Raising Awareness about Childhood Cancer

Childhood cancer is highly prevalent today. Among all age groups, the most common childhood cancers are leukemialymphoma, and brain cancer (Kid's Health, n.d)
Whilst we do not fully understand the causes of childhood cancers, they are believed in most cases to be caused by non-inherited changes (mutations) to cells (Kid's Health, n.d). Because these occur randomly and unpredictably, there is no effective prevention. Certain genetic predispositions also exist. For example, Downs syndrome has been associated with leukaemia (Cancer Council SA, n.d).

Over 600 children aged 0-14 each year in Australia are diagnosed with cancer (Children's Cancer Institute Australia, n.d). On average, three Australian children die from cancer every week, cancer being the largest killer of children from disease and childhood cancer having the second highest death incidence, after breast cancer (Children's Cancer Institute Australia, n.d).

There are many initiatives to support childhood cancer victims. One such initiative is the creation of bald barbies, as I blogged about here. These dolls highlight that bald is beautiful and make children feel better about being bald or having bald relatives.

For more information about childhood cancer, check out these websites:

It is vital that awareness be raised about childhood cancer so that the high death incidence can be reduced.

Will you help spread the word about childhood cancer?

Take care,
Madeleine Moore

P.S. Have you check out Determined to Cure on Facebook? And have you seen Determined to Cure on Instagram?

Ignorance is NOT Bliss when it come to Cancer

There is a popular saying that 'ignorance is bliss.' Whilst this is true for a select few things, ignorance is certainly NOT bliss when it comes to cancer. As Horace Mann said, "There is nothing so costly as ignorance." As harsh as it is, with cancer, ignorance can sometimes mean death.
Being ignorant about cancer can mean that you don't know the various symptoms of different cancers, don't know how to prevent cancer and don't know what the risk factors for cancers are. Being unaware of these things means that you will be unlikely to recognise cancer symptoms before the disease has spread (become metastatic). You will be likely to do things that may increase your chance of developing cancer (or do nothing to decrease it). Also, if you have any risk factors for cancer, you will be unlikely to take measures to reduce their impact.

According to a National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre survey, one in five Australian women can't name one symptom of ovarian cancer (Cancer Australia, n.d).  The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance conducted a survey in which 89% of women were unaware of ovarian cancer symptoms before being diagnosed. However, 81% of the respondents realize in hindsight that symptoms existed before diagnosis (Ribbons to Remember, n.d).


It is vital to be aware of cancer and its symptoms, risk factors and prevention methods. Make sure you have some understanding cancers (particularly the most common ones, such as breast, skin and lung cancers). If you think something may be disrupting your health, get in checked and don't play the ignorance card.

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to cancer.

For some information about cancers, check out some of my other blog posts. Also, check out these websites:

Take care,
Madeleine Moore

P.S. Have you check out Determined to Cure on Facebook?

Skin Cancer

Today, melanoma, a type of skin cancer, is the most common cancer diagnosed in men and women aged between 15 and 44 (Cancer Council Australia, 2012). ›Skin Cancer is a type of carcinoma, cancers that begin in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.

Skin cancer has a huge impact on men and women; currently, one person dies of melanoma every hour (The Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d). Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds and the like is the primary cause of skin cancer, causing skin to change colour, burn or blister (Cancer Council SA, n.d). This can lead to skin cancer in the future. Check out this video to see the effects of tanning.

Because ›of the current social pressure to have a tan  from the media, many people spend too much time in the sun, especially without adequate protection from the suns rays. Also, many people use tanning beds to gain a tan.

The best way to ›prevent skin cancer is to remember to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SLAP, SEEK, SLIDE! You need to:
  • SLIP on some sun-protective clothingthat covers as much skin as possible;
  • SLOP on some water resistant SPF30+ sunscreen (at least a teaspoon for each limb and half a teaspoon for the face, neck and ears), 20 minutes before you go outdoors;
  • SLAP on a hat to protect your face, head, neck and ears;
  • SEEK shade, so that you are shielded from some of the sun’s harmful rays; and
  • SLIDE on some sunglasses. 

