Friday, October 27, 2023

Key to the City goes to "ARE YOU DENSE?"


Waterbury celebrated a citywide Pink Out on Thursday, October 26th! Saint Mary’s Hospital Foundation has once again partnered with the City of Waterbury to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness. Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, Saint Mary’s Hospital President, Kim Kalajainen and special guest Joe Cappello will address organizers and volunteers from the Waterbury Police and Fire Departments as well as the Education Department, area students and others at 11:00 a.m.  at Waterbury City Hall.  

"PINK OUT" DAY- transcript from Mayor O'Leary's speech:
We want to thank Waterbury public schools, all of our great city employees who have embraced this PINK OUT. Of course the people in my office who have worked tirelessly on this, particularly Allie and  Judy and Jen. I hope our message resonates with you. I hope you all go home and talk about this tonight with your families and your, your children, and maybe even your grandchildren on your siblings and your, uh, family members.  We do preventative screening each and every year, and please reach out to us and we will make sure that we put you in the queue for the preventative screening, which will take you all of about seven minutes. Nothing intrusive. We take some samples from you, we check you out. More than likely you're gonna be fine, but every once in a while we come across someone who's not and we save their life. 

It's one of the reasons why we signed on with Cigna Healthcare, because Cigna healthcare is in front of the curve in this area, and that's why the City of Waterbury switched over to Cigna back in 2013. Without further ado, I just want to present this plaque to Mr. Joseph Capello for his amazing speech today, but more importantly for his commitment to honoring his wife, Nancy, and her ordeal and what she went through. And think about this, when this becomes a federal mandate in September, thanks to the work that started right here, we will save through the His Joe's initiative, the lives of millions of women, not hundreds of thousands, millions of women throughout, not only the United States of America, but as you heard globally. And that's the difference here, folks. And thank you, Mr. Capello. And this is a key to the city of Waterbury with our pink. Now you only have so November 30th to use it in one of the doors. <laugh>. Thank you all you guys, you're great. We love you and thanks, of course. A special thanks to Trinity St. Mary's. 

Under a joint report with the Women's Diagnostic Network and HealthTech Reporter, our research editor Dr. Robert Bard caught up with Ms. MJ Smith, a clinical ambassador from Screen Point Medical (breast imaging AI) at the 2023 NYC Roentgen Society conference. At the height of the medical conference, we found MJ to be a uniquely profound and engaging speaker about women's health topics.  Exploring a private connection opened us into a collaborative and educational journey befitting our UNDERDIAGNOSED WOMEN series where MJ is truly a life-long crusader in support of clinical advocacy. (see complete feature)

A major concern is the presence of breast cancer in underserved communities, including those TOO YOUNG FOR A MAMMOGRAM.  Whereby the medical community touts the recommended (and legal/billable status) of getting a mammo scan should be between 40-50, what happens to the many women who do not fit this age criteria?  How would they even know to get checked without the support of their clinicians or an alarm from family history? Decades into the battle against breast cancer, clinicians and the public are much more educated about EARLY DETECTION, PREVENTION and the current protocols and modalities available to save lives.  Recent headlines on DENSE BREAST and the advancements in ULTRASOUND SCANNING supports a major part of this battle. SEE COMPLETE FEATURE

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS),  women ages 45 to 54 and post-menopausal years are required to get mammograms every year.[1a] But for the underserved ages (20-40), the risk for breast cancer exists in growing numbers. In support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Integrative Cancer Resource Society, the AngioFoundation Institute (501c3) and the "Are You Dense?" Foundation  addresses the continuing concerns for breast cancer in the New York area by recommending early detection screening programs for women over 20 (and not just anyone 40+ as standardized by the insurance companies.

I went to my doctor for a lump I felt in my breast and she gave me a response that set off red flags: "don't worry about it". Being a researcher involved in breast density and breast cancer, I knew that I had to take action; I was fortunate enough to have my breast ultrasound training with Dr. Robert Bard (cancer imaging specialist, NYC) upcoming in the next week. Dr. Bard showed me how to use the ultrasound to help me find two benign tumors in my breasts, and it was there that he reported that I have dense breasts. Had I not taken action in getting screened at the young age of 22, I would have never known that I should be getting screened via ultrasound every 6 months (because having dense breasts puts me at a higher risk for breast cancer), nor would I have known that I had benign breast tumors. 

