Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hereditary Cancer and Cancer Genetics

Hereditary Cancer and Cancer Genetics:

'via Blog this'

This week is being celebrated as National HBOC (Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer) Week. Additionally, today especially is Previvor Day. This has so much significance to me personally and to all those who are affected by these cancers in their family. The definition of Previvor: (n) A survivor of a predisposition (or increased risk) for a disease such as cancer.  I am a Previvor and grateful for the chance to be here to participate in the week and the day itself.

Today is also the beginning of Rosh Hashana, quite literally, the head of the year. It is the beginning of the Jewish New Year, 5772 by the Jewish calendar. I am very proud of my Jewish Heritage and this is a time of year for family and reflection. It is said that God reviews our lives between now and 11 days on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. While we as Jews confess our sins of the past year, we ask God to forgive us and inscribe us in the Book of Life for the coming year. I have many items to check off on my list, I am not a perfect person after all, and hope God can see the way clear to forgive me.

So what ties HBOC Week to the High Holidays? Being of Ashkenazi descent and my immediate ancestors are from Eastern Europe gives me a greater chance of inheriting one of the three founder genes that increase my risk of Breast or Ovarian cancer. This is not to say those out there of similar lineage are at similar risk, after all, one needs to be tested and that is why I posted the link at the beginning of my blog. There are certain signs that if you have them in your family, should point you to visit with a Genetics Counselor and get started asking about genetic testing.

Statistics show that ethnic groups such as Ashkenazi Jews, French Canadians, African Americans, those of Norwegian descent have a higher risk of carrying either the BRCA 1 or 2 genetic mutation. My risk was one in 40 to be carrying the mutation. This is 10 times the chance of someone in the general public. Additionally, 40% of Jewish women with ovarian or fallopian tube cancer will carry one of the BRCA mutations and 20% of Jewish women with breast cancer the same.

Remember, that this is not related at all to the gene that determines your sex, so these genetic mutations can be passed on from either side of the family since you get one BRCA gene from each parent. My BRCA2 mutation that I carry came from my father's side, he had breast cancer as did his mother and grandmother. One 1st cousin also had ovarian cancer and that is what lead to our testing as a family. If this is the case or similar, please get to a genetic counselor. If you cannot locate one, the National Society of Genetics Counselors ( has a look-up tool to help locate one in your area. They are an integral part in helping you all through this journey. I have to say, I have spoken to 3 different counselors along the way from 3 different hospitals through FORCE events and my own experiences. Each had so much input and assistance to help me as well as my family. They explained genetic counseling, help understand the family history and how it relates to you and point you toward resources and tools.

One more aspect of Rosh Hashana is Change. As in the secular New Year, we make resolutions. My changes to make for the coming year are several fold. I want to earn more money so we are more self-reliant. I want to try and be healthier. I want to learn more to do at work and cross train. I want to volunteer more with FORCE and spread the word about hereditary cancer to save more lives.

I pray that I can accomplish these things and with God's help and my determination I will!

L'Shana Tovah Tikateiv Veteichateim, A Sweet New Year and May You be Inscribed in the Book of Life.

Love and hugs,

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Review of Roku HD Player

Originally submitted at Roku

The new HD, with built-in wireless, delivers top value in high-definition streaming.

I love my ROKU

By beth1225 from Willow Grove, PA on 9/12/2011


5out of 5

Pros: Great value, Reliability, Built in Wi-Fi, Easy to set up, Video selection, Compact, Easy to use, High quality picture

Best Uses: Kitchen, Bedroom

Describe Yourself: Netflix fan, Home entertainment enthusiast, Movie buff, Technophile, Early adopter

I am very please with my Roku HD. As a matter of fact, it is our second one we own, just got it today. I was able to cut back expenses on our Verizon FiOS account with being able to have the channels on Roku. Love it!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Teal Toes and the Silent Whisperer

September is among other things, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  People across the world are celebrating and marking it in many different ways.  Some are painting their toes teal and there are lists of various manufacturers who will donate back if you buy their polish.  Here is a list of some companies who are helping to support Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) as posted on the website,

Diamond Cosmetics -- They have just come out with their newest shade "Don't Teal My Heart Away" and are donating 25 cents per bottle sold to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

Barielle's new Wildflower Collection donates all proceeds to OCRF.  Purchase directly fromOCRF's store.  See Beauty Judy's shots of this collection.

Priti Polish is supporting Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month with their Tulip Tree Teal.  They are donating 10% to Nancy's List.

Karma Organic Spa is also carrying the "Don't Teal My Heart Away" and donating 20% toNOCC.

In order to express support of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week (HBOC), suggest to paint a pink ribbon on top of your teal toes to support those with BRCA gene mutations!

There are teal silicone bracelets to wear, teal ribbons in a variety of styles, bumper stickers...all things are available these days as they are for other Causes.

One of the utmost things to remember is that Ovarian Cancer is a "silent killer". Many women do not know they have it until they are at Stage 3 when most hope for remission is a low percentage. Many times, symptoms of other diseases are akin to those of OVCA. and your GP may not attribute them to the right thing. Sometimes the symptoms of bloating and unrelieved gas pains sends you to a GI specialist instead of your GYN. Even pain with intercourse may be overlooked or ignored because of the embarrassment women can feel.

The above symptoms NEED to be mentioned to your GYN.  If you are at high risk due to family history or carrying the BRCA genetic mutation, insist on the CA-125 blood test every year!  Although this is not the very best of detection devices, it takes some of the guesswork out.

Along with the blood work,  the wonderful (I am being sooo sarcastic here) trans-vaginal ultrasound is a must. Yes, it can be extremely humiliating if you have never had one before and if the technician is totally in-compassionate, you need to steel yourself to go back the following year and the year after and so on. This test may find growths or possible malignancies and lead to finding out how severe or inconsequential they may be. Without the test, you are asking to flip a coin and decide which can be even more detrimental to your health.

If you or someone you know complains of any of the symptoms I described above, please get to a medical professional. Better to test and breathe easy that it is nothing. 

Remember, Ovarian Cancer is stealthy, it is termed the "silent killer" for a very good reason.


Please remember I am not a doctor or medical professional. If you EVER have any symptoms or problems, PLEASE see your health care provider ASAP!

Love and hugs,