 50% of the needed fiber in their diet. Now, you might be thinking why would a bunch of scientists want to spend their time and your tax dollars worrying about how much we poop? The simple answer is your health.

4 Profound Health Benefits Related to Proper Fiber Intake!

Proper fiber intake may reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity in addition to being beneficial for treating or preventing constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis.

  • Heart Disease. One of the ways the body eliminates cholesterol is through the excretion of bile acids. Water-soluble fiber such as pectin and fiber found in rolled oats helps to bind these bile acids. By increasing your fiber intake you not only increase the amount of fiber available to bind these bile acids but also increase the speed at which they pass through your system. Since there is a direct correlation between low blood cholesterol and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, increased fiber intake is a first natural step in helping to control and/or lower your blood cholesterol.
  • Diabetes. Meat, chicken, fish and dairy products do not contain fiber. Dietary fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. This is also your main source for sugars which are carbohydrates. The more refined the carbohydrate the lower the fiber content and the higher the sugar effect. Choosing high fiber fruits, vegetables, and grains will slow down the absorption of sugar from the small intestines into the blood stream to help keep your blood sugar at a normal level. Insulin is used by the body to help regulate blood sugar level. If you can regulate your blood sugar at the entry level then your pancreas doesn’t have to work as hard to produce insulin.
  • Cancer. Your liver is your detoxification center and it uses bile to help remove these toxins from your system. As we have already discussed, water-soluble fiber helps to bind these bile acids for proper elimination from your system. Lack of fiber allows these toxins to sit in your colon longer as well as provides a window for them to be absorbed back into your system. This increases your risk for colon cancer.
  • Obesity. Fiber, by itself, has no calories. Combining water, with a diet high in fiber, helps to fill you up faster so that you eat less and potentially lose weight or at least prevent weight gain. In a Northwestern and Harvard University study of more than 74,000 female nurses, those who added the most fruits and vegetables to their diet lowered their risk for weight gain by 28 percent.

What is Dietary Fiber?

Dietary fiber is found only in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. It is that portion of the plant that is not digested by the enzymes in your intestinal tract. This insoluble fiber binds water to make your stools softer and bulkier. Typically, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables contain just as much fiber as raw ones. However, some types of refining processes may reduce the fiber content. Current food labeling requires the amount of dietary fiber to be listed. It will be listed just below the “Total Carbohydrate” portion of the Nutrition Facts section of the product label. For a manufacturer to make fiber claims it must meet the following guidelines:

  • High Fiber: 5 grams or more per serving
  • Good Source of Fiber: 2.5 – 4.9 grams per serving
  • More or Added Fiber: At least 2.5 grams more per serving than the reference food

3 Simple and Effective Steps to Increasing Your Fiber Intake!

When most people hear the concept of increasing their fiber intake they immediately think about eating multigrain breads and a lot of lettuce. This is not what their culinary taste buds are going to get excited about. Plus, it is not the most effective way to increase your fiber intake. The following 3 steps are designed to be realistic so that everyone can achieve the goal of increased fiber intake and be able to do it long term.

Step 1 – Examine Your Diet. You like bread, cereal, pasta, rice, and maybe a vegetable. By making some simple changes you could drastically increase your fiber intake while still enjoying your same meals.

  • Bread: 1 slice of white bread has .6 grams of fiber where as 1 slice of whole-wheat bread has 1.9 grams of fiber. Figuring two slices of bread for your sandwich, you just increased your fiber intake from 1.2 grams to 3.8 grams.
  • Cereal: Maybe you’re a Wheaties type of person which has 2 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving. By switching to 100% All Bran you just increased you fiber intake to 17.6 grams of fiber. Too much fiber and not enough taste than try Raisin Bran at 5 grams per 1 cup serving.
  • Pasta: 1 cup of uncooked pasta typically has 2 grams of fiber. Switching to 1 cup of Barilla PLUS pasta and your fiber intake increased to 7 grams of fiber. Add a ½ cup of tomato sauce on top and you added another 3 grams of fiber. What would have been a “5 grams of fiber” meal has now become “10 grams of fiber” with no loss in taste.
  • Rice: 1 cup of cooked white rice is 2 grams of fiber. Switching to 1 cup of cooked brown rice and you’re at 5 grams of fiber.
  • Vegetable: Some people think they need to add broccoli or cauliflower to their meal to increase their fiber and it turns them off. Broccoli has 2.3 grams of fiber and cauliflower has 2.5 grams of fiber per cup. Switching to 1 cup of corn gives you 3.9 grams of fiber, 1 cup of green beans is 4.0 grams of fiber, and 1 cup of peas is 6.8 grams of fiber. So, instead of having a salad which has 1 cup of iceberg lettuce at .7 grams of fiber you could skip the salad and add a vegetable that gives you 8 times the value in fiber.

