Friday, October 29, 2010

Focused on a Cure: Breast Cancer Myths and Truths

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
Do you know the truth about breast cancer?

Myths and Truths about Breast Cancer and Mammograms

MYTH: No one in my family has ever had breast cancer, so I don’t really need to be concerned.

TRUTH: Your risk is greater if a close relative has had breast cancer – but as many as 80 percent of breast cancers are diagnosed in women who do not have a family history of the disease.

MYTH: If I’m going to get breast cancer, there’s nothing I can do about it.

TRUTH: Yes, there are things you can do. While we still don’t how to prevent breast cancer, we do know that early detection can improve a woman’s chances of beating this disease. A mammogram can find a tumor much earlier than you or your doctor can feel it. When breast cancer is found early, while it is small and before it has spread, the chance of successful treatment is highest. Early detection also means that a woman’s chances for saving her breast are better because doctors may be able to remove the tumor and only a small area of nearby tissue. You can also take steps to reduce your risk of the disease, including maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, getting plenty of exercise, and limiting alcohol intake.

MYTH: These tests cost a lot, and I can’t afford a mammogram.

TRUTH: Medicare, Medicaid, and almost all insurance companies cover mammograms. Some low-cost mammogram programs are also available. These are often promoted during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, every October. Some doctors, hospitals, or clinics may also lower their fees for women who cannot afford the usual charge. Also, the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program provides free or low-cost screening and follow-up treatment for low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women, with a high priority on reaching racial and ethnic minority women. Contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to learn more about special low-cost programs in your community.

MYTH: Since mammograms are x-rays, the radiation could be dangerous.

TRUTH: In the past 20 years, both the equipment and how mammograms are done have greatly improved. Today, the level of radiation is very low and does not significantly raise a woman's risk of breast cancer.

MYTH: I heard mammograms hurt and can be embarrassing.

TRUTH: When you get a mammogram, you stand beside the machine and a specially trained technologist helps place your breast on a metal plate. A second plate made of plastic is placed on top, and for a few seconds, the top plate is pushed down and flattens the breast to get a good, clear picture. The technologist usually takes two pictures of each breast. Many women may feel some discomfort, but it is for a very short time. To reduce discomfort, try to avoid scheduling your mammogram during the week before or during your period, when your breasts are most tender. Tell the technologist if you have any pain.

MYTH: If I get a mammogram, I’m going to find breast cancer.

TRUTH: Only two to four mammograms out of every 1,000 will lead to a cancer diagnosis. Only about 10 percent of women need more tests. If a suspicious area is found, your doctor will order more tests. Another mammogram may be done, focusing more pictures on the area of concern. The doctor may also use a thin needle to remove fluid or a small amount of tissue from the suspicious area. This test is called a biopsy and it is the only way to know for sure whether or not the changes are caused by cancer. A specialist called a pathologist looks at the sample under a microscope. But even if you are told you need a biopsy, remember that more than 80 percent of lumps or suspicious areas will not be cancer.

MYTH: I’ve lived this long without getting breast cancer. Why should I bother with a mammogram?

TRUTH: Your risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older. More than two out of every three breast cancers diagnosed each year occur in women older than 55. Even if you've been through menopause, you still need a mammogram.

SOURCE: American Cancer Society  

For more information on how you can help create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays, please call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit can also join your local Relay For Life at .

Focused on a Cure will be participating in the 2011 Cabarrus County Relay for Life.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Focused on a Cure: Logan's PINK OUT

Last night Karen and the girls from the studio had a girl’s night out at Logan’s Steakhouse in Kannapolis, celebrating Logan’s Steakhouse PINK OUT. Our friend and 2010 Focused on a Cure survivor Jen Powell hosted the event.

The Focused on a Cure exhibit was displayed on the Logan’s fireplace upon entrance to the restaurant. All of Logan’s wait staff was wearing pink t-shirts to support Breast Cancer awareness. 10% of all sales at Logan’s yesterday were donated to the American Cancer Society in honor of Breast Cancer awareness month.

Along with the 10% sales donation, Logan’s also had a car wash on Saturday October 23rd and a bake sale throughout the weekend. Volunteers gave out Breast Cancer information sheets and bracelets engraved with messages of strength and hope.

Eighteen Logan’s Steakhouses in North Carolina Participated in the PINK OUT program, as of last night Logan’s had raise $120,000 in support of Breast Cancer. Totals were still coming in from last night’s event as well as t-shirt and merchandise sales.

