In Honor of Our Heroes

This site was created in honor of my mom who lost the fight with breast cancer in December of 2007. The Pink Ribbon Crusade is dedicated to spreading awareness, supporting research, and connecting those currently battling breast cancer with the resources they need, in the hope that one day, breast cancer will be fully eradicated.Photobucket Photobucket
Patricia Thirion (2007)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Be Sure, Make a Plan

What's the best way to make sure you're doing everything you can to protect yourself? Make a plan and follow it. A pink plan that is.

Check out MyPinkPlan for tools to set up your very own plan for protection.

Friday, October 2, 2009

There Won't Always Be a Lump

Have you heard about a rare form of breast cancer that goes undetected by breast exams and even mammograms? Did you know that this cancer accounts for 2%-5% of all cases of diagnosed breast cancer but that it accounts for 25% of breast cancer related deaths because the diagnosis came too late?

Dear readers, the cancer I'm referring to is called Inflammatory Breast Cancer or IBC. It is the fastest growing breast cancer and it claims so many lives each year. The worst part is that nothing that you know about breast cancer prepares you for IBC; You're not going to find a lump.

The general rule of thumb for breast cancer survivability is early detection, ideally before any symptoms are noticed. Sadly, this isn't the case for IBC, because most of the time, symptoms are what leads to it's diagnosis.
The problem with IBC is that it's symptoms mimic and are often confused with much more commom ailments such as mastitis or infection. And while your doctors attempt to treat these other problems, critical time is lost and the real treatment is delayed.

Here's the lowdown on IBC:

  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Itching and unusual warmth
  • Inverted nipple
  • Crusted or dimpled skin on the breast or nipple
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Discoloration
  • The first line of defense against IBC is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is done to limit the growth of this fast growing cancer and hopefully kill it. Once chemotherapy is complete, "a mastectomy with lymph node removal is the preferred surgery. Unfortunately, since there isn’t usually a lump and since the cancer is in the skin, a lumpectomy is not possible." (

  • With treatment, the five-year survival rate of IBC is roughly 50% while the ten-year survival rate is only about 30%.
What disturbs me the most is the lack of information available on this deadly disease. It took a lot of searching to turn up even the most basic of statistics, most of which are outdated. Right now, the most important thing is to get awareness out there. If you suspect that anything is wrong with your breasts, toss out the possibility of breast cancer to your doctor. It may not be breast cancer, but at least you will know for sure.

Here is an amazing video about IBC

Note: The table image and the quote are both from the book Inflammatory Breast Cancer: A Breast Disease Book by G. Owen Johnson.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kick off October, Pink Style

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has come around again. We at Pink Ribbon Crusade, urge you to make this month count!

So to kick off this month, pink style, I've rounded up several ways that you can help in the fight against breast cancer. The best part, each one of these are free!

  • Stop by The Breast Cancer Site once a day to click the pink button. There is also a quick and painless feature that you sign up for allowing The Breast Cancer Site to email you daily reminders to stop by and click the button. 100% of the donations come from site sponsors and go toward free mammograms to those in need. Since 2000, they have "funded free mammograms for more than 11,000 women in need."
  • Sign up for Army of Women. There are many studies that you can participate in to further breast cancer research. And you don't have to have breast cancer to participate. Just click on the "current projects" link and browse around. You're sure to find one that you can participate in.
  • Wear pink. And tell people why you choose to wear it.
  • Link to resources. This is great way to get word around. If you find a site that you want to tell people about, go ahead and tell people. You can:link to them on your blog or website, even your myspace and facebook pages, you can twitter about them. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you are getting the message out there.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Make Strides Against Breast Cancer

Yep, it's almost October, which means it's almost Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This means it's time to decide what you're going to do this month for breast cancer awareness.

You can start by visiting the American Cancer Society and check out Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, the ACS walk. You can click on your state to view scheduled walks in your neighborhood.