Step 2- Add Fiber. There are a couple of simple ways to add fiber to your daily intake of food without adding loads of calories.

  • Breakfast: A medium banana added to the top of your cereal is 3 grams of fiber. A cup of strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries would range from 3.3 to 4.5 grams of fiber.
  • Snack: Instead of going to the vending machine for a candy bar or bag of chips why not eat a medium pear at 88 calories and 5 grams of fiber or a large apple at 90 calories and 4.5 grams of fiber.
  • Meal: Maybe it’s time to try some new additions to your meal like 1 cup of lentils or black beans at 15 grams of fiber, baked beans at 10.4 grams of fiber, 1 medium baked potato with the skin at 4.4 grams of fiber, or a sweet potato without the skin at 7.5 grams of fiber.

Incorporating some of the changes and additions we’ve looked at so far you could see the following improvements in your overall fiber intake:

  • A breakfast of cereal and toast could go from 1 to 3 grams of fiber to 9 to 21 grams of fiber.
  • A mid-morning snack could go from 1 gram of fiber to 4 to 5 grams of fiber.
  • A sandwich at lunch could go from 1 to 3 grams of fiber to 4 to 15 grams of fiber.
  • A mid-afternoon snack could go from 1 gram of fiber to 4 to 5 grams of fiber.
  • A dinner meal could go from 5 to 7 grams of fiber to 9 to 15 grams of fiber.

Just by making some simple changes in your food selection you could go from 9-15 grams of fiber to 30-61 grams of fiber.

Step 3 – Take a Supplement. There is some controversy in this area regarding the use of fiber supplements so I add this step with caution. But, if you are not willing to make the simple changes we have discussed in Steps 1 & 2, then talk with a qualified physician who can give you some guidance in this area. Typically, one tablespoon of an over-the-counter fiber supplement has 15 grams of fiber. Most people take their supplement at night after their evening meal. Supplements are not meant to be used as a laxative which is where most of the controversy occurs. They are only meant to be used as a supplement for those who are not getting the proper amount of dietary fiber from their diet.

Two Important Notes!

Proper water intake is fundamental to this whole process of fiber intake. On the one hand, fiber can be extremely useful in preventing constipation. But, fiber taken in the absence of adequate water intake can also be binding to cause severe constipation. As I’ve repeatedly said in several of my articles, proper water intake is the number one key to improving your overall health and wellness. Bringing in the proper amount of fiber with the proper amount of water will be a benefit to helping you achieve a higher level of wellness.

Due to its complexity, laboratory technicians have not yet been able to ascertain the exact fiber content in many foods. Because of this, you may find discrepancies from one fiber source to another. Add to the fact that there are varying sizes of fruits and vegetable as well as growing conditions, and you can begin to understand why there might be some variations in the number of grams of fiber listed for different food items.

If you are not used to eating high fiber foods then make your changes gradually to allow your body to adjust. Anyone with a chronic disease should always consult their physician first before they alter their diet. With guidance and using some simple steps to incorporate more fiber into your diet, you can get Randy from American Idol to say, “It’s the Bomb, Baby!”

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years. His website provides current information on how to slow down the aging process.

Attention Editors and Publishers

Cancer Help Hub content may be republished with a link to the full article on Such republication must include attribution with a link to the Cancer Help Hub homepage as follows: source, and then the website.

