Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Am Going Through Chemotherapy Treatment and My Eyebrows and Eyelashes are Falling Out. How Can You Help?

For many women, losing the hair on their heads is one of the most emotionally difficult parts of the cancer-treatment process. But thinning brows and eyelashes-even more than missing locks-can signal an illness to others, and their absence is a lot harder to disguise.

The good news is that women are less likely to lose lashes and brows than the hair on their heads because brows and lashes have different durations of hair growth cycles, which make them less susceptible to the effect of chemotherapy.

At Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness, we can help you experiment with false eyelashes, eyebrow stencils, and eyeliner.

Here are a few tips:

False lashes can be worn for special occasions. Try a hypoallergenic adhesive. Since they can often look too long, trim false lashes to about a third of an inch to mimic natural lashes. You can also line the outer rim of your upper and lower lids with waterproof eyeliner, then trace over it with matching powder to add texture. Never reuse the same lashes as the adhesive can build with bacteria.

Eyebrow stencils, which come in many shapes and sizes, can help you re-create a thicker brow line that looks very natural, as opposed to just using an eyebrow pencil that can look harsh and artificial. The Lizette Eyebrow Makeup Kit is a great kit for creating flawless eyebrows. It consists of water resistant pressed shadow, six different stencils and an applicator brush that comes in a beautiful black compact case with two sides to be opened, one for the powder and the other side for the brush and the mirror. Lizette Eyebrow Makeup comes in various shades to match your natural hair color.

If you suffer from thinning brows and eyelashes, call the Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness Team at 713-623-4247. Let us help you Look Better and Feel Better.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lymphedema Best Managed Through Exercise and Complete Decongestive Therapy

From Oncology Nurse Advisor

Self-care is an essential part of treating patients with lymphedema, with full-body exercise and complete decongestive therapy being the best ways to minimize symptoms and maintain quality of life.

Nearly 40% of breast cancer survivors suffer from lymphedema, which is a chronic condition that causes body limbs to swell from fluid buildup. It is a result of lymph node removal and radiation therapy. No cure exists, so patients with the condition must find ways to manage the symptoms throughout their lifetimes.

The research team reviewed published literature about lymphedema self-management to determine which practices were most effective in managing the condition. Full-body exercise, such as weight lifting and stretching, was found likely to be effective in minimizing lymphedema symptoms. Additionally, complete decongestive therapy, which is a comprehensive treatment that incorporates skin care, exercise, manual lymphatic drainage and bandaging of swollen limbs, also helps patients to effectively manage the condition.

“There's a sense of empowerment—of autonomy—that comes from meeting the challenge of living with lymphedema,” said Jane Armer, PhD, RN, RAAN, nursing professor at University of Missouri and an author of the studies. “Some breast cancer survivors say that they've become a new person after cancer because they met a challenge, and they like the stronger person they've become. The challenge of lymphedema is similar. It's something that is pervasive in every part of life. It takes problem solving and persistence to manage the condition without letting it interfere with their goals.”

Dr. Armer added, “Previous research suggests that, the earlier the interventions, the better the outcomes. If patients can learn how to successfully manage the condition early on, then they can continue those processes throughout their lives, and their outcomes will be better than those of [persons] who resist participating in self-care.”

Our team at Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness is ready to assist you in managing your lymphedema.  We have a certified compression garment fitter who will trouble shoot and create a custom tailored plan to best treat and manage your lymphedema.  We also have certified massage therapists and treatment specialists who can assist you with MLD and limb bandaging.  Call us today at 713-623-4247 and set up a free consultation!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Women with Breast Cancer Benefit from Personal Website Sharing

Developing and using a personal website to chronicle their experience and communicate with others improves psychological and cancer-specific adjustment in women being treated for breast cancer, according to research published online Aug. 12 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Annette L. Stanton, Ph.D., of the University of California at Los Angeles, and colleagues randomly assigned 88 women diagnosed with breast cancer to participation in Project Connect Online or a waiting-list control group. The intervention consisted of a three-hour workshop to create a personal website and a follow-up call to encourage its use.