Some more ways to protect yourself from the risk of skin cancer are:
  • Planning activities outside the times of 10am and 3pm, when the suns rays are most harsh; 
  • Re-applying sunscreen at least every two hours; and
  • Wearing loose clothing when in the sun. 

Be sure to check for skin every three months. To do this, you can use the ABCDE test: 
  • Asymmetry
  • Border
  • Colour
  • Diameter
  • Evolution or Elevation

Statistics on Skin Cancer:

  • Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined (The Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d).
  • One in 58 Caucasian women and on in 39 Caucasian men will develop melanoma in their lifetimes (The Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d).
  • Until age 39, women are almost twice as likely to develop melanoma as men (The Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d)
  • The number of women under age 40 diagnosed with basal cell carcinoman (a type of skin cancer) has more than doubled in the last 30 years (The Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d).

›Always remember to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SLAP, SEEK, SLIDE, to prevent skin cancer!

Take care,

Bald Barbies Helping to Raise Awareness about Cancer

It is so good to see that Mattel, the maker of the Barbie franchise, is helping to raise awareness about Cancer. They have announced that they will release a bald Barbie doll next year (2013) in support of children who have lost their hair due to cancer, alopecia or trichotillomania.

Mattel decided to produce the doll after a Facebook appeal drew over 157,000 supporters. The dolls will come with an assortment of wigs, hats, scarves and head coverings.

The Facebook group responsible for the appeal, Beautiful and Bald Barbie,  has said that "[The doll is] also for young girls who are having trouble coping with their mother's hair loss from chemo. Many children have some difficulty accepting their mother, sister, aunt, grandparent or friend going from long-haired to bald."
The campaigns was supported with images of bald Disney Princesses.
The decision was applauded by doctors. "A hairless doll could really present a great opportunity for families and medical providers to talk about illness and hair loss with kids facing those issues,"  pediatric psychologist  Cori Liptak stated.
The Vatican newspaper also appealed to Mattel to produce the bald barbie.
It is certainly a victory for all that Mattel has come through with the Barbie doll. I grew up with Barbies, so I am personally thrilled and cannot wait to see it available in stores.
The doll will highlight that bald is beautiful and make children feel better about being bald or having bald relatives.
Take care,

Foods that Prevent Cancer

Eating a healthy diet is one way of preventing cancer. Certain types of foods and foods themselves have anti-cancer properties that can keep cancer at bay. So, here are some tips for eating a cancer-preventing diet:

1.  Plant-based diets (or diets high in plant-based foods) are effective at preventing cancer. Eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and beans will help prevent cancer. Avoiding processed foods is also helpful, as these have been stripped of their nutrients. (Paul and Smith, 2012).

2.  A diet high in fibre also helps prevent cancer, helping keep your digestive system clean and healthy. Fibre is found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, another reason diets high in plant-based foods are good. (Paul and Smith, 2012).

3.  Eating more soy products can prevent cancer. Phytonutrients (for example, isoflavones) that are found in soy products inhibit the growth of new blood vessels necessary for tumor survival. (Ask Dr Sears, n.d).

4.  Colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in phytochemicals, disease-fighting and immune-boosting nutrients. These help prevent cancer. (Paul and Smith, 2012).

5.  Drinking less alcohol can prevent cancer. It is thought that beer contains nitrosamines, a carcinogen or pre-carcinogen. Tannins, another carcinogenic compound, is found in red wine and some coffee and tea. Though it is often said that red wine has health-promoting properties because of the natural phytonutrients found in the grape skin, it would be better to simply eat grapes. 
(Ask Dr Sears, n.d).

6.  Drinking more water stimulates the immune system, removes waste and toxins, and transports nutrients to all of your organs. 
(Paul and Smith, 2012).

7.  Boosting antioxidant intake also prevents cancer. Antioxidants are powerful vitamins, protecting against cancer and optimising body function. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium. Dark chocolate also has antioxidants. (Paul and Smith, 2012).