Five Easy Things You Can Do Now to Help Prevent Breast Cancer By Susun Weed

Rather than focusing on breast cancer, Wise Women choose to concentrate on keeping our breasts healthy through wise lifestyle and dietary choices.
The following tips may amaze you, since the actions and foods they suggest run counter to many alternative views of cancer prevention. They are supported with strong research, however – from the lab, with animals, and in long-term human studies. Thus, each of these tips has a solid scientific basis, unlike the assertions made by those intent on selling you their opinions and products.

Embarking on even one of these suggestions will definitely lower your risk of breast cancer. Using them all is even better.

1. Be more active

Evidence continues to accumulate that a vigorous lifestyle is one of the best ways to cut breast cancer risk. A study of 20,624 Norwegian women found those who exercised or worked out regularly cut their breast cancer risk by 72%. (NEJM, 5/1/1997)

For breast health I walk every day, take a weekly yoga class, and do tai chi twice a week.

2. Eat more unrefined seed foods

All seeds provide phytoestrogens. Women who eat the most phytoestrogenic foods are four times less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those who eat the least. “No study has shown a degree of risk reduction similar to that found for phytoestrogens…” (Lancet, 10/4/1997)

Whole grains such as wheat, rice, corn, kasha, millet, and quinoa are unrefined seed foods. Beans such as lentils, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, and chickpeas are unrefined seed foods. Nuts including peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and pecans are unrefined seed foods. And edible seeds such as sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin are unrefined seed foods. Fruits and vegetables that are eaten with their seeds – such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, summer squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers – count as unrefined seed foods. Even seeds used as seasonings count, such as cumin, coriander, caraway, anise, and dill seeds.

For breast health, I have replaced all refined carbohydrates – including white rice and white/unbleached flour products such as pasta, bread, cookies, crackers, pretzels, bagels, donuts, and cakes – with whole grain products.

3. Eat less vegetable oil; increase animal fat, especially from dairy products

“Diets high in corn oil leave animals especially vulnerable to chemically induced cancers” say researchers. (Science News, 6/24/89; 10/2/99) Frightening as this statement is, it is not true only of corn oil but of all vegetable (or seed) oils including those made from soy, sesame, sunflower, cottonseed, flax, and hemp.

If you are dubious about eating more animal fat and dairy products to reduce breast cancer risk, consider this landmark study reported in theArchives of Internal Medicine (1/12/1998). To determine if food affected breast cancer risk. The diets of 61,000 Swedish women between the ages of 40-76 were followed for four years. The results? For every 5 grams (about a teaspoonful) of vegetable oil consumed per day, breast cancer riskincreased by 70%. In contrast, for each 10 grams of fat from meat and dairy products in the daily diet, breast cancer risk was decreased by 55%.

Another study, begun in the early 1970s, followed 4,000 Finnish women’s diets for 25 years. Results recently released found that those who “drank the most milk had only half the breast cancer risk of those who drank the least.”

American researchers agree. According to a report in International Journal of Cancer (2001), women who drank milk as children and continued drinking it as adults had half the rate of breast cancer of non-milk drinkers. (Yes, I do buy organic milk, but the studies used regular supermarket milk.)

Why? Galactose, the primary sugar in milk, slows ovarian production of estradiol, a cancer-promoting hormone. Additionally, milk is rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a fat known to suppress breast tumors in animals.

For breast health I use yogurt, cheese, milk, butter, and olive oil daily, and eat meat occasionally.

Remember that olive oil is pressed from a fruit, not a seed. Women whose diets are high in olive oil, and who eat meat and dairy products regularly, have the lowest rates of breast cancer in the world. (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1/18/1995)

4. Eat less tofu and soy beverage; eat more miso and tamari

While it is true that if you begin eating soy foods as a child and continue throughout puberty the breast tissues you create during your adolescence will be highly resistant to cancer until after menopause. However, if you begin eating unfermented soy (tofu, soy milk, and the like) after puberty, your risk of breast cancer increases. (Science News, 4/24/1999)

The active ingredient in soy – isoflavone – when given to breast cancer cells in petri dishes causes them to grow rapidly. (Extracts of dong quai and licorice have a similar effect.)