Cancer Researcher/ Graduate- Molloy Univ.

Profiling the Dense Breast Paradigm  - by: Dr. Roberta Kline
As an Ob-Gyn physician and genomics specialist, I have spent the better part of 10 years translating research in the genomic and gene expression areas into clinically usable information for healthcare professionals. One of the biggest challenges we face when connecting research with patient care is the long delay in the translation process and dissemination of the information. It often takes 10 to 20 years for information (validated findings) that comes out of research to be applied in clinical practice. These delays result in many lost opportunities to provide better care for our patients. This is one of the reasons why I'm really passionate about accelerating this process and making it easier for clinicians and their patients to take advantage of cutting-edge information and new technologies.  (see complete report)

"In order to catch cancer, you need to be able to detect it at an early stage so we can treat patients with the most effective mechanisms.  Ultrasounds are an easy, cost-effective method for screening for early breast cancers, especially in women below the age of 45, who are likely to have dense breasts. When you are young and premenopausal your breasts are dense and we know that breast density is linked to cancer and which also makes it harder for cancers to be seen on a mammogram. Although breast cancer is rare in women under the age of 40, early detection is key.  Public health campaigns are spending so much money on mammograms for this population of women who can easily and cost effectively be screened using an ultrasound."

"I LOVE this new program! Early detection is essential! There is a stigmatization around mammograms that they are painful and frightening. There is anxiety while you wait for the results. And, don't forget the appointment scheduling hassle.  Women, particularly younger women with active lives, small children, careers don't want to have to fit one more thing into their hectic and demanding schedules. However, mammogram technology itself has advanced and it no longer has to be a painful experience. Clinics and imaging centers are offering untraditional scheduling opportunities, such as very early morning appointments to late evening appointments that are timed for very minimal wait times. And, clinicians are often prioritizing mammogram interpretations so the results are back within 24 hours. The Self Care message is trending right now. Mammograms should be a part of self care."

Thursday, September 28, 2023

How Brain Health & Training Can Help with Chemo Brain

Introduction: Since the earliest days of the NY Cancer Resource Alliance, our contributors (mostly cancer survivors) have generously shared their experiences and their struggles including their frustrations over "Chemo Brain".  As we launch our next set of features in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are proud to include the fine work of our resident brain-trainer about this significant topic with the hopes of bringing measurable improvement to those living with post-treatment neurological or cognitive issues.

By: Marilyn Abrahamson, MA,CCC-SLP

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy can be tough on the body and the mind. One common challenge that some people face during and after chemotherapy is "chemo brain." This can make it hard to remember things, stay focused, and think clearly. More specifically, it's a mental fog, clouding thoughts, memories, and clarity, leaving behind mental fatigue.

To tackle this issue, it's important to understand the value of brain health and training. We'll delve into the importance of brain health and training, revealing how taking care of your brain can harness neuroplasticity, offering renewed hope and recovery for those experiencing the symptoms of chemo brain.

Chemo brain, or cancer-related cognitive impairment, is when cancer treatment affects your thinking and memory. It can make you forget things, find it tough to concentrate, and slow down your brain.

Chemo brain can impact your life in many ways. It might make it hard to remember important dates, manage your daily tasks, and even feel good about yourself. Feeling frustrated or anxious because of memory problems is common.

Taking care of your brain is like taking care of your body. Here are some simple ways to do it:

- Healthy Habits: Just like eating well and staying active are good for your body, they're also great for your brain. Regular exercise, eating nutritious foods, and getting enough sleep can help your brain stay in good shape.

- Keep Your Brain Busy: Doing activities that make you think can keep your brain sharp. Try puzzles, reading, or learning new things to give your brain a workout.

- Stay Social: Spending time with friends and family is not only fun, but it's also good for your brain. It keeps your mind engaged and helps you stay connected.

