I was always considered the night owl in my family. Ever since college, my sleeping patterns consisted of multiple nights burning the midnight oil (in addition to a couple of all nighters). Simply put, my body was pretty programmed to function better at night because it was the time of the day where I was least distracted and I could be very productive. However, a couple of months ago, I decided that I needed to improve my quality (and quantity) of sleep by adopting a normal sleeping schedule (aka, sleeping earlier and waking up earlier). It’s definitely helped with my mood and skin (well, I think it appears better).
However, I’m sure you all know there’s health benefits to getting more hours of sleep daily, but apparently, according to this NYT article, six or seven hours of sleep is still not enough. The article states that poor sleep does quite a number to your mood, productivity, and physical health (including your metabolism and weight control — this could add up to 10 pounds in a year!), among some factors.
However, one of the more alarming things that I came across in the article for women? A higher risk for breast cancer:
The risk of cancer may also be elevated in people who fail to get enough sleep. A Japanese study of nearly 24,000 women ages 40 to 79 found that those who slept less than six hours a night were more likely to develop breast cancer than women who slept longer. The increased risk may result from diminished secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin. Among participants in the Nurses Health Study, Eva S. Schernhammer of Harvard Medical School found a link between low melatonin levels and an increased risk of breast cancer.
Hear that ladies? Keep the hours of sleep you collect daily in check – and your boobies will love you!
In celebration of Breast Cancer month, many companies in the fashion and beauty world have announced their campaigns to raise awareness about breast cancer, as well as releasing products with funds going towards the research for breast cancer.
Issue: Fall 2010
Department: My Story
The Giving Tree by Alex Woo
Designer Alex Woo joined forces with actress Christina Applegate to turn personal tragedy into a cure for the second most common cause of cancer death among women.
My mother is someone I always admired. She was the most intelligent person I knew and taught me so much about life. She was also like a sister and best friend to me. We loved shopping and spending time with each other, and she was my continual inspiration. As a working mom, she always taught me to pursue my own dreams and be independent. So when I was in high school, my life was shattered with the news of her diagnosis. A cancerous lump had been found in her breast, and she decided that she would have a mastectomy and have the whole breast removed. After the surgery and rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, we now had to shop for different things — wigs to cover her hair loss, and special bras and swimsuits to help accommodate for her lost breast. Somehow she still made it fun and similar to our past shopping trips. We remained strong because we thought we would get through it all.
Although she had gotten better for some time, her cancer came back and spread to her lymph nodes. She had to stay at the hospital, so my father and I took shifts. I would spend my days with her, and he would spend the nights breaking hospital rules to be at her bedside.
I naively thought she would be checking out of the hospital soon. On one of the days, I got a terrible cold, and my dad told me to stay home and rest. He instead went to the hospital to accompany her. It was that day, at the age of 39, that she passed away. When I was informed of the news, I could not believe it and thought it was a mistake. I burst into tears because I never had a chance to say a proper goodbye and tell her how much she truly meant to me. Deep in my heart I knew my mom knew how much I loved her, but I still wished that I could have told her how much she meant to me and more. I learned from that day on how short and fragile life is, and my mother taught me one final lesson: to enjoy life and live each day to its fullest without any regrets. And always tell the ones you love how much they mean to you. Since that day, my father has taken on double duty as both parent and best
friend, and I became an advocate for breast cancer awareness.
Fast forward to 2008. After receiving her breast cancer diagnosis, award-winning actress Christina Applegate created a foundation called Right Action for Women to educate women about what it means to be at “high risk” for breast cancer and encourage them to talk to their doctors about appropriate screening. Generously providing aid to individuals who were at increased risk for breast cancer and did not have insurance or the financial flexibility to cover the high costs associated with breast screenings, Christina and her foundation brought much more attention to the cause. At the
same time, I had designed my “Open Heart” necklace, which was dedicated to raising funds to benefit breast cancer research. During her treatments, Christina regularly wore my “Open Heart” pendant, so when her new foundation was started, we wanted to design a new piece together — what eventually became the “Tree of Life.” In this design, we wanted to not only signify balance, peace and harmony in the shape of the tree and branches, but also to incorporate the feminine curves of a woman. The seven leaves represent each day of the week, as a reminder to live each day to its fullest.
