What I Wish People Knew About Living In ‘Chronic’ Pain

I take offense to being told my pain is chronic rather than acute.

6 Food Ingredients You Should Be Terrified Of

If it’s in jet fuel, shouldn’t you think twice about putting it in your body?

Could This Be The REAL Cause Of Cancer?

They say the good die young, but maybe we’ve been looking at it wrong this whole time.

The Dangerous Rise Of The Wannabe Health Guru

Here’s why you can’t trust your nutritionist.

Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Linked To Ovarian Cancer

The brand’s talcum powder is linked to causing ovarian cancer.

Angelina Jolie Speaks Out About Latest Surgery

Two years ago the world was both moved and stunned when prized Hollywood beauty, Angelina Jolie wrote about her choice to have a double mastectomy. Well, yesterday, she surprised us again by revealing that she had removed her ovaries and fallopian tubes as a preventative measure against ovarian cancer.

RELATED: Early Detection Saves Lives – A Breast Cancer Awareness Guide

Writing for the New York Times, Jolie opened up about her experience and explained that she carries the faulty BRCA1 gene, which means her risk of breast cancer increases to 87 per cent and risk of ovarian cancer to 50 per cent. “I lost my mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer,” she wrote.

Due to her family history, Jolie revealed she had been having regular appointments with both Eastern and Western doctors, and was preparing herself both physically and emotionally for when the time would come to have surgery. “I had been planning this for some time. It is a less complex surgery than the mastectomy, but its effects are more severe,” she revealed.

It was after a routine check that informalities alerted doctors and Jolie that there might be ovarian cancer in its early stages. After further tests were taken, the mother of six learnt that the tumour test was negative, yet there was still a chance of early stage cancer.

“I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn’t live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren.”

Weighing up her options, the 39-year-old explained: “A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery… the most important thing is to learn about the options and choose what is right for you personally,” but in this case, Jolie’s doctors recommended the procedure.

“My doctors indicated I should have preventative surgery about a decade before the earliest onset of cancer in my female relative. My mother’s ovarian cancer was diagnosed when she was 49. I’m 39.” While the actress chose to keep her uterus, the operation has brought on menopause, left her unable to have children and hasn’t removed all risk. “The fact is I remain prone to cancer,” she said.

And while this news may come as a surprise to some, Jolie has still managed to find peace in a frightening situation. “The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarising, and it is peaceful,” she explained.

In 2013, Jolie surprised the masses, sending the media into a storm, and after her article was released yesterday, it has once again. So why the hysteria? Is it because people suddenly saw her as a real woman and not as an ethereal, untouchable celebrity? Did the world finally realise that even the most elite have emotions, difficult moments, tough issues and problems too?

The choices she made were educated and so is her article. Through the piece she highlights the issues and provides us with an informative, heartfelt and sensitive account.

Jolie, who is a UN High Commissioner for refugees feels comfortable with her decision. “I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say, ‘Mom died of ovarian cancer,'” she said.

Both men and women can contract the BRCA 1 or 2 genes and the process to analyse whether you may have them is as easy as taking a blood test. Women have a 1 in 54 chance of contracting ovarian cancer and for women like Jolie who have BRCA gene present, their chances of the cancer skyrocket to 1 in 2.

“I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of my life. It is nothing to be feared.”

We applaud her decision – it’s not easy to make life-alerting choices in the public eye. We only hope that with the attention this has gained that more men and women will seek advice and learn about the risks that they may face. After all, as Jolie concludes: “Knowledge is power.”

Image via Dress Lilly

5 Signs You Might Have A Thyroid Problem

Thyroid-related diseases have become way too common in our society, but are often left undiagnosed for months or even years.

To quickly treat the early stages of this multifaceted disease, it’s important to listen to your body, and regularly report any signs to your general practitioner. Below we have compiled a list of just five common signs that you might be suffering from a thyroid related illness.

RELATED: Simple Ways To Stay Healthy in 2015

Enlarged neck

One of the most common ways to identify if you have a thyroid problem is through an enlarged, or swollen neck. The glands are often one of the first signs that your thyroid is in turmoil, and can even expand to the size of a goiter or enlarged gland. Your doctor can easily examine the area, and run a few non-invasive tests on your next check-up.

