Hello everyone my blog name is. Simply I and I am currently serving a life sentence in the Arizona Department of Corrections because during the course of a felony act someone died. I am currently 37 years old and I have been incarcerated since November 22, 1996. At the time of my incarceration I had just turned 18 years old and I was 5 months pregnant with my first and only child. If you’re new to this blog you should probably know that the first 3 sentences I write are the same every time. I feel it is important for people to know who is writing this material because it might amaze some that I am a real human being. With that being said let’s get started.
If you think that by the title of this post this article will not apply to you – you’re wrong. The reality of the situation is….Cancer, does not discriminate. I mean we see it all the time rich, poor, famous, infamous, free, incarcerated, male, and female. No one is safe from this formidable enemy. During my 6th year of incarceration there was a woman (whom I’ll refer to as CC for the purposes of privacy). She was a beautiful Hispanic woman that struggled with a drug addiction. CC had been in a really bad car accident which led to her dependence on prescription pills. When her doctor discontinued her prescriptions she went to what she felt was the next best thing. Need I say more? Like so many others, her addiction landed her right into the welcoming arms of the Arizona Department of Corrections. Two years into her 6 year sentence she noticed while in the shower her breast had a strange discharge- being alarmed she put in to be seen by the Facility Health Services. After some tests she found out she had breast cancer. There have been a lot of these stories in DOC but for some reason her story is more memorable to me. She was a mother of three the eldest two were teenagers and were pretty angry at her for some of the things she did to them and their family while under the influence. She was so adamant about changing her life around for her kids – she programmed, went to church, taught bible study. CC’s words and behaviors matched a strong indication to me that she was using this time to get her self together for her family. She never got the chance- CC did not survive. There have many more women after CC that suffered from this disease but she is the one I think of when I think of breast cancer. Watching her deteriorate before my eyes was the hardest thing or to hear her moaning and crying when she did not feel well. For people who did not know CC before breast cancer, they just really had no idea how beautiful she was before cancer began to ravish her body. I don’t know what became of her children but I often find myself praying for their wellbeing and success in life.
On a lighter note on October 24, 2015 we held our annual walk for the cure event here in the Arizona Department of Corrections-Perryville. It may surprise you to know that prisoners celebrate this event and raise a substantial amount of money for the cause. I don’t have exact numbers to share but for me it seems like there are way too many women with breast cancer in prison. I can only imagine how I would feel in a larger population. Almost 12 million Americans are cancer survivors, which is approximately 1 in 25 people. And what about the ones that did not survive like my friend CC? Cancer treatment success rates are not wildly impressive for some types of cancer and the risk of recurrence is always something most survivors think about. Women are informed of how to do a breast exam and that the enemy exists but there is so much more to learn. How can we take back some of the ground cover from this common enemy? We can learn to be proactive rather than reactive.
Here are some tips you can begin to use to be proactive against cancer:
1. Decide to be proactive
· We aren’t powerless over breast cancer. Yes, it happens, and yes it’s scary. But there are things we can do now that can protect ourselves. But we have to choose to be proactive.
2. Start with what you’re eating
There are a number of foods that can aid you in your proactivity with all cancers. Here are a few…
o Research indicates that tomatoes have the potential to thwart or reduce the risk of prostate, breast, colon, lung, and many other kinds of cancer, thanks to their high concentration of the antioxidant lycopene. In fact, 72 different studies have been conducted by the National Cancer Institute into the preventative benefits of tomatoes. Research shows that cooking them concentrates the lycopene, making tomato-based sauces and stews even healthier than fruits themselves.
· Summer Berries
o Berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries contain high levels of disease-fighting phytochemicals that have been found to boost immunity, prevent cancer, lower heart disease risk and even prevent seasonal allergies. Blueberries, in particular, have powerful effects in lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, and reducing the risk of diabetes. Blueberries have also received the most attention as cancer-fighters, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068482/ a study in the June 2014 issue of Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy identified a chemical in black raspberries that suppressed the growth of tumor cells.
o Now, strawberries don’t add as much to fighting against cancer, but they have a phytochemical called fisetin that recent research found had a powerful effect in preventing Alzheimer’s disease I found it was still worth mentioning here. All berries are packed with antioxidants, but blueberries are most potent of all. Cranberries have been found in studies to be particularly protective against ovarian cancer.
o Cucumbers have anti-inflammatory properties- this is why most spas put cucumbers on their client’s eyes to reduce puffiness. Spas will also use them in their water because they aid in weight loss. And like strawberries, cucumbers also have high levels of fisetin as stated earlier.
o Wild grapes, Table grapes, and wine grapes are filled with beneficial compounds that fight aging, prevent cancer, and reduce the risk of pretty much all age-related diseases. Red wine grapes are the primary source of the anti-aging powerhouse resveratrol, which has been known for its ability to prevent and possibly treat breast cancer. Published in Cancer Prevention Research, resveratrol was shown to suppress the abnormal cell growth that fuels breast cancer (this is found in grapes). In another study, muscadine grapes (grapes found in the southern United States with musky fruits borne in small clusters), in particular, were shown to trigger self-destruction in liver cancer cells. And animal studies found more than 85 percent risk reduction for aggressive prostate cancer in mice fed a resveratrol-rich diet. In several recent studies, resveratrol has also been found to cause weight loss.
o Mangoes have copper, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and that’s just to name a few of the immune-boosting and anti-inflammatories qualities that can be found in mangoes. But most importantly, mangoes contain fiber and enzymes that boost digestion. And because of their color they aid in keeping your vision healthy (all orange type colors aid in vision health).