Congratulations to Jen Powell and the entire Logan’s Franchise for supporting such a wonderful cause.

Focused on a Cure: Northwest Cabarrus Middle School

Friday, October 22nd, we attended the Northwest Cabarrus Middle School Walk for Breast Cancer. Jane Jacobs, an 8th grade teacher at Northwest Cabarrus Middle School organized the event. Jane is also one of our 2008 Focused on a Cure Survivors.

Students paid $5 to get out of class for the afternoon and walk the track in honor of Breast Cancer. There were activities on the track, such as face painting and crafts. A Pink Cadillac was on the track for students to have their portraits taken around. Students had in memory of signs pinned to their shirts in honor of family members lost to Breast Cancer. Student wore all forms and fashions of pink. Pink sparkly sunglasses, pink soccer socks, one student had a homemade t-shirt from mom!

Mrs. Jacob’s class made their own t-shirt in support of the event. Our Focused on a Cure display was on the track for students to read and admire. Several students stopped to read the metals. One student stopped to tell us that her mom, aunt and grandmother all suffered with breast cancer. She had a pink cast with a pink ribbon to honor the event.

The Walk for Breast Cancer has already raised $4,000 with some sales still coming in.

Congratulations to Mrs. Jacobs and the students of Northwest Cabarrus Middle School for all of their efforts to raise Breast Cancer Awareness. Way to Go Guys!

To view more images from this event please visit

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Focused on a Cure: Pink Pearls

Last Night we attended the Pink Pearls event held at Concord Vintage Motor Company. The 2010 Focused on a Cure Exhibit was displayed right when everyone walked in the door. People were enjoying the exhibit when entering the event.

Special guest Molly Grantham from WBTV News was the guest MC for the event. Molly has personally been touched by breast cancer in her family. Her mother is a breast cancer survivor, her grandmother was a breast cancer survivor and her great grandmother passed away with breast cancer. Molly did a wonderful job hosting this event.

Models strutted on the runway in fashions by Brooks Brothers, Cache, Coldwater Creek, Doncaster, Kids CO-OP, and Neta’s.

This year’s event was the 30th anniversary of the Healing Threads Fashion show. Neta’s has been supplying clothes for all 30 years of the fashion show. This year was extra special because Neta herself modeled in the show. It was also the first time in Neta’s life that she had ever worn pants. Neta is a typical southern bell wearing dresses all her life!

There were two special models in the show to Focused on a Cure. Sabrena Thomas and Lou Hamilton were both models this year. Both ladies are both breast cancer survivors and part of Cabarrus Health Alliances Sisters in Partnership.

Over the thirty years of the Pink Pearls Fashion show Northeast Foundation has raised over 5.75 million dollars contributed to Breast Cancer awareness and research. This year’s event through sponsorship, donations and ticket sales raised $65,500.

We would like to thank Northeast Foundation for their support of Focused on a Cure as well as say thank you to them for all they do for Breast Cancer awareness.

Way to Go Guys!!

To learn more about Northeast Foundation please visit their website at

Friday, October 15, 2010

Focused on a Cure: Fox News Rising

We always love to announce news from our survivors. Jennifer Powell one of our 2010 Survivors was on the 8am morning show Fox News Rising today. Jennifer was showcased telling her story of survival as well as to announce her Breast Cancer Awareness Event at Logan’s Steakhouse in Kannapolis on Monday Oct. 25th. Her event is called PINK OUT day at Logan's. They are having a car wash, bake sale and 10% of all sales will go to the American Cancer Society.

Congratulations to Jenn for promoting Breast Cancer Awareness as well as for being a Survivor.

Way to Go Jenn!!

Focused on a Cure: Northeast Foundation

Everyone loves to get a Thank You for what they are doing. Northeast Foundation has been very supportive of Focused on a Cure from the inception of our organization. They also have part of our Survivor story exhibit displayed in their waiting room.

Today we received a card from them:

Dear Karen and Renda,

The staff of Northeast Foundation and I want to take this opportunity to again say, "Thank You" for all you are doing to promote Breast Health Awareness and to support and assist those who have and are fighting this disease. The beautiful portraits along with the stories of hope that you are sharing, are such an inspiration! We appreciate all you contribute to our community!


Traci Haltom

Donor Coordinator

Thank you Traci for such a sweet note. We also appreciate the continued support from Northeast Foundation for Focused on a Cure.