Hair loss

Increased hair loss is another huge sign that your body could be suffering from an overactive thyroid. We’re not just talking a few stray hairs after the shower, this is mostly hair which falls out in thick patches, but also constantly feels very dry and brittle.

Family history

If you have an extensive family history of thyroid disease, it’s important to regularly follow the signs, and get yourself checked out. It can also be accompanied by swollen glands and tonsillitis which are very much misdiagnosed.

Weight gain

Many people suffering from a thyroid related illness usually find themselves gaining much more weight than usual. Even sticking to a low-calorie or sugarless diet won’t help if you’re suffering from a hyper thyroid. The correct diagnosis will not only give you peace of mind, but help your body to lose the extra weight through other means.


Sometimes feeling absolutely exhausted after an extensive amount of sleep can be more than just usual fatigue. This is a common symptom of hyperthyroidism which can make you feel like a walking zombie.

Image via Scripps

Support World Cancer Day on Feb 4

World Cancer Day on February the 4th is a cause I wholeheartedly support. Three years ago, I attended five funerals and all but one was cancer-related. Several kids were left without Mums. One wasn’t even a teenager yet. A very close friend lost her sister and best mate. Another friend who is more like family also lost his sister. She was his only living relative leaving him the sole survivor at the tender age of 40. The remainder were stripped of precious loved ones which had a significant effect on all of them.

RELATED: Coping with Grief

Additionally my Aunt was a victim of ovarian cancer years before. Her symptoms were minimal, much like everyone else. In each case, cancer came like a thief in the night steeling the people we loved away from us.

Then my mum was eventually diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. It went misdiagnosed until the growth was so large it almost cut off her airways. Luckily, her surgeon was amazing and cut it out but the radiation treatment to deter it from returning was severe. It permanently disabled her ability to speak and she neither ate nor drank for almost two years.

Cancer, World Cancer Day, Cancer support, health, diseases, Cancers, Causes, WHO, life, live

So as you can imagine, cancer has made quite an impact on my life and on many people around me. Not even the kids have been left unscathed. When my friend’s dog was diagnosed with cancer we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Not even the animals were safe from its reach!

One thing that can be said for cancer is that it doesn’t discriminate. Young, old, healthy, sick, human, canine – cancer isn’t fussy. In fact, it’s gaining ground, particularly in Africa, Asia, Central and South America. These regions claim greater than 60 per cent of the new cases for the entire globe each year. This indicates a rapidly growing disparity between people from different nations having access to prevention, treatment and palliative care.

Cancer, World Cancer Day, Cancer support, health, diseases, Cancers, Causes, WHO, life, live

This is especially worrisome because the World Health Organization have predicted a 70 per cent rise in new cancer cases over the next two decades. That will make the current rate of 14 million new cases each year rise to an astronomical 22 million and fatality rates are well over half. Something drastic needs to be done.

The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) developed World Cancer Day to make that happen. They are a leading non government organization, based in Geneva, with links to over 800 organizations across 150 countries. They want to save millions of preventable deaths through awareness and education by pressuring individuals like us to speak up, so world governments and organizations step up!

Cancer, World Cancer Day, Cancer support, health, diseases, Cancers, Causes, WHO, life, live

The aim of World Cancer Day is primarily to raise awareness and capture the world’s media attention. They recognize the power of social media and the power of the people. That includes ALL of us. If you have a Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr account they need you!

They want to ensure essential plans, policies and directives which have been recommended to world government and non-government organizations will actually happen. We all need it to happen. I don’t want to loose one more person in my life to Cancer. If you don’t either, join thousands of us around the world who are prepared to make some noise. It will only take you a minute of you time to get involved. Click on the images in this post for a direct link to the World Cancer Day official website to find out more.

Images via

Best-Selling Author Tackles Cancer Curse With New Book

Sunshine Coast author Kim McCosker, of 4 Ingredients fame has done it again with Cook 4 a Cure, a collaboration of recipes using just four ingredients or less.

From humble beginnings back in 2007 when the first 4 Ingredients title was rejected by every publishing house in the country, 4 Ingredients Book 1 went on to achieve phenomenal success as the highest selling self-published title in Australian history.