Sign up for a walk and every step you take will help increase breast cancer awareness.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Video on Risk Factors

Check out this great interactive video/slide show on the statistics and risk factors of breast cancer.

Click here for the video

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Staging Breast Cancer

For those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, staging of the cancer is quite important. Staging provides a way to track where the cancer is and how fast it's growing. This in turn affects both treatment options and survival rates.

See below for a wonderful video from CancerQuest with a description on staging and diagnosing breast cancer.

Watch Breast Cancer Pathology in Educational | View More Free Videos Online at

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's Time To Vote

That's right readers, it's Friday, which means it's time to cast your vote on the Love/Avon Army of Women PSA video contest. Follow the link and you can view all four videos of the week, if you haven't already, and then you can vote on which you think is the best.


Have you ever wondered how chemotherapy works to get rid of cancer? I mean, how does a poison heal someone?

Check out for the answer. It literally breaks down all aspects of this rather effective treatment for cancer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday's Video

Readers, here is Wednesday's video for the Love/Avon Army of Women PSA contest

Today's Video - Million in the Mirror, Marc Parees and Ryan Silbert, of New York University's Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television.

Tomorrow is the last video and the vote is on Friday!

A Bit Discouraged

My pet project this week has been a quite informative article on Inflammatory Breast Cancer. This quest has been a very enlightening one. Yes, I know that Inflammatory Breast Cancer, or IBC, is a quite rare type of cancer, however, I am shocked and discouraged at the absolute lack research that has been done on it.

But I'm not a quitter and I won't disappoint. I will find the information.

Readers, if you know of any resources that go into further detail of IBC than what is it, please let me know. Just put down there in the comment field. Thanks!

In the meantime, here is a link to a cancer message board that might be helpful to you. Check it out. Cancercompass

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Love/Avon Contest - Your Vote Counts

Love/Avon Army of Women embarked on a journey earlier this year searching for the perfect Public Service Announcement. They gave students at USC and NYU the opportunity to toss out ideas for the PSA and the four finalists have been picked. So what should you do? You need to vote on the best! All week will be airing the videos and the vote will be held on Friday, September 25th. Each day one video is shown. So check em out, and vote!

Today's Video - Walk in the Park, Courtney Thomas, of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.

Yesterday's Video- One Million Strong, Brent McHenry and Nick Wenger, of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Staying Postive After Your Diagnosis

Breast cancer changes you. There is no getting around that fact. It changes you physically and emotionally. But there are ways to keep your life from revolving strictly around cancer.

What Can I Do?

Stay positive. Studies have shown that those who look to the brighter side of things tend to live healthier and recover faster from illness. While your cancer isn't going to disappear overnight, staying positive can make each day brighter. This also means you need to surround yourself with positive people. You definitely don't want "downers" around you at this point in your life.

Meditate. Meditation has long been praised for its emotional healing capabilities. Not only does it lower your stress levels, it also makes you set aside time each day to tell yourself how strong you are and that you can overcome whatever you set your mind to. If you would like a crash course in meditation, has a wonderful article that might help you out.

Talk about it. I know that after being diagnosed, the last thing that you want to talk about is breast cancer. The trick is finding the right person to talk to. Find a support group and talk to people who know what you're going through. Your spouse, your parents, your children etc... of course they love you and they want to help. But knowing that they are hurting for you and are probably just as scared as you are, isn't going to make for productive chat. Find someone who has cancer or who has survived cancer to talk to. They can help you in ways that no one else can. They understand. The internet is crawling with support groups and forums, use them. A quick google search turns up many viable possibilities. All you have to do is decide if you want a local group where you can meet members face to face, or if you'd prefer to keep it all online. The choice is yours.

No matter what you do, just remember that staying positive is key to enjoying life, with or without cancer. We might not be able to get yesterday back, but we can make it a yesterday to remember.

Breast Cancer Merchandise

original image can be found here.