- Training Your Brain to Get Stronger!  Think of brain training as being similar to training your muscles. You can do exercises to make your brain stronger and more agile as follows:

Better Memory: Learn and practice strategies for attention and memory, and look for challenging memory puzzles and games to improve your memory and avoid forgetfulness.

Concentration Boost: Try techniques like mindfulness meditation to help you focus better and pay attention more easily.

Solving Problems: Solve puzzles or play games that need thinking. These activities can improve your problem-solving skills and help your brain adapt to new challenges.

Use Brain Apps: There are apps designed to train your brain. They offer different games and exercises that you can do on your phone or tablet.

Train Your Brain: Learn about how to nourish your brain, and use it in a more effective way for more clarity, and better memory. The Long Live Your Brain online group brain training program can help!


Dealing with chemo brain is no small task, but there are ways to overcome its challenges. By taking steps to keep your brain healthy through good habits, staying mentally active, and engaging in brain training exercises, you can make a positive impact on your cognitive abilities. Just like recovering from cancer, taking care of your brain is a journey that requires effort and dedication. With determination and the right strategies, you can improve your cognitive function and enhance your overall quality of life, even in the face of chemo brain.

For more information on the Long Live Your Brain program, visit our website at and schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated brain health coaches.

MARILYN ABRAHAMSON, MA, CCC-SLP-CBHC : As a Brain Health Education Specialist at Ceresti Health, Marilyn offers initiatives that support the education and empowerment of family caregivers. Her latest endeavor is co-owner of BrainThrive Consulting and co-creator of the Long Live Your Brain© program, a fun and friendly online group brain coaching and training program for people striving for more reliable memory, attention, and clearer thinking. Marilyn’s prior work is as a NJ Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist since 1987 and is an Amen Clinics Certified Brain Health Coach.



About a year after my initial diagnosis of stage IV head and neck cancer, I had a follow-up visit with my oncologist "Dr. C." After my vitals were taken and blood drawn, we had a brief wait in the bleak exam room.

During this exam, Dr. C. announced that my scans were clear and I was now officially cancer-free. He commented, That was not an easy regimen (chemo, radiation and surgery) you just had, but you did phenomenally well!” He asked if there was actually something I did which helped me get through treatment in such good emotional and physical shape. I replied that Id used a mindful wellness practice, listening to programs at the infusion center. His eyes lit up as he suddenly proclaimed, Thats what I want for all of my patients!” He desired a way his patients could become calm before their exams or treatments.

As Dr. C. talked, Tamaras eyes and mine met and a light bulb lit up. Wed been creating the Miracle Mondays guided meditation series for seven years, and wed also recently lived through the cancer experience as patient and caregiver. Now my oncologist was pointing out a pain-point within his practice. As we exchanged huge smiles, we had our a-ha! moment: Loving Meditations was born.


Meditation has deep roots in research-based results., home of the journal Oncology, reported that mind-body practices like mindfulness meditation have been shown to positively affect quality of life and biological outcomes” when used by cancer patients and healthcare professionals. [1] Lets face it. Cancer and other major illnesses are scary, overwhelming, and stressful. How can we handle them with more ease?

[1], home of the journal Oncology Mindfulness Meditation” by Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN Oct 19, 2010


HOW IT WORKS: The Loving Meditations App is available on two platforms, iOS (for iPad and iPhone) and Web App (for any device). For the free app download, go to The mindful wellness programs are delivered via the App to empower cancer patients, survivors and caregivers with self-love, self-care and self-discovery on their healing journey, from diagnosis to survivorship.

As you watch Loving Meditations, Tamaras calming voice, Davids expansive music and spectacular images shift you to a state of more calm. Our mindful techniques worked beautifully for us and also have helped thousands of people in over twenty countries.


