For and about Cancer Survivors in Second Life, and for anyone who has been touched by cancer

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top of the Lindens!

M Linden in his end of year address mentioned two important cancer events on his list of favorite things in SL. Top of a randomized list was our very own much-loved Relay for Life of Second Life which raised over 200,000 real US dollars this year, with the virtual breast cancer conference held in Modena last month listed third. In the words of Fayandria Foley, Event Chair for RFL of SL in 2007, 2008 and looking forward, in 2009 - "WHAT A GREAT WAY TO END 2008 and START 2009!'


And a Happy New Year to y'all too!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Men can get breast cancer too!

Although it is 100 times more common in women, there are 1990 new male breast cancers diagnosed in the USA alone each year and male breast cancer accounts for approximately 450 deaths per year in the USA - said Dr Ren Stonecutter, speaking at the American Cancer Society in Second Life today. Male breast cancer is on the increase and has grown by around 26% in the past 25 years, he said. And unfortunately it is often only detected after it has reached an advanced stage.

There are a number of factors which put men at increased risk, said Dr Stonecutter, including Jewish ancestry, previous (benign) breast disease, gynecomastia (enlarged breasts), hormonal imbalances, alcohol, celibacy, and a history of liver or testicular disease. He recommended that men protect their 'family jewels' when playing sports or other dangerous activities as injury is another risk factor. And he pointed out that genetic factors are also important - men with a positive family history of breast cancer have an increased risk of 15-20%.

He recommended that men at increased risk should check their breasts regularly or have their significant others do it for them, just like their sisters and mothers, and that men diagnosed with male breast cancer should have genetic testing and counseling for their family members. But all men who find a lump should take note, he said, as the majority of men who are diagnosed have no identifiable risk factors.

Male breast cancer usually presents itself as a small, painless mass just under the areola (the brown area around the nipple), he said. The first step on finding a lump is to get a mammogram. And "when in doubt, TAKE IT OUT!". Male breast cancer is so rare that many local community oncologists will see only one or two cases in their entire careers, so he recommended that men with advanced breast cancer should go for treatment to the big cancer centers or universities, such as Memorial Sloan Kettering, or the National Cancer Institute.

Dr Stonecutter is a regular speaker in Second Life and a real life family physician.

A Celebration of Life

Yesterday LadyKay Gable was the gracious hostess at an awesome party at the Tiki Lounge. The reason? She has been cancer-free for ten years and wanted us to join her in a Celebration of Life.

As you can see from this picture, many of Kay's fellow survivors who have walked this journey turned out to celebrate with her, along with members of the ACS and Relay for Life community.

There was an evening of live music, including Kay's RL daughter Kim Seifert (pictured above)who is one of the most popular live singers in SL.

Although Kay has announced her intention to close the Tiki Lounge she still plans to be an active and involved member of the Cancer Survivors group at Hope Haven and of Relay for Life.