Friday, June 27, 2014

Mattel to make chemotherapy Barbie dolls for patients

(CNN) - Special chemotherapy Barbie dolls are helping to give young cancer patients an emotional lift.
One girl in California loved hers so much, her mom started a campaign to put them in the hands of other girls with cancer.
It wasn't love at first sight for Grace Bumstead, 4, and Ella, a chemotherapy Barbie who's bald and wears wigs.
"When they first met, she's like, 'OK, I get what's going on.' But it gave us the chance to say, 'Here's a beautiful, smiling doll. It doesn't have hair,'" said Melissa Bumstead, Grace's mother.
Grace has a rare form of leukemia. The rate among children is roughly 1 in a million.
She will endure high doses of chemotherapy over the next year and a half.
"She's been amazingly brave. And we're very, very proud of her. It's not where we expected to be in life right now," Melissa Bumstead said.
And one of the hardest adjustments has been losing Grace's blonde curls, but that's where Ella came in.
"We bring her along everywhere to say, this is what's happening. This is what's happened to Ella. This is what's going to happen to you. It brought it to her level," Melissa Bumstead said.
Now Ella is part of what the family calls Grace's "inner circle of Barbies," alongside Ariel and Rapunzel.
But sadly not every cancer patient is able to adopt an Ella doll.
When Children's Hospital Los Angeles told Grace's mom they only had six dolls to hand out, she created a petition to ask Mattel to make more.
In just three months, that petition had more than 100,000 supporters.
"Every 10 minutes, we got 1,000 signatures," Melissa Bumstead said.
Mattel took notice, contacting Grace's mom and agreeing to make more Ella dolls and to distribute to Children's Hospitals throughout the country.
"If the pain that we're going through right now can help someone else, it makes it feel like it's worth it," Melissa Bumstead said.
Grace's oncologist said she has a 75 percent chance of being cured.
"But the big issue is psychosocial. How will she view herself? How will she view the world when she grows up? Will she be afraid of the whole world because she thinks that leukemia will come back at any minute and end her life?" Dr. Paul Gaynon said.
Grace's family believes Ella will help remind the young girl of the struggle she overcame and hopefully will never revisit.
"We really believe that God is going to use this to do good things in her life and to make her the kind of person that she's going to fight for good things all of her life," Melissa Bumstead said.
Mattel told the Bumstead family that they plan to distribute the Ella dolls in August.
Their goal is to make new ones every year., Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hodgkins Lymphoma and Hair Loss

Read a recent review on Yelp from one of our clients! Thank you for sharing your experience with us to the world Megan!

"If there were more than 5 stars available, I would use that to rate Ricky Knowles Hair & wellness. I was recently diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and undergoing chemotherapy treatment. As a 32 year old woman who is active and social, losing my hair has been one of the most dreaded parts of this whole experience for me.

That is...until I was directed to Ricky Knowles H&W by a friend and survivor who used their services for her treatment. Kristen and Ricky are of the utmost in professionalism, so incredibly knowledgeable about not only the hair loss portion of chemotherapy - but honestly knew so many tips and tricks to pass along about cancer in general. I left excited to have a wig, confident with how I would look, and with my friends who came with me jealous that they don't get to be fashioned a wig by these experts.

They truly transformed what I anticipated to be a horrifically negative and sad experience into what I call a 'pep rally for my cancer treatment.' So positive, so reassuring, unbelievable customer service, and demonstrated deep expertise on all things related to hair loss and the options available.

This place is a miracle and I'm so grateful to have found them just in time." - Megan R. (Austin, TX)

Friday, June 20, 2014

New breast cancer procedure helps prevent lymphedema

By Petrina J. Johnson

Axillary reverse mapping, a breast cancer procedure involving the removal of cancerous lymph nodes, is helping prevent lymphedema in patients.

