The Ta Ta Dash

You may wonder what The Ta Ta Dash has to do with CBD topicals. There is a logical explanation and it is this: Karen Sheady founded Lost Remedy based on her Burn Formula, a CBD topical that helps avoid burning from radiation treatment. If you’ve read this blog before, you may recall that Sheady had breast cancer, and having developed CBD topicals for some time, she knew that if the burn from radiation got too serious, treatment had to stop and then start up again later. Sheady had seven weeks of daily radiation and only had mild pinkening because she used the Burn Formula after each treatment.

The Ta Ta Dash is a fun run for breast cancer prevention in Spokane, Washington, April 7, with the 

Toddler smilingchildren’s race starting at 8:45 a.m., the 10K at 9 a.m. and the 5K at 9:15 a.m.

But it’s not the race that is the big deal, although, this is Aaron. He’s 2 years old and plans to run the 1/3-mile children’s run for his grandma and all the women who have dealt with breast cancer. Click on the link above tosupport his dashing little legs.

The importance of The Ta Ta Dash is that it is a fundraiser for Beyond Pink, the only nonprofit globally that offers funding specifically for thermography, a way to detect high-risk for cancer early, possibly preventing it.

Finding breast cancer early

Each year over 252,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer; over 52,000 die from the disease. Most people are aware that mammograms aren’t recommended until between ages 40 and 50. The American Cancer Society and medical research support early detection to treat and defeat cancer. A majority of insurance companies don’t provide mammograms for women under the age of 50. But nearly half of deaths from breast cancer occur in women who are under the age of 50.

I’ll wait to let that sink in.

Executive director of Beyond PinkTo get a better understanding of how thermography works and the grants Beyond Pink makes available to women, and men, I sat down with Jessica Southwick, executive director.

What is thermography and what is the benefit?

“Thermography is not a detection instrument, it’s been FDA approved since 1982 as an adjunct to other methods like mammography or MRI. It’s a risk assessment tool. With pretty high accuracy, thermography can tell your risk of having cancer now or in the future,” says Southwick “It’s truly more of a preventive tool vs. diagnostic tool. So you wouldn’t have a thermogram and be able to say you have cancer. If you have an issue or you’re high risk, we would do additional screening.”

Thermography can see the first stages of breast disease when it’s only 90 days old and the size of a ballpoint pen tip. Mammography, on the other hand, detects tumors the size of a pea, which contain more than 4 billion cancer cells.

“The thermogram is graded on a scale of one to five. One being an ideal case, five being high risk,” says Southwick. “So, in the images, what we’re looking for is cool temperatures, symmetry on both sides, and low vascularity, not a lot of vessels appearing on the surface the skin.”

Graph of phases of thermography
Phases of thermography

Form follows function

Unlike mammograms, which see structure, such as tumors or calcifications, thermograms see function. It works like this; when there’s disease in the body, blood rushes to that area, called angiogenesis. That extra blood creates a heat signature that  rises to the surface of the skin, making it visible on the camera. That heat signature can give providers information that alerts them to the potential for  disease.

“Catching it early, before there is a structure, gives you an opportunity to make lifestyle changes to potentially bypass that diagnosis in the future,” says Southwick.

Getting a baseline early can help you monitor progress before age 40. “We recommend that people start doing thermography annually at age 20 … when breast tissue is denser,” says Southwick. “Unfortunately, we’re seeing breast cancer occur at younger ages, and at the younger age it’s generally more aggressive.”

 Grants for everyone

The grants offered by Beyond Pink are available to anyone who lives within 1.5 hours of Spokane. When asked if there is potential to expand Beyond Pink into other states, Southwick says, “That is something that is a dream of Charlie’s. To help other communities build Beyond Pink in other states.” Charlie Brewer and Karla Watkins are the driving forces behind Beyond Pink. Brewer’s sister had cancer twice before age 40. Knowing that illness doesn’t just pop up one day, Brewer went looking for ways to detect the risk sooner. Watkins, already doing thermography partnered with Brewer. The rest is a 15-year history of this lifeline to women (and men). Getting the word out about the benefits is key to Beyond Pink’s function.

Raising funds is only one goal to keep the nonprofit helping people learn their risk of cancer. Engaging the community and giving Beyond Pink an approachable public face is equally as important. Education is vital to get the word out that cancer isn’t necessarily in a person’s future. As the nonprofit’s slogan says “Prevention is the cure, thermography is how we get there.”

Do you have questions? Need more information? Want to join the fun run? Visit beyondpink.net or email .

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