8.  Certain spices are also said to prevent cancer:

The following foods are also thought to prevent cancer:

1.  Bok Choy, a type of Chinese cabbage, contains brassinin. This is a powerful cancer-fighter, and is also found in broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Dr Oz advised that Bok Choy be eaten 3 times a week, in 1/2 cup servings, to obtain its full benefits. (Dr Oz, 2012).

Anti-Cancer, Anti-cancer Food, Cancer, Cancer Awareness, Cancer Education, Cancer Prevention, Determined to Cure, Dr Oz, Food, Bok Choy

2.  An apple a day may keep the oncologist away. Pectin, the fiber in apple skin, can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and nourish cells of the intestinal lining. (Ask Dr Sears, n.d).

3.  Cooked tomatoes have more cancer-fighting properties than raw tomatoes, heating tomatoes changing the structure of the lycopene found in these fruits to make its benefits more readily available. Lycopene is a powerful cancer-preventer. (Dr Oz, 2012).

4.  Green tea has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, possibly because of a phytochemical it contains called 'catechins.' (Ask Dr Sears, n.d).

Anti-Cancer, Anti-cancer Food, Cancer, Cancer Awareness, Cancer Education, Cancer Prevention, Determined to Cure, Dr Oz, Food,

5.  Flounder is a fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury. Three 6-ounce servings a week is ideal to prevent cancer. (Dr Oz, 2012).

6.  Garlic is thought to have some anticancer benefits. (Ask Dr Sears, n.d).

7.  The antioxidants in strawberries help prevent cancers. (Dr Oz, 2012).

8.  Artichokes contain 3 different cancer-fighting molecules. (Dr Oz, 2012).

Below are some anti-cancer fruits:

Be sure to try to make some of the suggested dietary changes, and add some of the suggested foods to your diet. This will help prevent cancer.

Try experimenting with some fun and tasty meals that include as many cancer-preventing foods as possible. What cancer-preventing meals will you create?

Take care,

Pink Accessories Day for Breast Cancer Awareness

In August, I blogged about how, at my school's recent Health Expo, I created a ‘proposal’ for the school to hold a ‘Pink Accessories Day’. It was proposed that, for a gold coin donation, students could wear pink accessories to raise money for breast cancer research.

Well, the proposal was accepted. Subsequently, my school recently hosted the ‘Pink Accessories Day’. It was a fantastic day and nearly all students and staff participated. It was very rewarding to see my school flowing with pink accessories, after all the hard work that went into the day. In all, just over $200 was raised, which is a significant effort for the small size of my school.

Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cancer Awareness, Cancer Research, Cure Cancer, Determined to Cure, Health Expo, Raising Money, Madeleine Moore,

I hope that this can inspire everyone to believe and understand that they can make a difference, even by doing something little. Everyone can do something to support cancer research.

What will you do?

Take care,
Madeleine Moore

Preventing Ovarian Cancer

All women, simply because of their gender, are at risk for developing ovarian cancer.

Understanding the causes and risk factors of ovarian cancer is also key to survival. Whilst the exact causes of the disease are not known, many risk factors are known, including:
  • Being a white (Caucasian) woman from a westernised country, with a high living standard.
  • Having certain medical conditions, such as endometriosis.
  • Smoking cigarettes.
  • Being obese, having an increased Body Mass Index (BMI) and eating a high-fat diet. 
  • Having begun menstruation before age 12 or reached menopause after age 50.
  • Having had no or few children or their first child after the age of 30, or having never breastfed or used oral contraceptive pills.
  • Having a personal or family history of ovarian, breast or colorectal cancer.
  • Having mutations in the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 genes (this increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 16–44%) (Ovations for the Cure of Ovarian Cancer, n.d).