Please also view our story in the Independent Tribune at:

Focused on a Cure: Are you at risk for breast cancer?

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Are you at risk for breast cancer?

Although we do not know how to prevent breast cancer, it is possible to reduce your risk of developing the disease to help you stay well. Some risk factors such as age, race, family history of the disease, and reproductive history cannot be changed. However, lifestyle factors such as reducing alcohol use, engaging in regular physical activity, eating well, and staying at a healthy weight are all associated with lower risk.

Being a woman is the greatest risk factor for breast cancer; but men can develop breast cancer, too.

The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. Two out of three women with invasive breast cancer are 55 or older when they are diagnosed.

Breast cancer risk is higher among women with a family history of the disease. Having a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer increases a woman’s risk. However, most women with breast cancer do not have a first-degree relative with the disease.

Additional risk factors include:
Taking postmenopausal hormone therapy (especially combined estrogen and progestin therapy)
Being overweight or obese, especially if weight is gained after menopause
Use of alcohol, especially two or more drinks daily
Physical inactivity
Long menstrual history
Never having children or having your first child after age 30
Previous chest radiation to treat a different cancer
Previous history of breast cancer

You can help create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. To learn more about breast cancer and how to reduce your risk, call your American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit You can also join your local Relay For Life at .

Source: American Cancer Society

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Focused on a Cure: Sisters in Partnership Meeting

Today Karen and I attended the Sisters in Partnership meeting at Cabarrus Health Alliance! For those of you who are unaware of what Cabarrus Health Alliance does, they are an organization that provides health care to those who cannot afford the type of health care necessary for their particular illness.

Sisters in Partnership is an African American organization that promotes Breast Cancer awareness as well as provides a group for ladies to attend, talk about their illness and give support to one another.

As a personal testimony, I can say from the bottom of my heart that these ladies touched me today. They made me want to work harder for Focused on a Cure to beat this illness that they have over come. Each survivor went around and gave personal testimonies and I wanted to share a few of those testimonies with you.

 I am Bertha Williams. I am 96 years old, praise the Lord above. I am a multiple cancer survivor. I have had both breast and kidney cancer as well as I now live with a rare form of blood cancer. When I went in and was told that I had breast cancer, I told the doctors that I did not want to go any further, I was ready to go home to my Lord. However God was not done with me. Doctors gave me three months to live and here it is 8 years later!! I prayed for strength which he gave to me. Everyone else prayed for my healing so he answered their prayers as well.

I am Mrs. Pearl Asbury. My daughter went with me to my oncology appointment when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I told the doctor then that I had a great granddaughter due that week and that I was refusing to go along with his plan because I wanted to feel good when I was there with the great grand baby. The baby was born and it was a joyful occasion. I went back to the oncologist after getting back from my trip to start his treatment. They ran all of their traditional test and found that I no longer had cancer. That was 6 years ago, and I have been cancer free ever since. Praise the Lord!!

Another lady spreads awareness by purchasing Avon Breast Cancer bracelets and giving them to people that she meets. She meet a lady at the bank who had on wrap. She went over to talk with her and tell her how beautiful she was. The lady said " Thank you I forgot my wig in the car", girl you look beautiful without it and gave her a bracelet.

There were 10 survivors in attendance at this meeting and each story was more touching than the last. These two stories that I shared were the two that stuck out the most. The only common theme of all of their stories was that they were thankful to God for leading them through. They knew that this diagnoses was just a stepping stone in their life that God had handed them to lead them to another journey. All of these ladies were meant to do great things and they have.

Cabarrus Health Alliance received a large grant this year from Focused on a Cure 501(c)(3) and this is why. They provide services to people like Mrs. Pearl and Mrs. Bertha. These ladies are what provide us with  stories of healing and inspiration.

I hope each of you receive as much of a blessing from these stories as Karen and I did today!!!

For more information on Cabarrus Health Alliance and Sisters in Partnership please visit their website at:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Focused on a Cure: Ride for Cancer 2010

We received a sincere thank you card today from Tina Cull. She, as one of the Ladies of Harley, helped to organize the "Ride for Cancer" event at Pat Rogers Speedway Harley Davidson in Concord last weekend. The Ladies of Harley raised a total of $3,000 in one day! Way to go ladies.


Just a quick note to thank you and IP for your support and generosity! You helped our event be successful and fight this horrible disease. Thanks for all you do!