In addition, The 4 Ingredients Cookbook Series is now the highest selling cookbook series in Australia, with the 4 Ingredients iApp one of the most successful lifestyle apps in the Apple iTunes Australian store.

Related: How To Deal With A Loved One’s Cancer Diagnosis

Now, Kim’s sharing inspiration and journeys from Australian women, combined with more than 60 recipes of her own, in Cook 4 a Cure.
Kim said her new book was aimed at celebrating food that’s easy to create and devour.

“Whether you’ve been touched directly by cancer, or know of someone who has, together with the sales of Cook 4 a Cure, 4 Ingredients aims to raise $100,000 for much needed breast cancer research,” Kim says.


cancer, author, Kim McCosker

Cook 4 a Cure recipes include a Garden Omelette, Pink Velvet Soup, Herbed Ricotta Pie, Truffles and Mint & Raspberry Soft Serve. And ladies, if you fancy the look of the decadent cake on the Cook 4 a Cure’s front cover (pictured below), you can make it! See recipe below.

The book is $24.99 at Big W (a National Breast Cancer Foundation Platinum Partner), in-store and online. Visit


  • One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s goal is to achieve zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030. This is only possible through research.
  • Up to 37 Australians are diagnosed with breast cancer every day and seven die daily from the disease.


cancer, author, Kim McCosker

1, 1, 1, 1/2 Cake

Serves 6


1 cup (120g) desiccated coconut

1 cup (250ml) organic coconut milk

1 cup (175g) organic self raising flour

1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar

Rosewater Buttercream

1/2 cup (115g) softened butter

2 tsp rosewater essence

3 drops rose colouring

1 1/2 cups (180g) pure icing sugar


  1. Preheat oven 180ºC. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Line a 16cm cake tin with baking paper (otherwise lightly grease and dust with extra flour).
  2. Pour in the mixture. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted removes clean. Turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely, before icing with this delicious lot of loveliness.
  3. For the rosewater buttercream: Beat butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
  4. Add rosewater and colouring and a spoonful of icing sugar, and then beat until combined. Continue adding spoonfuls of sugar gradually, beating well after each additional, until mixture is smooth and creamy. This gorgeous icing can be piped or spread over 1 large cake or 12 cupcakes.

Who Said Sun Hats Aren’t Sexy?

We all need to prevent premature ageing and reduce our risk of getting skin cancer, so, protective sun hats are an essential item, in every women’s wardrobe. Millions of kids have had the sun smart message drummed into them and we now seldom see kids without a hat.

When it comes to women, though, we seem to neglect them. It’s probably because we either look awful in them, they don’t fit properly, they mess up our hair, they don’t exactly scream sexy; whatever the reason, we really do need to wear them more often. Particularly in our harsh Australian climate. So, if we really need to wear them, we may as well do it fashionably!

Experts recommend, when trying on hats, look at a full-length mirror. This is how others see us. Although it might suit your face, it may look disproportional compared to the rest of you. Lets face it, if we look crappy in something, we aren’t going to wear it! Using the following recommendations as a guide will at least provide a starting point.


Let’s begin with the jackpot winners because women with an oval face can wear just about any type of hat and pull it off. The tip to remember is to make sure the snug part of the hat, which fits around your head (known as the crown), is wider than your cheekbones but avoid going wider than your shoulders.


Shortening your face and adding some width should be your primary objective. Try a hat with less height and a big floppy brim.


Very similar to tips for oblong faces. Try a full or uplifted brim and don’t add too much height.


The most significant tip for you to keep in mind is that square hats, on a square-shaped face won’t do you any favours. They will accentuate your jawline. Try hats which will soften and lengthen your features.


The best type of hat for you is a medium brim, with a defining crown, to narrow the forehead. Avoid horizontal trimmings and you can afford to have a hat with a bit of height.


The style advice, is similar to heart shaped, except you want to aim for a hat that widens the forehead. For you, horizontal trims, will work a treat. Once again, a medium brim is recommended.


You too want to widen the forehead, so you can try any hat which adds width. Asymmetric brims and crowns with some height will work well to achieve the best look.