Such ways of protecting against and reducing the risk of ovarian cancer are called protective factors. These protective factors include:
  • Using oral contraception (birth control pills) for five or more consecutive years. This reduces the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 50%, and the risk continues to drop the longer the pills are used (Ovations for the Cure of Ovarian Cancer, n.d).
  • Having one or more children, particularly before age 30, and breast feeding decreases the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Exercise reduces the risk of ovarian cancer by 27%, according to studies in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Ribbons to Remember, n.d).

All women should take action to reduce their risk of ovarian cancer and therefore understand the risk factors and enact these protective factors.

Take care,
Madeleine Moore

Being Aware of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is the ninth most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women and the seventh most common cause of cancer death in Australian women (Cancer Australia, n.d). Ovarian cancer is a concern for women, as it can affect the quality and even length of life for women. This disease is common and can easily spread to other organs in the pelvis and in the body and thus become more difficult to treat. 

It is vital the women know the symptoms of ovarian cancer, so they can be mindful of this silent killer. However, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance reported that 89% of women were unaware of ovarian cancer symptoms before being diagnosed (Ribbons to Remember, n.d).This is a major barrier to good health behaviours regarding ovarian cancer, thus people must be educated about this disease. 

The four most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
  • Sudden increase in abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating;
  • Loss of appetite, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly;
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain, pressure or discomfort; and
  • Persistent urinary urgency and/or unexplained changes in bowel habits (such as diarrhoea, constipation or flatulence).
Approximately 90% of women with ovarian cancer reported having these symptoms (Ribbons to Remember, n.d).

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are generally subtle and associated with non-cancerous (benign) conditions. Symptoms vary depending on the stage of the cancer, being more severe as the disease progresses. This is why ovarian cancer is often called a silent killer; it is very difficult to detect in its early stages. In fact, only 19% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed when most responsive to treatment – before they have spread to other organs (become metastatic) (Ovarian Cancer Australia, 2010). 

Be sure to remember these symptoms and, if you notice them, consult with your doctor if they persist for two weeks.

Interesting facts and stats about ovarian cancer:
  • Women are usually diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. However, when ovarian cancer is detected and treated early on, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92%. (Ribbons to Remember, n.d).
  • One in 79 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer before 85 (Cancer Australia, n.d).
  • 1300 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year (Cancer Australia, n.d).
  • One in five women can't name one symptom of ovarian cancer (Cancer Australia, n.d).
  • Only 59% of women are correctly diagnosed with ovarian cancer (Ribbons to Remember, n.d).

Take care,

Determined to Cure: Ovarian Cancer

September is 'Ovarian Cancer Month'. What will you do to show your support?

Ovarian cancer is often regarded as a silent killer. Each year in Australia alone, almost 1300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, more than two-thirds of whom are diagnosed at an advanced stage, where the cancer has spread and is difficult to treat successfully (Cancer Australia, n.d). This is because ovarian cancer is hard to detect in its early stages and frequently does not result in symptoms until the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries. 

It is vital that women are aware of the symptoms of this deadly disease, so they can detect the cancer early. The four most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain, pressure or discomfort (sometimes caused by a build-up of fluid in the abdominal cavity;
  • Sudden increase in abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating;
  • Persistent urinary urgency or frequency; and
  • Loss of appetite, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.

(Ovations for the Cure of Ovarian Cancer, n.d).

The symptoms of ovarian cancer will vary depending on the stage of the cancer, being more pronounced as the disease progresses. They are generally subtle and vague and associated with less serious, benign (non-cancerous) conditions, and many women with early stage ovarian cancer experience no symptoms (Better Health Channel, 2012). Most ovarian cancer tumours are present for some time before they are diagnosed. Only 19% of ovarian cancers diagnosed when the disease is most responsive to treatment – before it has become metastatic (Ovarian Cancer Australia, 2010). 

If you inexplicably and persistently experience any of the above symptoms almost daily for two or more weeks, you should contact a gynaecologist. Whilst the majority of women who experience these early symptoms do not have cancer, it is important that women seek medical advice if the symptoms persist as only a doctor can tell for sure. It is vital the women know the symptoms of ovarian cancer; it may be a quiet disease, but it is not silent.

