Archive for July, 2010


You’re lacking in Vitamin D, and it’s possibly going to kill you

On Monday, the New York Times published a story, “What Do You Lack? Probably Vitamin D“, stating that “a huge part of the population…[is] deficient in this essential nutrient”, which “promises to be the most talked-about and written-about supplement of the decade.” While there’s truth in the title, it itself is deficient. Mine is a stretch, but it got your attention, and the potential consequences of not getting enough Vitamin D are truly dire. The good news is that reducing your risk of diseases related to Vitamin D-deficiency requires only the tiniest–but consistent–bit of effort.


How to beat cancer: prevention and early detection

One of the first things people want to know when they learn I had cancer is how it was discovered. There’s an element of personal concern in this question that’s perfectly natural—if I get cancer, will I know right away?—and I think what folks are hoping to hear is that all cancers in their earliest stages present clear, distinguishable symptoms that will prompt them to follow up with a medical professional. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many cancers, and all people, especially those at higher risk due to things like long-term exposure to carcinogens (tobacco, for example), a family history of cancer, or age (cancer risk naturally increases as we get older), should take a proactive approach to cancer detection and prevention.


Key resources for cancer patients and caregivers: the National Cancer Institute

Image on Ciao, Cancer! of the National Cancer Institute Most of the folks who visit Ciao, Cancer! have either had cancer, are currently in treatment, or have friends or loved ones battling the disease. Given the number of people newly diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States, this is probably true of most Americans–and most likely applies globally as well. When we’re confronted with the disease, we need one thing more than any other, and that’s quality information. The website of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is one place you’ll find it.


It aint broke, but definitely fix it

Photo of Dr. John G. KennedyIf you’ve been following Ciao, Cancer! over the last few days, you know that 1) I spent some time kayaking and hanging out with my family last week on Orcas Island; 2) while I was there, broke my foot; 3) asked people for help (which I don’t normally do); and 4) got some exercise ideas from Captain Quinn to discuss in my then-forthcoming appointment with my orthopedist. I saw Dr. John Kennedy at the Hospital for Special Surgery yesterday afternoon, learned that I’d previously been misdiagnosed (with potentially significant consequences), and went home in an aircast.


Captain Quinn to the rescue

In yesterday’s post, “Ask and ye shall receive. Really.“, I talked about the importance of reaching out for help, particularly in the health arena. I injured my foot a few months ago and found out last week that I’d actually managed to break it. I wanted to know whom to see–a top-notch orthopedist as old breaks can be problematic–and how to stay in shape if I were to have to withdraw from my fitness class. My normal approach would be DIY: conducting online research to find the doctor and learn about my fitness options. But this time was different. I sent emails and called people who I thought might be able to help me. All responded, one of whom was Jon Quinn, the head of Captain Quinn’s Fitness Boot Camp.


Ask and ye shall receive. Really.

After learning a few days ago that I’d managed to break a bone in my right foot, I decided to do something that’s relatively new to me in regard to personal health. I asked for help.


Sunscreen follow-up: You say it’s the best, I say it’s the worst

Three weeks ago, after reading the Environmental Working Group’s 2010 Sunscreen Guide–the best information I’ve found to date on the sun-protection products offered to us by the largely unregulated sunscreen industry–I wrote a post titled “What’s wrong with the sunscreen business?“. In my inbox this morning I found a newsletter from LIVESTRONG with the subject “The Best Sunscreens”. I wanted to see how their recommendations matched up against EWG’s, and so I clicked on the link to check out the full article.



The morning kayaking adventure around Orcas Island that I wrote about a few days ago ended as they always do there—hauling the kayak out of the water, across a rocky beach, and up a set of stairs to the lawn in front of my parents’ house. My right foot was sore when I reached the shore—the base of my big toe has been bothering me on and off ever since I started boot camp a month ago—but by the time I got the boat up to the house, the pain was so intense that I found it difficult to walk.


Morning edition

I woke up at seven this morning and had a small breakfast of cottage cheese and marmalade, accompanied by two strong shots of espresso courtesy of my parents’ formidable coffee machine. I slathered sunscreen over my face and neck, donned a baseball cap and sunglasses, and walked out to the kayak that I’d laid out on the lawn the night before.


VIDEO: “The MD Anderson Cancer Center answers the question: What is Cancer?”

A helpful video from MD Anderson Cancer Center explaining cancer and its causes. If only they could have done it without the background music, which nearly killed me. 😉