Saturday, December 17, 2011

What Are Breast Cancer Wristbands

It has become usual for people to tell the world about the causes that are close to their hearts through jewelry and various forms of accessories. What was once a colored ribbon pin has altered into other decorative yet issue-conscious touches like breast cancer wristbands. A cancer wristband raises awareness and money for the fight against breast cancer. It is one of the best new fundraisers for the said kind of cancer. It's most likely the one you'll see everywhere. It is typically colored pink simply because it is the most appropriate color for a wristband, symbolizing feminine strength.

More than a means to raise money and awareness, a breast cancer wristband is also an emblem of caring. Apart from being a splendid adornment, it is also economical that even kids can afford to purchase them. It only costs a few dollars. No doubt, you'll surely be doing something of brilliant value if you get all of your friends to buy one of these wristbands.

Historically, this style of bracelet began with Lance Armstrong's yellow "Live Strong" design that raised funds for general cancer research, and other styles quickly followed. They became popular for they are cheap, yet stylish and many give one hundred percent of the proceeds to their respective causes. For your convenience, they can now be purchased online or from any trusted retailer. More often than not, they display messages, like "Love - Hope - Faith", "Support Breast Cancer Research and Education" and the like, embossed on them. In addition to pink, they may also come in different colors, depending on the association or charitable trust that promote them.

Just like anyone suffering from any sort of illness, women who suffer from this particular cancer, likewise need all the support they can get. The more people who wear cancer wristbands would mean that more people are aware of the disease and are willing to remember and support all those who have died due to this disease. They pay tribute to all the survivors of this disease; people who have lived through the disease and survived it should never be forgotten. Sometimes they are bought by families in order to support a member of the family who suffers from such disease. With every member supporting a breast cancer patient in a family, a great difference is made in terms of morale on the patient's side as well as the family members'.

In general, breast cancer wristbands are beneficial in two ways, namely:

a. Wearing a breast cancer wristband is a good way to make a statement and help a worthy cause

b. Organizations raise millions of dollars every year to aid win the fight against cancer by selling these wristbands

Indeed, YOU can make a difference; YOU can help! Purchasing and wearing these wristbands imply that there are steps taken and a quest for information on the disease is there, which may favor research. Not to mention, it adds pressure on the government to provide more funds for breast cancer.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dreaming - the Breast Cancer Vaccine

I have a dream. Well, I have many dreams, but this one is about an easy, almost painless means of ensuring that no woman ever has to face, fight or survive breast cancer again. A vaccine. Am I just dreaming? Maybe. Maybe not.

Mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) is a proven cause of breast cancer in field and experimental mice. MMTV was discovered way back in 1936. MMTV-like viral genetic material has been identified in human breast tumors, but it's not known whether it actually causes tumor development. Research has uncovered a human mammary tumor virus, HMTV, which is 95-98% similar to the mouse virus (MMTV), so they are believed to be the same virus.

HMTV has been found in approximately 40 percent of all human breast cancer (bc) specimens examined, in 60 percent of pregnancy-associated bc's, and in 71 percent of inflammatory bc's. Women whose tumors show evidence of the virus have antibodies to it 95 percent of the time, whereas normal, healthy women have antibodies to the virus less than 5 percent of the time.

A research team, led by Vincent Tuohy, PhD, at Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute, have developed a vaccine that prevents breast cancer tumors from forming in mice, while inhibiting the growth of existing tumors. The vaccine contains the antigen a-lactalbumin. In the latest study, genetically cancer-prone mice were vaccinated - half with a vaccine containing the antigen and half with a vaccine that didn't contain the antigen. None of the mice vaccinated with the antigen developed breast cancer, while all of the other mice did.

Unlike the FDA approved cervical cancer vaccine and liver cancer vaccines, both of which target viruses (human papillomavirus and Hepatitis B viruses), this mouse vaccine targets cancer formation itself. Tuohy explains that the key in developing a human breast cancer vaccine is therefore to find a target within the tumor that isn't typically found in a healthy person. In the case of breast cancer, they are targeting a-lactalbumin, a protein found in the majority of breast cancers but not in healthy women, except during lactation. The vaccine is expected to stimulate a woman's immune system to target a-lactalbumin, stopping tumor formation without damaging healthy breast tissue.

The hoped for strategy would be to vaccinate women over 40, when breast cancer risk begins to increase and pregnancy becomes less likely. The vaccine would also be an alternative option for younger women with a heightened risk of breast cancer, instead of prophylactic mastectomies.

While there is still controversy over just how many breast cancers contain a-lactalbumin, Tuohy is hopeful that his findings might lead to vaccines for other types of cancer, and so am I. His vaccine is ready to be tested for safety in humans, but guess what. Komen has turned him down for funding 3 times and Avon has refused to even consider it. Hmmmm.... Maybe Mr. Tuohy scared the queens of pinkwashing when he said, ""If it works in humans the way it works in mice, this will be monumental. We could eliminate breast cancer."