October is breast cancer awareness month


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Breast cancer can affect all of us. Men and woman alike can get it. It did affect me in that my paternal grandmother died of it back in 1955. Before I was born, so I never had the chance to meet her. May she RIP. Also thru the years I have known several people have have won the battle!!

Here in Coastal Horry and Georgetown counties in SC. There is help for any one that has breast cancer.

Caring In Our Lifetime is dedicated to raising funds and providing financial assistance with medical expenses to individuals in Horry and Georgetown counties affected by breast cancer.

Caring In Our Lifetime


is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Tax ID number: 20-5177461


Caring In Our Lifetime was founded in 1997 as a means for the sales staff at Time Warner Cable in Myrtle Beach, SC, to assist one of its former co-workers who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. After the first year, Caring In Our Lifetime breast cancer charity auction was officially formed to assist local breast cancer survivors with financial needs.

The effort has continued annually to help many more survivors with their medical bills related to breast cancer.

Caring In Our Lifetime’s board of directors is made up entirely of volunteers and employs no paid staff. This non-profit entity has minimal overhead and therefore is able to give approximately 95 percent of its proceeds back to breast cancer survivors.

More than $400,000 has been raised over the years and the efforts continue. Thanks go to Carolina Regional Cancer Center who i


Terry Brennan with Artist Tree Studio has donated his talents for the past few years to Caring In Our Lifetime with the following pieces of beautiful pink ribbon art.

Visit Artist Tree Studio on Facebook.

s a major corporate sponsor...


Breast Cancer Informational Links
Places to Purchase Breast Cancer Merchandise

Who Gets Breast Cancer?

Anyone can. The average woman’s risk of getting breast cancer (BrCa) before she dies (usually of other things) is 1:10. Most women (80%) who get BrCa have no “risk factors” (but obviously, the other 20% of BrCa sufferers come from a much smaller segment of the population). Men account for approximately 1% of diagnosed Breast Cancers.

What puts a woman at higher risk: “First generation relatives” (mother, sisters) with the disease; very early menarche and/or late menopause (because of the longer time exposed to the higher estrogen milieu of one’s own ovaries); no (or fewer) children–especially if they weren’t breastfed; history of breast biopsies, especially with “atypical” findings. Also at higher risk are women with a strong family history of colon and ovarian cancer.

There are dietary and other predispositions: women with diets high in fresh fruits, veggies, grain and soy are less likely targets compared to their “fast food/processed foods/meat’n’potatoes counterparts. (Here again, you are what you eat!) Excess weight (releases more estrogen), cigarette smoking, alcohol excess and physical inactivity are also risk factors.

Types of Breast Cancer

Luckily, most BrCa is very slow growing (taking many years from “first seed” to distant spread), making possible early diagnosis by mammography and self-palpation and prompt therapy before distant spread. A couple of rare forms differ from this norm (most notably “inflammatory BrCa”, which can spread distantly in a matter of months of its first notice as a firm, reddened area in the breast).

Very interestingly, the type of BrCa that may manifest itself secondary to post-menopausal hormone stimulation is the most benign and easy to cure.


It’s hard to argue with genes and bad luck. That said, there are a few things women can do to level the playing field:

1. Diets that are low in processed foods and saturated fats and high in soy, grains, fresh fruits and veggies are protective.

2. Breastfeeding (for at least 6 months) offers protection. Whether this is secondary to some physical or neuro-chemical reason, or simply because breast feeding lowers internal estrogen levels for a time is uncertain.

3. Not smoking or drinking alcohol to excess is protective.


The operative word here is EARLY.

Mammography, frequently leading to directed biopsy, picks up BrCa early, frequently prior to manifestation by palpation.

Conversely, however, if a mass “feels disturbing” to a qualified health care examiner, a “negative” mammogram should never delay biopsy diagnosis.

Coupled with mammography, breast ultrasound can help distinguish cystic (usually benign) from solid (more worrisome) masses.

Most early BrCa’s are picked up by breast self-exam (BSE). 60% of masses picked up relatively early are done so by the woman herself; the remaining 40% by healthcare personnel. The ideal is a “daily” shower or bath palpation (to familiarize oneself with the usual feel of her breasts), plus a periodic (every 1-2 months) careful go-over and visual inspection.

A new, available, and scientifically proven procedure called ductal lavage can be added to the diagnostic armamentarium for high risk women. In this procedure (which can only be done in women who are able to express a small amount of milk or liquid from their nipples with vigorous self-expression), a tiny catheter is threaded through a duct in the nipple into the breast, and actual cells are rinsed out, frequently leading to diagnosis in the “precancerous” stage.

Who should be genetically tested for BrCa? Women with two first generation relatives (or one first generation relative plus other high risk factors), or women with strong family histories of ovarian and colon cancer may benefit from the (expensive) testing for BrCa-I and BrCa-II, the genes which place their “owners” at significantly higher risk for breast cancer.

A couple of different “quasi-radiographic” diagnostic procedures are in the investigational pipeline and may offer additional hope for early diagnosis–this remains to be seen.

Hormones and Breast Cancer

Traditional medical dictum is that “hormones” (estrogens) are a risk factor for BrCa and that is partially true. After a woman’s own ovaries and comparatively high level of estrogens they secrete (and of course genetics) long term and high dose estrogens (via birth control pills or traditional HRT at/after the time a woman’s own ovaries cease functioning) are a somewhat positive risk factor for BrCa. The key words are: a woman’s own ovaries, and “long term–high dose.”

It is now known (from meta analyses of over 45 long term studies involving more than 750,000 women) that, as a blanket statement, estrogens do not cause BrCa. In fact, if a woman with a previous history of BrCa (“breast cancer survivor”) takes short-term (for sure 2 years or less and probably less than 5 years) low dose HRT (e.g., to help with severe peri-menopausal symptoms), she has a decreased risk of dying from both BrCa and cardiovascular diseases than a woman who does not take estrogens! They key is: short-term, and low dose.

The key is understanding and individualization. The hormones a woman’s own ovaries secrete are far greater risk factors for BrCa than short-term, low dose estrogen supplementation. But this new knowledge will take a while to “sink in.” For a woman who is truly worried about a negative impact of estrogen on her breasts, the negative psychic stress effect of a daily hormone dose on her immune system certainly may outweigh any possible beneficial effects of the hormone.

Certainly also, there is great promise in SERM’s (Selective Estrogen Receptive Modulators), synthetic compounds which certainly give the same bone and cardiac protection as estrogens and at the same time significantly lower the risk of BrCa. The problem is, the presently available SERM’s (Raloxifen, Tamoxifen) do not in any way help menopausal symptoms–in fact, they make them worse.

However…the whole ballgame will soon be different with FDA approval (expected in 1-2 years) of a new generation of SERM’s. One of these, Tibolone, has been used in Europe (under the trade name Livial) for more than a decade. Not only does it have the same protection as other SERM’s, but it helps with menopausal symptoms as well.

It is certainly hoped the FDA will approve it soon (it’s been in the “pipeline” for years…)

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