Miso and tamari – fermented soy foods – are the exceptions. Both are strongly cancer preventative, no matter when you start eating them. Animal studies have found both miso and tamari highly effective in preventing cancer, even in mice genetically programmed to get breast cancer. And the more you eat, the more you lower your risk of cancer.

For breast health, I use miso and/or tamari every day. I occasionally eat tofu or edemame. I drink no soy milk, and eat no other soy products of any kind.

5. Eat foods rich in antioxidants; avoid supplements of vitamins C and E

A diet that contains plenty of foods rich in antioxidants definitely lowers breast cancer risk. But supplements seem to do the opposite.

Doctors in Stockholm observed that, among breast cancer patients, treatment failures were higher for women taking vitamin E supplements – and the failure rate increased with dose. Studying this effect, researchers found that the anti-cancer benefits of fish oils “disappeared when [we] gave… antioxidant vitamins”. In fact, when mice with breast cancer were given vitamin E supplements “the more we gave them, the bigger their tumors grew.” The authors conclude that vitamin E supplements “preferentially protect a cancer and even aid its spread.” (Science News, 4/29/1995 and 7/15/1995)

Supplements of vitamin C (synthetic ascorbic acid) are poorly used by body tissues. But cancer cells seem to thrive on it. (Cancer Research, 9/15/1999) One new “chemotherapy” links a lethal form of zinc to an ascorbic acid molecule; when the cancer eats the ascorbic acid, the zinc is set free to kill the cancer cell.

For breast health I eat 5-7 servings of dark green and bright red/orange foods daily.

Besides being active, choosing a diet high in phytoestrogens, eating one or more servings of dairy products daily, using miso and tamari regularly, and avoiding vitamin supplements, here are three more things you can do to help prevent breast cancer:

6. Sleep in the dark

Exposure to light at night increases the risk of breast cancer. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (8/17/2001) reports that chronic suppression of melatonin – an anti-cancer hormone made only in the dark – increases breast cancer risk by at least 36%.

For breast health, be certain there is no light (except from the moon) in the room where you sleep. Not even a night-light. Not the light from a clock. Not the little lights on electronics.

7. Drink red clover blossom infusion

Red clover is a potent anti-cancer herb. It contains ten times more phytoestrogens than soy, and in a more complete form. I have seen it clearin situ cancers and pre-cancerous polyps hundreds of times. Since many breast cancers take 7-10 years to become big enough to be seen on a mammogram, I drink a quart of red clover infusion every week and skip the mammogram.

To prepare the infusion:

  • Place one ounce, by weight (about a cup by volume), of dried red clover in a quart canning jar.
  • Fill the jar to the top with boiling water and lid tightly.
  • Let steep for four hours or overnight.
  • Strain and drink.
  • Refrigerate excess and drink within 24-36 hours.

For breast health, I drink red clover infusion regularly.

8. Eat seaweed as a vegetable

If the long-lived and cancer-free Japanese have a secret, it is seaweed, not soy. A sprinkling of kelp as a seasoning is nice, and so are nori rolls – but neither does much to prevent cancer. For that we must eat seaweed as a vegetable – at least a half-cup serving per week. Wakame, kombu, kelp, and alaria are especially effective, but sea palm fronds, hijiki, nori, and dulse may be used on occasion.

There is a rich variety of seaweeds available in Chinese grocery stores, health food stores, and by mail.

These eight tips – five easy ones and three more difficult ones – will vastly increase your chances of living to be a wild, wise old woman with healthy breasts. That’s the Wise Woman Way the world round.

Legal Disclaimer: This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner with a specific formula foryou. All material contained herein is provided for general information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Contact a reputable healthcare practitioner if you are in need of medical care. Exercise self-empowerment by seeking a second opinion.