The researchers found that, six months later, women in the intervention group showed significant benefit in depressive symptoms, positive mood, and life appreciation compared with women in the control group. No benefit was observed in negative mood, perceived strengthened relationships, or intrusive thoughts. Among women participating in the online intervention, those who were currently undergoing treatment for cancer showed significantly greater benefit in depressive symptoms and positive mood than those not receiving treatment.

"To our knowledge, ours is the first research to evaluate an intervention to teach patients with cancer personal website development," the authors write. "Findings suggest the promise of an intervention to facilitate the ability of women diagnosed with breast cancer to chronicle their experience and communicate with their social network via the Internet."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blood Test May Allow for Early Diagnosis of Lymphedema

From Oncology Nurse Advisor

Levels of a set of proteins circulating in the blood may accurately flag the presence of lymphedema, which currently is difficult to diagnose before the onset of physical symptoms.

At present, the only known way to diagnose lymphedema, an often painful inflammatory condition caused by radiation therapy for cancer, is by means of physical inspection. But by the time the main symptom of swelling of one or more limbs is detectable, the condition may be difficult or impossible to reverse with available treatment options, explained Stanley G. Rockson, MD, senior author of the study describing the new blood test, in a statement from Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, California. Rockson is a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Noting that the biological events underlying lymphedema may be present for 5 years or more before physical symptoms indicate the presence of the disease, Rockson's group studied skin-biopsy samples from 63 persons with lymphedema and 27 healthy subjects in an attempt to discover protein analytes that could distinguish diseased tissue from healthy tissue. The researchers focused on genes that were more actively engaged in the generation of their respective protein products in lymphedema vs healthy tissue, eventually narrowing the field to six overproduced proteins through statistical modeling.

Each of the six proteins is associated with at least one of the hallmark features of chronic lymphedema: accumulation of fibrous deposits, stimulation of fat-cell activity, inflammation, and lymphatic-vessel formation. Although none of the six proteins alone was predictive of lymphedema, in aggregate their presence at certain levels and in certain ratios appeared to serve as a biomarker for the condition.

Because levels of these proteins rise early in the course of lymphedema, the biomarker panel could lead to earlier identification of lymphedema risk or onset and earlier treatment that might ease the effects of the condition or even reverse its course.

When Rockson's team evaluated the validity of the biomarker panel using blood samples from an additional cohort of 36 adults with lymphedema and 15 healthy adults, the test was nearly 90% accurate in distinguishing persons with lymphedema from healthy subjects.

If you are a cancer survivor, or are currently undergoing cancer treatment and need help with lymphedema treatment, custom compression garments or lymphedema support groups, contact our team at Ricky Knowles Hair & Wellness at 713-623-4247 and schedule a free consultation.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tamoxifen Halves Breast Cancer Risk in High-Risk Women

Tamoxifen halves breast cancer risk in high-risk women A global study of women with inherited mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 found that tamoxifen could halve the risk for breast cancer in the contralateral (opposite-side) breast in these high-risk women.

Tamoxifen has been used for decades to treat breast cancer and has recently been shown to prevent breast cancers in many women. Until now, there has been limited information about whether it reduces breast cancer risk for women who are at the very highest level of risk with BRCA1 or BRCA2.

This study, led by the University of Melbourne and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia, involved about 2,500 women from Europe, North America, and Australia who have inherited mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 and who have been diagnosed with breast cancer since 1970. About one-third of these women were placed on tamoxifen.

Tamoxifen was taken by 24% of the 1,583 BRCA1 and by 52% of the BRCA2 mutation carriers after their first breast cancer diagnosis. Over 20,104 person-years of observation, 520 contralateral breast cancers occurred. The statistical analysis of 657 BRCA1 and 426 BRCA2 mutation carriers with 100 contralateral breast cancers found an adjusted hazard ratio estimate of 0.58 for BRCA1 carriers and 0.48 for BRCA2 carriers. This study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"In the past, the only way of reducing breast cancer risk for these high-risk women was to do invasive surgery to remove their breasts and/or ovaries. For women who choose not to undergo such surgery, or who would prefer to delay surgery until they are older, tamoxifen could now be a viable alternative," said the lead author, Kelly-Anne Phillips, MD, of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Her previous research had found that only one in five Australian women with a mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 chose to undergo bilateral mastectomy to prevent cancer.