Tina Cull

Thanks for the sweet card, Tina! I enjoyed being a part of your event. I hope that next year I can be on a BIKE too! -Jessica

Tina's card was written on a stationary by Awareness Experts, Inc. 10% of the net proceeds are donated to breast cancer research! Every little thought counts!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Focused on a Cure: Carolina Breast Friends' October Events

As you know, Carolina Breast Friends received one of our grants last month. We're 100% behind their efforts and we hope to keep you posted on all their events and ideas!

CBF October Events and Announcements

Thanks to the generosity of many local businesses Carolina Breast Friends is pleased to announce the following breast cancer awareness month events. Mark your calendar now with these upcoming events:

All Month:

Brighton at South Park Mall will be selling beautiful silver ID bracelets with a pink ribbon charm. For every bracelet sold Brighton will donate $10 to CBF. CBF volunteers will be in the South Park store Saturday afternoons during October.

The Portable Pink House is still on the move. October locations will include Ballantyne Village, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Big Daddy's, and UNCC.

October 4-16:
Cottage Chic on East Boulevard will doante 5% of all sales to CBF and the Pink House for the first two weeks of October. The store is open Monday-Saturday from 9:30 to 5:30 and on Thursday's until 7:00. Call 704-375-1888 for more information.

October 5-10th:
Andrew Blair's restaurant is hosting CBF benefit week. Let your server or host know that you are there to support CBF and fill out a benefit week card and Andrew Blair's will donate a portion of your meal and beverage costs to CBF. Reservations are suggested and can be made by calling 704-525-8282. Gather up some friends for a fun night out for a good cause. More information at

October 14-16th:
CBF will be selling t-shirts, hats, koozies, magnets and more at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the NASCAR races. We need lots of volunteers for this event. If you are interested please email

October 23rd:
Apricot Lane Boutique in Birkdale will be hosing a Pink Party to benefit Carolina Breast Friends on October 23rd, 6:00 - 9:00 pm. For more details please visit

Pink House Update:

Pink House renovations officially began on September 28th. We will be posting pictures and updates on our web site soon.

October is filled with opportunities to be involved with CBF. Whether you choose to donate your time or join as at one of the events above we hope to see you in October!

Questions? Email

Join us on Facebook at!/group.php?gid=49080376026.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Focused on a Cure: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Join the Fight to Save Lives and Create More Birthdays

A simple fact: When breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent. Isn’t this something that all women need to know?

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a perfect time for you to join the movement to help fight breast cancer, save lives, and create a world with more birthdays.

Every day, the American Cancer Society saves lives by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back. Two-time breast cancer survivor Mary Martinez of Houston, Texas, is one of thousands of women who are champions of the Society’s efforts to help people stay well by taking steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer and getting appropriate screening tests to find it early, when it is most treatable.

“Early detection and prevention have been the lifesaving grace for me,” Mary says. “I recommend them to every single woman who crosses my path. There is no one who escapes my question: ‘When was your last mammogram?’”

Stay Well: This year, an estimated 192,370 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. The best way we have today to find it early is for women to get a mammogram every year starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as you are in good health. In addition, there are steps you can take to help you stay well and reduce your risk of breast cancer, such as maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink per day (no more than two drinks per day for men).

Get Well: If you or a loved one is facing breast cancer, the American Cancer Society is in your corner to help guide you through every step of the cancer experience, so you can focus on getting well. The Society offers access to free services to overcome daily challenges like transportation and lodging when treatment is far from home, and can provide one-on-one support from breast cancer survivors who have been there.

Find Cures: Breast cancer is one of the major research focus areas for the American Cancer Society. In fact, the Society spends more on breast cancer research than on any other type of cancer, and has been a part of nearly every major breast cancer research breakthrough in recent history.

Fight Back: It’s easy to fight back against breast cancer. Consider participating in one of the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer® events nationwide, speaking out to increase funding for programs that allow all women to have access to mammograms and treatment, or simply reminding the women in your life to get regular mammograms.

October is a month to celebrate the strides we’ve made in the fight against breast cancer and to continue to work toward a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. Countless Americans who have never had breast cancer and more than 2 million who are surviving the disease will celebrate a birthday this year, thanks to the American Cancer Society and its many supporters.

You can help create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. For more information, call your American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit You can also join your local Relay For Life at .

Source: American Cancer Society 1-800-227-2345