I also wanted to incorporate Christina’s experiences in dealing with breast cancer. “This piece reminds me so much of the roses I made out of ribbons for my friends and family while in the hospital,” she said. “I am so grateful to Alex for creating such a beautiful piece to benefit Right Action for Women.”
For me, partnering with Christina, who has given inspiration to millions of young women, was an honor. When my mom found a lump in her breast, she was still in her 30s and thought it would go away. But by the time she went to see a doctor, it was too late. Thankfully today, there is not only better technology but much more awareness about the importance of routine breast exams. Early detection is the key and I encourage all women to be vigilant. Life is so precious — always let your loved ones know how much they mean to you.
For more info on Right Action for Women, visit RightActionforWomen.org. Net proceeds from Alex Woo’s “Tree of Life” pendant will help women at high risk for breast cancer get the screenings they need to beat this disease.
We may be nearing the end of October, but that doesn’t mean breast cancer awareness stops here. The most commonly diagnosed cancer among Asian American women is something we have to be vigilant about year-round. Here, a personal story about one woman fighting for awareness in the Asian American community.
“Asian women don’t get breast cancer.”
What if you heard these words from a medical professional? Susan Shinagawa did in 1991 after finding a lump in her breast during her monthly self-exam. Today, it’s those words that drive the work she now does. Shinagawa wants to make sure that no other woman of Asian descent will hear these words and that all women regularly get screened for breast cancer.
A decade ago, Shinagawa was working as a program administrator at an academic cancer center in San Diego, Calif. She says that, at the time, she knew very little about cancer even though she worked at the center. A friend of hers was giving breast self-examination (BSE) workshops and asked Shinagawa to attend. So she went to support her friend.
At the workshop, Shinagawa’s friend mentioned several risk factors for breast cancer that caught her attention. She had a couple of those risk factors and decided that she should start doing BSE. She began doing monthly BSE and recorded what she felt each month on a breast map.
“After several months of doing monthly self-exams, I felt something completely different in May 1991 than I’d ever felt,” Shinagawa says during our phone interview. “It was really obvious and just underneath my skin. I could even look straight down and see this lump sticking out.”
Shinagawa was preparing to take a leave of absence from work to join her naval pilot husband in Florida for a year. Before she left, she decided to get the lump checked out.
Her mammogram came out negative. However, says Shinagawa, at that time, 40 percent of all pre-menopausal women had false negative mammograms. The diagnostic radiologist decided to do a sonogram, which showed Shinagawa’s lump to be a solid mass, and not cystic. So Shinagawa went to see a surgical oncologist, who told her that she had fibrocystic breast disease, a.k.a. lumpy breasts. He told her that she had nothing to worry about, that she was too young to have breast cancer, she had no family history of it and besides, “Asian women don’t get breast cancer.”
“At that time, I really didn’t know anything about breast cancer or cancer statistics. So his comments really didn’t hit me,” says Shinagawa. “All I was thinking was, ‘I’m young and this is what I want to hear.’” But a little voice inside Shinagawa’s head kept telling her that something was going on.
The month of October is known for many things: Halloween, the middle of Fall, Columbus Day.
It also happens to be National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
In 2009, the American Cancer Society estimated that there were 192,370 new cases of breast cancer in the U.S. and 40,170 deaths.
Since 1980, cancer has been the leading killer among Asian American women. Though Asian American women are not as prone to breast cancer compared to most other ethnic groups in the United States, they do get it more frequently than their counterparts in Asian countries, who have the lowest overall breast cancer rates in the world.
By raising awareness to this cancer, women everywhere are empowering, encouraging and enlightening each other. We’re acknowledging that yes, cancer sucks but no, you don’t have to go through it alone.