Co-author John Hopper, PhD, of the University of Melbourne, said, "In light of our findings, it is clear that women who have a mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 should review their management plan with their specialist and re-discuss the options available to them to lower that risk."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Vibration Exercise Improves Your Lymphatic Health

With every beat of the heart, subtle vibrations are sent through the body, the movement stimulating a higher degree of circulation and a higher level of overall health. Because this movement is conducive to achieving a healthier circulatory system, among others, it has been recreated throughout the cultures and ages of history in an attempt to heal illnesses and improve the overall quality of life. A practice that has been utilized for thousands of years, vibration exercise is said to amplify the effects of the vibrations made each time the heart beats. These vibrations produce a level of blood flow that is uninterrupted, allowing oxygen and other important substances to circulate freely. By constantly pumping blood through the many systems of the body, the modern vibration exercise machine also promotes the drainage of the lymphatic system, which acts as a network of pipes that pushes toxins out of the body.

Moving the various fluids of the body requires power, which is only achieved through muscle contractions (such as the contraction of the heart when it pumps). The vibrations created by a vibration exercise machine create small muscular contractions. This forces the fluids through the body in a way that is efficient, constant, and gentle enough not to cause any harm while being forceful enough to discard toxins and other potentially dangerous buildup.

Individuals that cannot get rid of their toxins are more prone to illness and do not feel as healthy as those whose lymphatic systems are capable of draining regularly. Exercise is certainly one way to achieve a high level of lymphatic draining, but not everyone has the ability (either physically or practically) to indulge in a great deal of physical activity. For this reason, whole body vibration, facilitated by a machine, is able to help combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and rid the body of the toxins that it has stored. This being said, individuals that don't have time for extensive exercise can greatly benefit from whole body vibration.

In addition to acting as a catalyst for lymphatic drainage, a vibration exercise machine also sparks the activity of the lymph nodes, which are key components of the immune system. Therefore, the movement allows individuals to both rid their bodies of toxins that they already possess and prevent them from contracting illnesses from new ones.

Another benefit, which many individuals enjoy, is weight loss. Though the loss is not drastic, using a vibration exercise machine allows the lymphatic system to push stored fats out of the body, resulting in a healthier, leaner figure. This smaller figure can also be attributed to the decrease in cortisol, which is a known agent of belly fat, due to an increase in serotonin.

The benefits of vibration exercise, particularly to the lymphatic system, have been enjoyed by people from several cultures over thousands of years. Modern medicine will most likely continue to study this technique and analyze its many effects on the body, but as the research is conducted individuals will continue to utilize the therapy and take advantage of their healthier circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Have questions about Lymphedema or need to schedule a free consultation with our custom compression garment fitter?  Email Kristen at

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I have Alopecia and am constantly running from place to place with my busy schedule. Do you have an hair loss solution for me?

Alopecia Areata (AA) is a condition affecting humans, in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the body, usually from the scalp. Because it causes bald spots on the scalp, especially in the first stages, it is sometimes called "spot baldness." In 1%–5% of cases, the condition can spread to the entire scalp (Alopecia Totalis) or to the entire body (Alopecia Universalis). The different types of Alopecia do not discriminate and affect men, women, and children all over the world.

Unfortunately there is no cure for Alopecia but there are treatments that work on a temporary basis. The most popular treatment method requires painful injections into the bald areas. Although this may help the injected area, hair loss may occur in other untreated areas. For many suffering with Alopecia treatments like injections can become too painful and expensive to continue treatment.

Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness offers several cover up options including wigs, hair pieces and other products. There is no need to worry about damaging the hair or slowing the re-growth by using our products.

We use specially designed hair replacements proven to cover or camouflage the bald areas without causing excess damage or future problems for your scalp. Our staff has years of experience working with women, men, and children that have been diagnosed with Alopecia. We have taken that experience and combined it with the most advanced technology in hair replacement. This means we can offer the most comfortable and realistic hair loss solutions available.

Watch our client Judy talk about the hair loss solution that our RNHW team customized for her busy schedule.

Contact us at 713-623-4247 to see what our skilled and compassionate staff can do to help restore hair and your confidence.