Did you know that there are almost endless possibilities when it comes to breast cancer merchandise? You just have to pick your purpose and go from there.

I have breast cancer and I need clothes and accessories that work for me

There are many places that you can find quality clothes for your changing body. Whether you've had a mastectomy or not, you're body is likely to change. You may lose your hair. You might have a port or a picc line that your current clothes just don't accommodate. Confident Clothing Company has a shirt that has removable pockets inside made for the tubes and lines that you will have post-mastectomy. The Women's Personal Health Resource has many products for those with cancer, from mastectomy bras to headwear. Moonlight Pillows has a unique moon-shaped pillow that provides comfort in a variety of uses.

I want to support cancer research

There are literally thousands of items out there pasted with a pink ribbon just waiting to be bought. Typically, a portion of the proceeds from the purchase of these items is donated toward breast cancer research or toward services for people who can not afford certain things like mammograms, wigs, or even medicine. But before you dish out your hard earned cash, check out Think Before You Pink. They have some really great advice to make sure that your money really is going where it's supposed to be.

Here are some places where the money spent on your purchase actually goes toward good:
Shopping for breast cancer merchandise can be overwhelming, especially when you really want your contribution to get into the right hands, but with just a little bit of browsing (and asking the right questions) it can actually be pretty easy. And if you are the one who has been diagnosed with cancer, you definitely don't need anything else making your life more difficult.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Are You at Risk?

While doing your yearly mammograms and monthly self-exams is a great start, there is still much more that you can do to protect yourself. Knowing your risk factors, and what you can do about them, will give you even more of an edge against breast cancer. Of course, nothing has been discovered yet to prevent breast cancer, but there are several things you can do to lower your risk.

Risks That You Can Control

  • Use of Certain Drugs or Medications: Birth control pills, Hormone Replacement Therapy, and alcohol all increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding has shown to lower your risk of breast cancer.
  • Being Overweight and Physical Inactivity: Both have shown an increased risk. Not only does maintaining a healthy weight and activity level lower your risk of cancer, they also lower your risk of developing a host of other diseases such as: High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, and Heart Disease. You can find a wonderful site here detailing exactly why this affects your risk of breast cancer, and how you can lower your risk.

Risks That You Can't Control
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Family History
  • Race
Yes, there are many factors that you can't control, but there are also many that you can. Check out this link for the American Cancer Society for the complete list of risk factors, including what you can do to lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Prevention

While there is no absolute way of preventing it, early detection is the key goal to surviving breast cancer. By detecting breast cancer early on, you have many more treatment options, and a greater prognosis, than someone who discovers it later on.

So, how do I detect breast cancer early?

Mammograms and Breast Self-Exams are the primary means of detecting breast cancer and other non-cancerous tumors.

Mammograms are a type of x-ray, in which images are taken of the breast to determine if any abnormalities exist inside the tissue of the breast. They are not 100% reliable and so, it is best to use a combination of yearly mammograms, clinical breast exams, and breast self-exams. Check out Radiologyinfo for more specifics on mammograms.

Clinical breast exams and breast self-exams are very similar, except that the former is done by your doctor, and the latter is done by you. These exams are used to detect lumps or other abnormalities that might be present in the breast. Check out the following links for useful information on both self and clinical breast exams.

How to Do a Breast Self-Exam - a thorough walk-through of a self-exam.
What's a Clinical Breast Exam? - a description of what you might experience at your doctor's office.
How to prepare for Your Mammogram - things you should do the day of your mammogram.

Why is Early Detection So Important?

Early detection is vitally important for one main reason: early detection means early treatment. This means that the sooner you are able to receive treatment for your breast cancer, the less likely it will have a chance to spread to other areas of your body, such as the lymph nodes. If cancer can be detected before it has a chance to spread, not only will treatment be simpler, your likelihood of survival is dramatically increased.

So, check out those links above and if you haven't, go ahead and do your monthly self-exam today. There is no time like the present.