This is breast cancer awareness month, and with all the discussion out there about GMO’s and our health I thought it would be helpful to share my friend Nina’s work. Reading her piece on The Huffington Post really opened my eyes to the mammogram experince and why this is good information for us all.

The lovely Nina Montee Karp is an incredible cook, ex pilot, founding board member of  Healthy Child Healthy World and writer, producer and director of “The Path to Wellness and Healing” a visual guide to inspire and help breast cancer patients.

1) What are things we can do as women to prevent breast cancer?

– eating organic; pesticide, hormone and antibiotic free food
– maintaining healthy body weight
– not smoking
– exercising regularly
– creating a healthy home
– making informed healthcare choices
– choosing safe products and cosmetics ( using fewer, natural ingredients)
– raise your voice for change (ask your senators to vote “yes” on the Safe Chemical Act; support great non profit organizations like EWG.org – to help consumers choose safe products)
2) You recently wrote on Huffington Post about your mamogram experience. Can you briefly describe what happened?
On a recent visit to the radiologist for my annual mammogram, I was alarmed to learn that the very test meant to detect cancer can expose other parts of our bodies — in particular the thyroid gland and ovaries — to radiation that could potentially lead to cancer! That day, my husband (a pediatrician) accompanied me to the doctor’s office. He was surprised to see that the nurse didn’t automatically offer a little scarf-width lead shield to cover my neck and protect my thyroid or a lead apron to cover my ovaries. When he asked about it, she informed us that they don’t use guards unless the patient specifically requests it. What?! How could I ask for something that I didn’t even know existed? (And FYI, this type of radiation risk can also happen from dental X-raysCAT scans and other X-ray tests). Most of us don’t have medical degrees, and if it weren’t for my loving husband coming to be with me, I would never have known about this problem. S0 – spread the word! Tell your moms, grandmothers and friends to use a thyroid guard and ovary shield for all X-ray tests.We don’t yet have definite proof linking thyroid cancer and X-rays, but why take any risk that you can avoid as easily as buckling up a seat belt?
3) How did you become an advocate for Cancer Prevention?
 Women are facing a breast cancer epidemic! I had 9 girlfriends in west LA with breast cancer ! Then, my sister in law was diagnosed in 2001 when she was 34 and 2 friends at 36 and 38 years old ( and a government task force recommended NOT having mammogram before age 50!!). This change in recommendation caused fierce debate. There was so much misinformation and controversy…and information overload on the internet. I wanted women (and men…over 2000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer/year) to get educated and receive the best advice from the sources they can trust. So in 2009, my friend Joyce Ostin ( 2 times breast cancer survivor) and I started to interview top doctors and wellness experts on the subject in order to raise awareness and also to help educate women with breast cancer on their journey to full healing – body, mind and spirit!  “Breast Cancer: The Path of Wellness & Healing” offers an in-depth look into this great health challenge affecting one in seven of our mothers, sisters, wives, and friends…  It is a step-by-step resource for anyone who has ever received a diagnosis or has a family member or friend who has been diagnosed. Doctors, celebrities and everyday women share their intimate stories of struggle and triumphs. They offer a thorough explanation of breast cancer risk; getting your biopsy correctly read; cancer types; forming your personal and medical teams;  treatment options; tips for faster recovery through diet, exercise, stress reduction and spiritual growth; and much more…
This was another motivation for creating our DVD –  a first-of-its-kind visual guide for breast cancer that allows patients and their families to sit down and receive an educational, inspirational overview in just 2 hours. For additional support and more in-depth information, breast cancer patients can view our 3-hour bonus disc, featuring tours of breast cancer procedures and treatments (including chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, reconstruction, exercise, and nutrition). This DVD really offers an invaluable guide on the challenging journey of breast cancer.
For more information, please visit http://breastcancerdvd.org
4) What book is on your nightstand? “Autobiography of a Yogi” – the first addition ( a must read –  regardless of religious or cultural background)
5) Why do you think cancer is on the rise?
First, we live longer and over 65-70% of all cancer cases are from people over the age 65. Exposure to toxic and hazardous agents in the environment, chemical risks, poor diet (food filled pesticides, hormones and antibiotics), smoking, stressful lifestyles.. can  all be contributors to cancer related illnesses. (In USA – 1,500 people die of cancer every day. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths). * An estimated 100 million people died of tobacco-related diseases in the 20th century
6) What and where is your favorite meal?
Homemade organic vegetarian dinners at home with my husband and people we love.