Dr. Leonidas Miranda of North Houston Specialty Physicians, said the procedure is relatively new but very important. ARM was developed by Dr. V. Suzanne Klimberg, a breast surgeon. Miranda, a general surgeon, said he begin using the procedure about a year ago. Miranda said ARM is a major improvement because it decreased the risk of lymphedema down to 4 to 7 percent.

“In the old days we use to take the lymph nodes from the arms and breasts,” said Miranda. “This is why there was such a high rate of lymphedema, 20 to 25 percent.”

The previous procedure was a great experience but the high risk for patients developing lymphedema made it what Miranda described as a “sad situation.” It was something he said the patients should not have to endure.

“On top of the fact that they (the patients) had to go through all these treatments they had developed swollen of the arm,” said Miranda.

The new procedure, Miranda explained, helps to identify the lymph nodes coming from the arm. He said ARM involves injection of a special blue dye under the skin in the arm. The blue dye travels through the lymphatic (channels) in the arm. Miranda said the lymph nodes that are blue help the surgeons know which ones are coming from the arm.

“When you open the arm pit you see them (lymph nodes) and then you don’t take them, this is what axillary reverse mapping is,” said Miranda. “When you see those lymph nodes you only take the ones that are not blue.”

Miranda said because the surgeons do not have to remove the lymph nodes from the arm, it helps preserve the return circulation coming from the arm. This helps to prevent lymphedema.

“It does add a few more minutes to the procedure (the operating time) but it is well worth it,” said Miranda.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Samantha Harris Reveals Her Deepest Fears From Her Cancer Diagnosis

Former Dancing with the Stars host and Entertainment Tonight corespondent, Samantha Harris is chronicling her journey through breast cancer treatment by posting a video blog and doing in-depth interviews with Entertainment Tonight.  Last night they highlighted her mastectomy surgery and lymph node removal and spoke about lymphedema and how it is a condition that has no cure but that can be managed with compression garments and modifications to daily life.  We are really thrilled that not only breast cancer is getting a huge spotlight, but that Entertainment Tonight is calling attention to lymphedema awareness.

Watch the segment that aired yesterday here:

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Ultimate Customized Cancer Hair Loss Wig!

World renowned hair duplication specialist, Ricky Knowles, created a customized cancer hair loss solution for a client going through cancer treatment.  Faced with radiation treatment, our 24 year old client had never cut her hair and wanted a wig that would look just like her natural 36 inch long beautiful hair.

Knowing that the longest wigs available in the industry are around 24 inches in length, we came up with a solution.  Using her own hair, we cut her natural hair and weaved it into a similar style wig to give her a truly realistic hair duplication matching her natural 36 inches!

We have never seen this technique accomplished in the industry and are proud to be able to deliver our clients "out of the box" solutions to their hair duplication needs.

Watch him explain how he crafted the wig:

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sun Safety Tips for the Summer

1. Tips for finding a good sunscreen
Ingredients matter. Does your sunscreen leave you overexposed to damaging UVA rays? Does it break down in the sun? Does it contain compounds that may disrupt your hormones?

2. First things first
Check your skin regularly for new moles that are tender or growing. Ask your primary care doctor how often you should see a dermatologist.

The best defenses against getting too much harmful UV radiation are protective clothing, shade and timing. Our checklist:

  • – Don’t get burned. Red, sore, blistered or peeling skin means far too much sun – and raises your skin cancer risk.
  • Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants provide the best protection from UV rays – and they don’t coat your skin with goop.

Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack the tanning pigments known as melanin to protect their skin.

Plan around the sun. Go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower. UV radiation peaks at midday.

Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory. Good shades protect your eyes from UV radiation that causes cataracts.

3. Now put on sunscreen
Some sunscreens prevent sunburn but not other types of skin damage. Make sure yours offers broad spectrum protection.

Don’t fall for high SPF labels. Anything higher than SPF 50+ can tempt you to stay in the sun too long. Even if you don’t burn, your skin may be damaged. Stick to SPFs between 15 and 50+. Pick a product based on your own skin coloration, time outside, shade and cloud cover. Reapply often.