Susun Weed, Copyright @ 2009

LEARN HOW TO PREVENT ILLNESS AND HEAL YOURSELF safely and easily the Wise Woman Way. Women’s health forum, FREE women’s forum, weblog, and email group. Topics include menopause, breast health, childbearing, fertility, disease prevention, nutritional advice, and cancer prevention. Visit the Wise Woman Web

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Dental Issues During and After Cancer Treatment by Barbara Cunnings-Versaevel

I must admit that I didn’t give any consideration to my teeth when I was diagnosed with cancer. It never entered my mind. However, during the years since my diagnosis and treatment, I have heard many stories of people having issues with their teeth and/or mouth while going through treatment and side effects after treatment.

To save you problems, I’d like to share some key points you might want to consider. These points are from an article posted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH) on their website. The following information is from their website.

. . . . . . . . . . .

What Are Oral Complications of Cancer Therapy?

Most people are aware of common side effects of cancer treatment like nausea and hair loss. But many don’t realize that more than one-third of people treated for cancer develop complications that affect the mouth. These problems may interfere with cancer treatment and diminish the patient’s quality of life.

Head and neck radiation, chemotherapy, and blood and marrow transplantation can cause oral complications ranging from dry mouth to life-threatening infections.

What Can Be Done to Reduce Their Risk and Impact?

The publication series “Oral Health, Cancer Care, and You” informs health care providers and patients about steps they can take before, during and after cancer treatment to reduce the risk and impact of these often painful side effects. The 12-piece series includes fact sheets and laminated pocket guides for dental and cancer professionals, patient education publications in both English and Spanish, and a wallet card for patients with space for the names and contact information of their health care team.

Three Good Reasons to See a Dentist BEFORE Cancer Treatment

1 – Feel better Cancer treatment can cause side effects in your mouth. A dental checkup before treatment starts can help prevent painful mouth problems.
2 – Save teeth and bones A dentist will help protect your mouth, teeth, and jaw bones from damage caused by head and neck radiation and chemotherapy. Children also need special protection for their growing teeth and facial bones.
3 – Fight cancer Serious side effects in the mouth can delay, or even stop, cancer treatment. To fight cancer best, your cancer care team should include a dentist.


Protect Your Mouth During Cancer Treatment

Brush gently, brush often
  • Brush your teeth—and your tongue—gently with an extra-soft toothbrush.
  • Soften the bristles in warm water if your mouth is very sore.
  • Brush after every meal and at bedtime.
Floss gently—do it daily
  • Floss once a day to remove plaque.
  • Avoid areas of your gums that are bleeding or sore, but keep flossing your other teeth.
Keep your mouth moist
  • Rinse often with water.
  • Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
  • Use a saliva substitute to help moisten your mouth.
Eat and drink with care
  • Choose soft, easy-to-chew foods.
  • Protect your mouth from spicy, sour, or crunchy foods.
  • Choose lukewarm foods and drinks instead of hot or icy-cold ones.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks.
Stop using tobacco
  • Ask your cancer care team to help you stop smoking or chewing tobacco. People who quit smoking or chewing tobacco have fewer mouth problems.


Tips to help you care for mouth problems

Sore Mouth, Sore Throat
To help keep your mouth clean, rinse often with 1/4 teaspoon of salt or 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup (8 ounces) of warm water. Follow with plain water rinse. Ask your cancer care team about medicines that can help with the pain.

Dry Mouth
Rinse your mouth often with water, use sugar-free gum or candy, and talk to your dentist about saliva substitutes.

Call your cancer care team right away if you see a sore, swelling, bleeding, or a sticky, white film in your mouth.

Eating Problems
Your cancer care team can help by giving you medicines to numb the pain from mouth sores and showing you how to choose foods that are easy to swallow.

If your gums bleed or hurt, avoid flossing the areas that are bleeding or sore, but keep flossing other teeth. Soften the bristles of your toothbrush in warm water.

Stiffness in Chewing Muscles
Three times a day, open and close your mouth as far as you can without pain. Repeat 20 times.

Rinse your mouth after vomiting with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup of warm water.

Brush your teeth after meals and before bedtime. Your dentist might have you put fluoride gel on your teeth to help prevent cavities.

When to call your Dentist?

Take a moment each day to check how your mouth looks and feels.