The aim here is to lengthen your face, so try an irregular brim, which is wider than your facial structure, a vertical design and defined crown.

Now, apart from style, you really need to consider other factors like protection, comfort and practicality. Some hats contain SPF block-out and can add greater protection to your head and face. If you burn easily, this is a wise investment.

Then there are other varieties which contain hydrating gel crystals to keep your head cooler. If you need a hat to go and out in direct sunlight and heat, this may be a viable option. Plus, if the reason you don’t wear a hat is because it’s just too damn hot, this is a solution.

You also need to consider when and where you are going to wear a hat. If you frequently wear it in windy conditions, the last thing you want is a hat which you will need to hold onto your head or chase around. There are lots of fashionable hats around these days which will fit your head perfectly, so functionality is no longer an excuse.

You may find that having a selection of protective hats will be a better solution, particularly if you will be wearing it in various situations. Consider all the variables and make a choice which is best for you. We all need to start looking at wearing sun hats as an investment in our longevity and get over the barriers, which have been preventing us from wearing them. There are some comfortable, functional and stunning styles available so it’s about time we all go shopping!

Image via

Funny Video Raises Awareness Of Pap Tests

“It’s like going to the dentist, except it’s down there … and there aren’t any teeth”

A quirky new video is taking cervical cancer prevention to a new level by bringing viewers along Sophie’s journey of having a pap test. Created by Cancer Council Victoria and PapScreen Victoria, the video follows the character of Sophie who wakes to the shocking realisation that she’s booked in for that awkward pap test.

Confronted by the usual pre-pap test dilemmas, such as whether to shave ‘down there’ and which underwear to wear, Sophie gives herself pep talks to psych herself up for the main event.

“It’s okay. Nothing they haven’t seen before,” she tells herself, unconvincingly. “Okay. Get a grip! No, not grip… relax.”

PapScreen Victoria Manager Hiranthi Perera says with figures showing that more than half of young women are not having regular pap tests, the video aims to relieve some of the fear and anxiety that surrounds the cervical screening test.

“We know that young women especially put off having pap tests because they’re scared or embarrassed. This video is a realistic and light-hearted look at what happens during a Pap test to help ease some of those feelings,” Ms Perera says.

“Sophie also shows us how to best prepare for one – such as wearing a skirt and doing your best to relax.

“It’s so easy to get anxious about what is, really, a very simple and quick test that all women need to have. This video shows women that pap tests are really, not that bad.”

Latest figures show that more than half of young women aren’t having regular pap tests, while new research published in the Medical Journal of Australia this month shows that pap test rates are even lower in those who have had the HPV vaccine.

A pap test looks for abnormal changes to the cells on the cervix, which if left undetected and untreated, could develop into cervical cancer. Around 90 per cent of cervical cancers can be prevented with regular pap tests.

Current national guidelines recommend that all women aged 18 to 70 who have ever been sexually active should have a Pap test every two years.

Anxious about paps? Follow these tips:

  1. Relax and remember to breathe
  2. Wear a skirt, pants or shorts so you can simply undress from the waist down
  3. Feel free to ask questions
  4. Have the test first thing in the morning, so you can get it over and done with before you’ve had the whole day to stress about it
  5. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, let the doctor or nurse know
  6. If you arrive for your appointment but realise you’re not ready to do the test, you can always come back another time.
  7. Take a friend with you for support

How To Deal With A Loved One’s Cancer Diagnosis

I have a heavy heart today – yet another two loved ones are facing torturous, heartbreaking and excruciating cancer battles. And I know I’m far from alone; an estimated 128,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year – that’s a lot of families devastated by the fallout.

I’ve already lost my father to cancer and also recently watched my superwoman of a mother bravely kick cancer’s arse, too. Now, yet another two loved ones’ lives hang in the balance. So, how do you deal with the shock and agony of having someone close to you diagnosed with cancer?

Knowledge is power

You’ll want to be there for your loved one as they go through the gamut of emotions that a cancer diagnosis may evoke. But first, you need to get your own emotions under control. You can empower yourself and your loved one by finding out as much as you can about the diagnosis, nature of the particular cancer (cancer outcomes vary greatly), symptoms, and likely prognosis and treatment options. Also, talk with your loved one’s medical practitioners, if possible, to gain an accurate picture. Then, you’ll be in a much better position to talk through the situation and provide help, encouragement and comfort.