Avoid sunscreen with vitamin A. Eating vitamin A-laden vegetables is good for you, but spreading vitamin A on your skin may not be. Government data show that tumors and lesions develop sooner on skin coated with creams laced with vitamin A, also called retinyl palmitate or retinol. It’s in 20 percent of all sunscreens we reviewed in 2014. Avoid any skin or lip product whose label includes retinyl palmitate, retinol or vitamin A.

Avoidoxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and can disrupt the hormone system. Look for products with zinc oxide, 3% avobenzone or Mexoryl SX. They protect skin from harmful UVA radiation.

No insect repellent. If you need bug repellent, buy it separately and apply it first.

Pick a good sunscreen. EWG’s sunscreen database rates the safety and efficacy of about 700 SPF-rated products, including about 460 sunscreens for beach and sports use. We give high ratings to brands that provide broad spectrum, long-lasting protection with ingredients that pose fewer health concerns when absorbed by the body.

Don’t spray. Sprays cloud the air with tiny particles that may not be safe to breathe.

Reapply cream often. Sunscreen chemicals sometimes degrade in the sun, wash off or rub off on towels and clothing.

Men ignore sun safety at their peril. In 2009, nearly twice as many American men died from melanoma as women. Surveys show that 34 percent of men wear sunscreens, compared to 78 percent of women.

Got your vitamin D? Many people don’t get enough vitamin D, a hormone manufactured by the skin in the presence of sunlight. Your doctor can test your level and recommend supplements if you are low in this vital nutrient.

4. Sun safety tips for kids
A few blistering sunburns in childhood can double a person’s lifetime chances of developing serious forms of skin cancer. The best sunscreen is a hat and shirt. After that, protect kids with a sunscreen that’s effective and safe.

Take these special precautions with infants and children:


Infants under six months should be kept out of direct sun as much as possible. Their skin is not yet protected by melanin. When you take your baby outside:

  • Cover up – with protective clothing, tightly woven but loose-fitting, and a sun hat.
  • Make shade – Use the stroller’s canopy or hood. If you can’t sit in a shady spot, use an umbrella.
  • Avoid midday sun – Take walks in the early morning or late afternoon.
  • Follow product warnings for sunscreens on infants less than 6 months old. Most manufacturers advise against using sunscreens on infants or advise parents and caregivers to consult a doctor first. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that small amounts of sunscreen can be used on infants as a last resort when shade can’t be found.

Toddlers and children
Sunscreens are an essential part of a day in the sun. But young children’s skin is especially sensitive to chemical allergens – as well as the sun’s UV rays.

  • Test sunscreen by applying a small amount on the inside of your child’s wrist the day before you plan to use it. If an irritation or rash develops, try another product. Ask your child’s doctor to suggest a product less likely to irritate your child’s skin.
  • Slop on sunscreen and reapply it often, especially if your child is playing in the water or sweating a lot.

Sun safety at school
Send a sunscreen to daycare and school. Some childcare facilities provide sunscreen, but you can buy your own to make sure it’s safe and effective. Share EWG’s safe sunscreen tips and product suggestions with your child’s school and caregiver.

Sometimes school and daycare policies interfere with children’s sun safety. Many schools treat sunscreen as a medicine and require written permission to use it on a child. Some insist that the school nurse apply it. Some ban hats and sunglasses. Here are a few questions to ask your school:

  • What is the policy on sun safety?
  • Is there shade on the playground?
  • Are outdoor activities scheduled to avoid midday sun?

Teenagers coveting bronzed skin are likely to sunbathe, patronize tanning salons or buy self-tanning products – all bad ideas. Researchers believe that increasing UV exposure may have caused the marked increase in melanoma incidence noted among women born after 1965. Tanning parlors expose the skin to as much as 15 times more UV radiation than the sun and likely contribute to the melanoma increase.

To parents of teens: Be good role models – let your teen see that you protect yourself from the sun. Tan does not mean healthy.