Call your cancer care team when

  • you first notice a mouth problem.
  • an old problem gets worse.
  • you notice any changes you’re not sure

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

I definitely wish I had had this information at the time of my treatment. Fortunately, I didn’t have any big issues other than an issue with neuralgia in my gums from an old injury. This happened during chemotherapy. Others I know had mouth sores during chemotherapy which were very uncomfortable. Other issues I’ve heard of happen when undergoing treatment for head and neck cancers.

There are huge ongoing issues that happen after treatment. These problems include:

  • dry mouth
  • no saliva
  • difficulty swallowing
  • difficulty breathing due to dry mouth
  • dental cavities and deterioration of enamel
  • and more.

Children get cancer. Their teeth are just forming. It is critical to ensure that treatment does not damage these young teeth impacting their growth.

For more information, I would advise you visit NIDCR and read their Oral Health, Cancer Care, and You Series –

Remember, that prevention is worth a pound of cure. Be proactive now that you know and make sure you have protected your teeth and mouth to the best of your ability.

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Why Does It Take So Long to Learn What You Need to Learn? By Barbara Cunnings -Versaevel

I asked myself this question this morning when I was doing my Morning Pages. A statement popped out which took me by surprise. ‘You need 9 – 10 hours solid sleep a night.’ It shouldn’t have, but it did.

Energy shifts have always plagued me and more critically since cancer. These waves of energy levels have been most frustrating for a long time. I know we all have different energy levels  as part of our physical makeup. However, it would still blow me away that no matter how fit I got or how well I ate, others could run circles around me. Part of this problem, aside from my basic DNA, is the fact that my mind can conjure up more projects than my body can possibly act out. This impacts my sleep. My mind is still working.

People who know me wonder that I can do as much as I do, but I always see more that can be done. This has always been the case. As a child, I hated to go to bed because there was always that one more thing I wanted or needed to do. Then, in the morning, it was hard to get up and rolling.

My moment this morning was interesting. I finally realized that much of my energy fluctuations have to do with the quality and amount of my sleep. Turning my mind off at night is a challenge. My body can be exhausted but the minute my head hits the pillow; I am choreographing, writing, or planning. There are several techniques I’ve used over the years to turn my mind off, but they don’t always work.

These techniques are: muscle relaxation, essential oils, meditation, qigong, tai chi, counting mantras, breathing. Mostly they work, but the resulting sleep is not always restful. I might be asleep but the brain is still churning.

The days I wake up full of energy, a clear head, and the ability to burn through tasks and projects with ease are those days when I have a sound and restful sleep. The strategy now is to figure out how to make sure this happens all the time. Here is my plan.

1. Make sure I have 8 – 9 hours of sleep minimum.

This isn’t always easy. I’m a night person. Mornings have always been a challenge. Being a dancer allowed for this pattern to work as my job was at night. During my school years, all the fun activities in my life were at night – dance classes, rehearsals, and shows. As life moved on, being up in the morning became necessary – a job and kids off to school.

2. Book classes later in the morning or afternoons and evenings.

This could work and might be worth making the adjustment. Currently I have morning and evening classes. Usually I’m wide awake by the time I come home from an evening class. Going to bed then doesn’t seem like a great idea. However, the next morning if I have a morning class, it does. Hence I’m not getting my full 9 hours rest.

3. Reset my sleep schedule to be in bed earlier and up earlier.

Can one retrain one’s natural body rhythm? Not sure, but I may have to give it a try. This way it won’t matter when my classes are, hopefully my body will be tired at the right time to allow me a full night’s sleep – my needed 9 hours.

As my body is getting older, not my heart and soul, sleep seems to be more of a requirement. I’ve been pushing this boundary for a long time thinking I could push through as I did when I was younger. However, this is not working, as I’ve often mentioned in light of the change that happens after cancer treatment. I know that I have slowed down. I have gotten better at recognizing when I need to rest more, but for some unexplained reason, I just never went to the simple root of making sure I got my nine (9) hours of sleep every single night – not catch up nights.