· Green Beans
o Green beans prevent heart disease, stroke, and diabetes; studies show green beans reduce the risk of blood clots in the cardiovascular system and brain. Rich in fiber, iron, calcium and minerals like silicon and manganese, green beans contain nutrients not commonly found in many other vegetables. They also contain the antioxidant kaempferol, which research has found to be anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, and even anti-microbial.
o Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts have been studied for their action against many cancers, most specifically breast cancer. They also contain compounds that stop hardening of the arteries, a precursor to heart disease.
o Prunes are loaded with antioxidants concentrated by the drying process. They also promote digestion and detox.
· Pomegranate Juice
o It’s packed with antioxidants that mop up the free radicals that cause cancer. Recent studies have shown that pomegranate juice can lower bad LDL cholesterol and flush plaque from arteries, too.
· Broccoli and Other Cruciferous Vegetables
o Sulphur compounds found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (plants including the cabbage, turnip, and mustard) have a strong cancer-protective action. One study found that men who ate broccoli four times a week stopped early prostate tumors from growing.
o These are immature green soybeans usually in the pod that contain a chemical compound (as genistein) that occurs naturally in plants and has estrogenic properties that protects against hormone-dependent cancers. And edamame, the fresh form of soy, are easy to eat as a snack.
Organic Free Range Chicken
o Lean chicken meat, served sparingly, packs a protein punch without the artery-blocking fats present in red meat. And if it’s organic and free-range, it means chickens haven’t been given feed that artificially stimulates growth with hormones.
The truth is, though, that you can’t go wrong with any fruit or vegetable that’s brightly colored, since the chemicals that provide those colors are also the ones that prevent disease. But wait – onions and garlic are also powerful disease-fighters, and they’re white. Think of the farmer’s market as your pharmacy, and you’re on your way to being proactive against cancer.
3. Know where you stand
· Know Your Breast Tissue Density
o Hopefully, you’ve heard by now that having dense breast tissue raises your risk of breast cancer. But here’s the more important issue: Do you know whether you fall in this category? Breast tissue varies greatly in how dense it is, which means that it has more fibrous and glandular tissue and less fat.
o If you don’t know where you fall on the spectrum, talk to your doctor and find out. (Or ask during your next mammogram.) It’s important, because if you fall into the 66 percent of pre-menopausal women (and 25 percent of post-menopausal women) who have dense breast tissue, an annual mammogram may not be enough for you to monitor your breast health.
o One well-regarded study by radiologist Thomas Kolb, MD, found that mammograms missed 60 percent of the breast tumors found via ultrasound in women with dense breast tissue. And thanks in part to Kolb’s efforts, public information campaigns like “Are You Dense?” are now reaching out to women in an effort to promote understanding of the importance of breast density. If you do have dense breasts, talk to your doctor about what type of monitoring is best for you.
· Know your Genes and Family History
o Angelina Jolie had a genetic test done to find out her risk of contracting breast cancer (as her mother died from breast cancer at a young age). Many thought it was drastic to have a double mastectomy but not to Jolie as she carries the BRCA1 gene the most dangerous of a number of genetic defects known to cause breast cancer. (There are two versions of this gene; BRCA2 also raises breast and ovarian cancer risk but not quite as much.) Carrying a BRCA1 mutation carries an average risk of 65 percent for breast cancer, and an accompanying 39 percent risk for ovarian cancer. But the risk is not uniform; there are a number of possible mutations in each of these genes, some more dangerous than others. Based on her specific genetic mutations, Jolie’s doctors put her breast cancer risk at 87 percent. These aren’t the only genetic mutations associated with reproductive cancers, though. There is a fairly long list of known genetic mutations that up breast and ovarian cancer risk. Those listed by the National Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center are CHEK2, PALB2, TP53, PTEN, STK11/LKB1, CDH1, ATM, MLH1, and MSH2. Genetic testing for cancer genes is extremely expensive, and often not covered by insurance. (It usually is covered in those already diagnosed with cancer.) So instead of spending your money on frivolous items try saving up for a test that could possibly save your life
o It is important to know your families history with any form of cancer. Be sure to learn yours before there is a problem not after you’ve been diagnosed. It is also important to find out what the signs and symptoms were for those family members so you can be vigilant in seeking help in case something arises
4. Connect your mind and body
o It has long amazed scientist and doctors the power of the mind and how it can be used to heal the body. I was once told by my doctor that little kids with cancer are taught to imagine a Pac-man inside of them eating up their cancer. I was told the results of this study were more than impressive. After all… we each have a mind, body, and spirit in one it only makes since to me. But try cleansing your body by envisioning a little vacuum inside of you cleansing any impurities every night before you go to sleep.
In conclusion, I wish all of you the best of luck and I pray this article is useful to you. Do you have any further tips or questions on this subject? If so, please share your insights with us.