There are many companies out there raising awareness for breast cancer through their products. Let’s check them out.
|Elemis Sparkling Beauty Collection $95.00
Get remarkable skin and help in the fight against breast cancer with this stunning new collection from Elemis housed in a reusable hot pink makeup case. Elemis Breast Cancer Collection contains: Elemis’ cult-favorite Pro-Collagen Marine Cream 30 ml, Pro-Collagen Lifting Treatment Neck and Bust 15 ml, Visible Brilliance 10ml, Cellular Recovery Capsules (14 caps), NEW Eau de Parfum 5ml
From September 6, 2010 – December 2010 $10 from each kit will go directly to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a non-profit organization offering specialized programs and services to all women affected by breast cancer.
|Emily Elizabeth studs $50
Bring awareness to breast cancer this October with Emily Elizabeth Jewelry! These gorgeous ribbon Awareness Studs are offered in pink gold.
40% of the proceeds benefit the Feel Your Boobies Foundation throughout this October.
|Necklace from J-Lynn Jewelry $65.00
A 16-18″ adjustable Sterling Silver chain holds a strong message of Love and Support for finding a cure for breast cancer. Honor a loved one who has either conquered the disease or sadly has passed with a sterling silver initial charm, silver ribbon and pink topaz drop. Or, wear your own initial as a sign of courage and strength.
$10 from the sale of this necklace will be donated to the charity of your choice in honor of you, your friend or family member.
|Vonny Tote $78.00
This multi-use, over the shoulder tote is perfect for all the multitasking women out there.
For any product that people purchase in the Pink Mardi Gras print in October, Vonny will give 20% back to the Susan G Komen foundation.
|CHI Helmet Head $14.99
Part of the CHI Thermal styling collection, Helmet Head Extra Firm Hair Spray locks in style and protects against wind, moisture and humidity. For the months of September and October, CHI Helmet Head, Farouk Systems’ best selling hairspray, will come in Breast Cancer pink packaging.
A portion of each Limited Edition Pink CHI Helmet Head sold will be donated to support breast cancer research.
|China Glaze Nail Polish Collection$6.50/bottle
This strong China Glaze collection is called “Fight Like a Woman” and the colors are Encouragement, Empowerment, and Endurance.
Portions of sales of China Glaze donates to the International Agency on Cancer (IARC).
Afterglow’s Organize Lip Love Lipstick in MUSE
For the past four years, organic makeup company Afterglow Cosmetics, has been dedicated to supporting breast causes across the United States. This year, the breast cancer organization recipient will be Young Survival Coalition which will receive $2 for every purchase of Afterglow¹s Organic Lip Love Lipstick in MUSE.
Loving what you see? It could be yours! Our TGI Free Friday next week will consist of an AMAZING packet of goodies helping to raise Breast Cancer Awareness. We’ll also be doing random giveaways throughout the week so follow @audreymagazine on Twitter and Facebook and check back to win!
Everyone likes free stuff but don’t you like it even better when it’s going to a good cause?
“I like it on” Facebook has virally infected more people than the common cold, but has it actually discolored the “go pink” celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month? For those who have yet to be hit by the status update, it’s a movement by females to announce their purse location without revealing the word itself. Even if the general public has abused the real meaning of the cause, here are some celebrities who give a brighter light to the dark matter.
Community star, Ken Jeong made a debut on The Ellen Show this week, and he admitted that he couldn’t have made an appearance at a better time than during Breast Cancer Awareness month. He discussed how his wife discovered a lump, while breastfeeding one of their twins. Check out his emotional conversation here:
According to the National Cancer Institute, there have been 207,090 new cases for 2010. As Jeong said, even if you have the slightest of questions regarding breast cancer, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor!
We’d love to hear Audrey readers’ own experiences with breast cancer. If you’d like to share with us, please comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line: My Breast Cancer Story. Let’s raise awareness for the cause together!