You’d think I’d be smarter, but obviously not. We are all human. As much as I work so hard to walk my talk, there are times when I get off track and do the very things that I caution others to be wary of. Maybe that is why I so understand where you are coming from – I’m there in the trenches with you – slugging along doing the best I can under any given circumstance.

Life does not always lay out a well thought out plan for living. There are many variables that come into play. Unexpected events, illness, appointments, time to help others, technology that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to – do I need to go on? It is stick handling our way through the obstacles that we learn how to cope, to figure out what works, what doesn’t work, and finally how to be proactive.

To be fair, sometimes being proactive doesn’t even work. Life will dump a big obstacle in your path to see how you’ll handle it.

Maybe this is the essence of life – what makes it exciting. You never know what you will wake up to the next day. I remember as a kid going to bed with butterflies in my stomach anticipating the next day and what treasures or excitement it might bring. There are times I still feel those butterflies. I feel them when I wake up and remember that each day is a gift. There is no guarantee that any of us have the next moment. There is no guarantee that life will always be the same. In the flash of a single moment, life can be turned upside down. I’ve heard and been witness to so many of these occasions.

What did I then learn this morning? Good question. Take charge of what you can and learn to stick handle through the rest the best you know how with the tools you have at hand.

With this said, I will endeavour to get my 9 hours of sleep a night and fill my body with energy to make the best use of the time I am awake in the daytime. Will it be easy all the time? Probably not, but then I know that throughout my life, anything worth having has never come easy. I have always had to work for it.

I will keep you posted on how this is playing out. I’d love to hear your stories of learning and challenges. I know we all go through them. It is the human condition.

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Create the Life You Deeply Want By Janet Jacobsen

“You are the boss of your own reality.” Those are the words in a handwritten letter sent to me years ago by Jane Roberts, who channeled the Seth books. I treasure that letter, but even more, I treasure that message: I am the boss of my own reality. I am creating and shaping the colorful play doh of my life with my feelings, beliefs, desires, expectations and actions. This is the life-changing paradigm shift from feeling like a hapless victim of circumstances to being an empowered creator your my life.

This paradigm shift was ignited early in my life when I read the book, Your Thoughts Can Change Your Life by Donald Curtis. At that time I was a depressed teen who felt unlovable and feared I’d always be alone. But that book set off fireworks in me! I was thrilled to know that if I changed my beliefs, I could change my reality. That began a long journey, which over the years took me 3,000 miles across the country where I eventually married the man of my dreams, as fate would have it, in the very church where Donald Curtis had been the minister!

The power of belief is not a new concept – Jesus talked about it more than 2000 years ago, saying: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” And, “I say to you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

When I first met my husband-to-be, he lived in Minnesota and I lived in California. If the power of belief could move a mountain from here to there, surely it could move him from there to here! I got out my well-worn favorite Seth book, The Nature of Personal Reality, to help refresh and prime my manifesting skills…and, through passionate and dedicated application, I managed to MANifest this amazing man into my life!

Here is Seth’s magic formula that I faithfully followed: “For five minutes only, direct all of your attention toward what you want. Use visualization or verbal thought — whatever comes most naturally to you; but for that period do not concentrate upon any lacks, just upon your desire. Make one physical gesture or act that is in line with your desire, and then forget about it.” Doing this every day builds the vibrational energy of what you’re wanting and magnetizes it to you.

Through the power of belief, imagination and strong desire, anything is possible, anything can be changed and healed…even cancer. There are many stories of people who have used the power of visualization to heal themselves of cancer. My friend, nutritionist Dale Figtree, inspired me with a compelling account of how she healed a tumor overnight using visualization!

Since I was diagnosed with cancer, I am once again reading my Seth book to remind me that through the power of belief anything is possible. Every day for five minutes I visualize and feel my body filled with shimmering, healing light. I imagine myself full of vitality and energy. I picture myself healthy and vibrantly alive. Then I take action steps toward that end, which includes eating healthy foods, taking herbs and supplements, exercising, and listening to meditation tapes that raise my vibration. This is the reality I’m choosing to focus on and manifest.