Take care,

Breast Cancer Health Expo

Recently, my school conducted a health expo focusing on health promotion and addressing multiple health topics relevant to adolescents. One such topic was breast cancer, and my friends and I were responsible for this stall. We thought it effectively raised awareness about cancer by educating visitors on the risk-factors of breast cancer and its impact on health, including its affect on physical health by causing fatigue, nausea and breast swelling and also emotional health, sometimes causing depression and anxiety. We also addressed how to prevent breast cancer, which allowed visitors to begin preventing being diagnosed with the disease and develop positive habits.

For the duration of the expo, a PowerPoint presentation played that contained information about the signs of breast cancer and how people can support breast cancer research. Additionally, a brochure was distributed that highlighted the risk factors of the disease. Providing this information informed people how they can improve their health regarding breast cancer and help support the search for a cure, and visitors to our stall told us how they were going to enact the information we had provided. 

The PowerPoint also contained information about mammograms and early detection of breast cancer. On the day, numerous students told us they would speak to their female relatives about mammograms and teachers told us they would consult with their doctors. We were so happy that we were able to raise awareness about early detection of breast cancer, as this is such a vital way of ensuring treatments are successful.

Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cancer Awareness, Cancer Education, Cancer Research, Cure Cancer, Determined to Cure, Health Expo, Madeleine Moore, Raising Money, Wesley Research Institute

Among other things at the expo, I was responsible for creating a ‘proposal’ for my school to hold a ‘Pink Accessories Day’ that visitors to our stall were asked to sign. We proposed that, for a gold coin donation, students could wear pink accessories for one day to raise money for breast cancer research. We were glad that we were able to encourage people to work together to support breast cancer research by signing the proposal. On the day, nearly 300 people signed, which was a fantastic result. We look forward to the 'Pink Accessories Day' and being able to raise money for breast cancer research.

Our breast cancer stall was very popular and successful on the day of the health expo, being a fun, educational and appealing. We had hundreds of visitors, who all enjoyed themselves, asking questions about breast cancer and responding enthusiastically to the information presented to them. As breast cancer greatly affects society,  it was wonderful that we were able to raise awareness about breast cancer and propose action to raise money for breast cancer research. I was especially glad to be able to raise awareness about the deadly disease that took the lives of some close family friends.

Early Detection is Key Breast Cancer Awareness

Overall, the health expo was a great experience and my breast cancer stall was successful.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider recommending and sharing it on Google+, Twitter or Facebook, to help spread the word about cancer. Thank you for your support!

Take care,

Education and awareness: the best ways to prevent breast cancer.

Education and raising awareness is one of the best ways of preventing cancer. Through education and awareness, people can learn how to prevent cancer and minimise the risk-factors of cancer. So today, I thought I would share some information about breast cancer.
Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cancer Awareness, Cancer Education, Cancer Prevention, Cure Cancer, Determined to Cure,
Breast cancer is a major risk to the community, being “the most common invasive cancer diagnosed in females in Australia,” (BreastCancer Care WA2010). “Currently, one in nine women and will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85,” (Cancer Australia, 2011) and “breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer related death in females,” (BreastCancer Care WA2010). It has a devastating impact on health, affecting physical health by causing fatigue, nausea and breast swelling and also emotional health, sometimes causing depression and anxiety.
Two of the major risks-factors of breast cancer are having a poor diet and drinking alcohol. Preventing being diagnosed with the disease by reducing the presence of these risk factors is vital. People should try to eat a healthy and balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables. They should also refrain from drinking alcohol to excess. In fact, scientists say that just one small glass one wine a day substantially increases your risk of breast cancer, so alcohol consumption should be as minimal as possible. Also, breast cancer can be prevented by exercising regularly and simply maintaining a positive outlook (Kulze, 2009). Simple things like these can make a huge difference in your chance of developing breast cancer.

Hopefully, you will be able to take some of this information on board and use it to minimise your risk of breast cancer.

Take care,
Madeleine Moore