Be brutally honest

From my experience, most people with cancer prefer to know the cold, hard truth. But of course, you’ll want to be as supportive and encouraging as possible in whatever ways your loved one needs. Accompany them to doctor’s appointments if they wish – this may provide another set of ears as it’s easy to miss important details when you’re stressed.

Take care of you

Don’t neglect your own self-care when looking after a loved one with cancer. Remember to take the time to eat healthy food, exercise and use relaxation strategies – then, you can encourage the family member with cancer to do the same.

Seek outside help

There is no need to suffer in silence, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Or, try counselling and support services for cancer sufferers and their families – the Cancer Council Australia’s website is very informative and helpful. In addition, the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20, is a free, confidential telephone information and support service run by Cancer Councils in each state and territory. Trained staff will answer your questions and offer emotional or practical support. Also, ask your friends and family for support – do everything you can to unburden your load and stay healthy and sane during this tough time – don’t keep your stress and upset bottled up inside.

Stay positive

Cancer outcomes are better than ever. What was a death sentence for my own father 11 years ago, would more than likely not be the case today. Talk to medical experts to find out what battle your loved one with cancer is facing.

Cancer in Australia – Fast Facts

  • One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer by 85
  • Cancer is a leading cause of death  – more than 43,200 Australians died from cancer in 2011. Cancer accounts for about three in 10 deaths
  • Around 19,000 more people die each year from cancer than 30 years ago, but this is mainly due to population growth and ageing. However, the death rate (number of deaths per 100,000 people) has fallen by more than 16 per cent
  • Up to 66 per cent of people diagnosed with cancer are still alive five years after diagnosis
  • The survival rate for many common cancers has increased by 30 per cent in the past two decades
  • The most common cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) are prostate, colorectal (bowel), breast, melanoma and lung cancer. These five cancers account for more than 60 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in Australia

Tree Of Hope breast cancer survivor tree painting via

You Can Too This Winter

Whether you’re a first time runner or a seasoned marathoner, now is the time to set your sights on participating in one of Australia’s most popular running festivals – and doing it for a good cause – by joining Can Too. Can Too is a non-profit program, which offers professional coaching across a number of metro locations, for beginners through to experienced athletes. In return, participants raise money that goes towards funding young Australian cancer researchers through Cure Cancer Australia.

Registrations are now open for Can Too marathon, half-marathon or 9km training programs for this year’s Blackmore’s Sydney Running Festival in September and the Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival in October.

Can Too Founder, Annie Crawford, said participants love Can Too programs for more reasons than one due to the win/win combination of fitness and fundraising, as well as the milestones achieved and the fun and friendships that are formed along the way:

“Our Can Too participants – Can Tooers as they’re affectionately known – all join Can Too for very individual reasons. For some, they have a personal connection to cancer and this is a way for them to give back and to help fight the disease. For others, it’s about taking a risk and overcoming a fear, achieving something they never thought possible – whether that be physical or mental.

“We have Can Tooers of all different shapes and sizes, aged from 18 to 80, and we have some who have completed numerous marathons, and others who haven’t run since high school. It’s a wonderful mix of people who all share one common attribute – a Can Too attitude.”

Being a part of Can Too offers you:

  • A day-by-day training guide, and two professionally coached group training sessions per week
  • A great group of people to train with and fun social get-togethers
  • Fundraising ideas and support
  • Fun, fitness and lifestyle change
  • Access to inspirational speakers including champion athletes, sports experts, cancer survivors, and medical researchers
  • The ability to make a difference to your community through funding cancer research

The Can Too fundraising target is determined by the length of the training program, and all participants are provided with a fundraising booklet and support to conduct an effective fundraising campaign. Since its inception in 2005, Can Too has raised more than $13.5m and trained more than 9,000 participants. To date, more than 95 grants funded by Can Too have gone to young researchers nationally across all fields of cancer research. To register for a Can Too program or to find out more, visit

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