I can’t help but wonder sometimes if my fear of cancer was a focus that created it in me. That’s what the law of attraction might say. But if so, I reassure myself that I’m in good company. Many people on a spiritual path like I am, people who were living a health and spirit-oriented life, nonetheless got cancer; including Wayne Dyer, who once wrote, “What you really, really want, you’ll get. And what you really, really don’t want, you’ll also get. What you are focused on in your mind is what you attract.”

On the ego level, having cancer could seem like a failure. Yet, who knows what our souls are up to. I’m deeply aware of my souls passionate agenda to learn and grow and evolve my consciousness. My ego’s agenda is to have fun and avoid suffering. I believe that ultimately soul’s agenda trumps ego’s agenda. In my case, that’s the result anyway; and in accordance with the law of attraction, the result will ALWAYS show you your strongest intention. My soul wants to wake up as much as possible in this lifetime, and I am now vividly awake much of the time. Therefore, cancer has been a means to that end (instead of a mean end).

Jane Roberts also wrote in her letter to me, “Love the dusk and the dawn. Be thankful for this life.” I am thankful for this life, and thankful for this wake-up call that has made my life richer. I like the reality that I’ve created.

How about you? Do you like the reality you’ve created? If not, you can change it; you are the boss of your own reality!

Janet Jacobsen
Author of the book Oh No, Not Another ‘Growth’ Opportunity! An Inspirational Cancer Journey With Humor, Heart, and Healing

If you or someone you know is coping with cancer or other life challenges, you can read more of Janet Jacobsen’s FREE, inspirational, entertaining, and informative essays, as well as the first 4 chapters of her book, at to

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4 Natural Ways to Prevent Cancer By Longevity Medical

Are you aware that most forms of cancer are preventable? This isn’t a well-known fact, but should be. In 2012, an estimated 200,000 Americans died from cancers that could have been prevented. A lot of people know that cigarettes cause lung and throat cancer. However, there are other methods besides quitting smoking that can be used to live a cancer-free life. According to alternative cancer treatment centers in Phoenix, it’s not difficult to incorporate these methods into your everyday life.

About 1/3 of cancer deaths in America are associated with obesity, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. According to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), in America alone, a healthy diet, exercise and a healthy body weight could prevent 70% of endometrial cancers, 47% of stomach cancers, 69% of esophageal cancers, 38% of breast cancers, 45% of colorectal cancers and 39% of pancreatic cancers. New data is showing that a healthy diet may also prevent other types of cancer that aren’t research-proven to be preventable, like prostate cancer.

Naturopathic doctors throughout Phoenix have helped patients improve their lifestyles for cancer prevention. Here are the four cancer-prevention methods alternative cancer treatment centers are recommending to their Phoenix patients:

Stop Smoking

This is an obvious one, but few people adhere to this advice. They feel that smoking less is sufficient enough to prolong or prevent cancer formation. The sooner you quit cigarettes, the better your chances will be. Natural therapies can be used to help you quit, such as acupuncture.

Assess and Improve Your Diet

A naturopathic doctor in Phoenix can assess your diet to determine how it can be improved. A lot of Americans are nutrient-deficient. On average, Americans only consume ½ cup servings of fruits and veggies daily, excluding potatoes. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, you should be consuming between 2.5 to 6.5 cups of fruits and veggies each day.

Ask Your Doctor to Measure Your BMI

Obesity has been linked to certain types of cancer. By having your body mass index checked by your physician, you can keep an eye on your weight category. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. Anything over 24.9 is considered overweight.

Begin a Good Exercise Routine

Working out regularly can help keep your BMI in a healthy range and it will boost your overall health. According to the National Institute of Health, it’s recommended that you engage in either 20 minutes of vigorous exercising or 30 minute of moderately-intense workouts.

Alternative cancer treatment centers have successfully helped patients throughout Phoenix improve their lifestyles. Prevention is the best medicine for any disease. Don’t wait to get started with your cancer-prevention routine!

About the Author

Longevity Medical Center is the leading provider of naturopathic medicine in Phoenix, Arizona. The doctors of Longevity Medical Center are… (show bio)

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