REDUCING STRESS FOR PATIENTS: Imagine youre sitting in the infusion center hooked up to a cocktail of IV medications. You are expecting to be sitting there for a few hours, anticipating discomfort and with time on your hands. Then you remember you have the Loving Meditations app on your device. Finding the right meditation is as simple as opening the app and answering a few questions with the Adviser feature. For example, when the Adviser asks, Do you feel pain or discomfort?” you may choose to swipe right for yes, and the Adviser quickly guides you to helpful programs. Next, press play and enjoy the meditation. Whether you close your eyes and zone out or watch the beautiful images on the screen, youll be transported to a state of relaxation and tranquility.

By: Dr. Leslie Valle & the Prevention101 Editorial Team

During the Covid-19 surge, interviews with emergency medical professionals showed dramatic cases of ICU and ER responders exposed to major signs of advanced fatigue and risk of burnout.  This significantly raised major risks to their work performance where lives are to be affected, including theirs.  Over time, double and triple shifts resulted in "a different type of pandemic" on a national scale- where this level of exhaustion and overwhelm.  

Where a leave of absence, a vacation or regular rest is not an immediate option, we can start with addressing BRAIN HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH.  Modern meditation solutions (like BrainTap®, Loving Meditations® and other such technologies) are now available for exactly this emergent case as a portable personal "Rescue" dose. By tap ping the mind/body connection into a Vital Re-charge mode, we can induce a "Refresh- Revitalize-Renew" condition.  As with conventional meditation, bringing you into a regenerative meditative state offers that level of rest, clears the mind for renewed focus and new energy to continue with the 'battle' at hand. 

CALMING FOR SURVIVORS: Imagine youre scheduled for a follow-up scan and are beginning to feel anxious about the procedure and results. Looking at your device screen, you notice an inspiring quote there from Loving Meditations. Opening the app, you navigate to one of the Mindful Minute videos called Total Focus Breath, a super easy technique to use anytime, anywhere to quickly calm and quiet the mind. You follow the breathing technique for the next several minutes. Quickly, a sense of Ive got this” replaces panic.

WHAT, ME MEDITATE?  Weve heard folks say, Yeah, but I have no time to meditate!” Looking at it another way, we dont realize how many hours we actually spend watching the news, TV programs, or digital content on social media. Many of us devote significant time to this, sometimes to the point of addiction. Another common problem people mention about starting a mindful practice is that they cant stop thinking and their mind is too active” to meditate. They may have tried meditating in the past and found it difficult to sit and do nothing. Barraged by thoughts, they cant shut them out. What if it was as easy as putting in earbuds and pressing play on the Loving Meditations App?


By: David Dachinger & Joshua Schueller

Within the recent decade, a higher level of focus on brain health has been a trending topic in headlines throughout medical community news.  Public concerns about Alzheimer’s, Dementia, MS, ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases has driven advanced research in their diagnostics, therapeutics and prevention. According to Dr. Jay Lombard, “One of the most exciting opportunities in neuroscience research today is the use of strategies that protect the brain which may potentially prevent, delay or inhibit the progression of neurodegenerative diseases… this opportunity rests on our ability for early diagnosis. Research has shown that the likelihood of success for a given treatment-whether lifestyle changes or pharmacological approaches- is highly dependent upon early intervention, before the disease process has become too severe and potentially irreversible.” [1] 

 In addition, growing reports on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy/CTE (identified from head concussions) has prompted significant attention to this progressive brain condition.  According to the National Health Service (UK), this disorder “is thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion. It's particularly associated with contact sports, such as boxing or American football. Most of the available studies are based on ex-athletes”. [2]

More concerns of brain function and performance is widely seen in the current pandemic and post-covid infection sequelae cases, where over 50 prevailing symptoms and disorders (known as LONG HAUL) are now under global review. Clinical researchers state post-acute COVID—affects a multitude of organ systems- including neuropsychiatric issues like BRAIN FOG, a form of cognitive impairment. This may be linked to a wide range of pathologies such as anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and recurring headaches and migraines. [3] In a recent meta-analysis study on long term effects of covid-19, Dr. Sonia Villapol (Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the Center for Neuroregeneration in the Houston Methodist Research Institute & Asst. Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine) recorded significant long haul cases pertaining to brain health and functions including 44% headaches, 27% attention disorders, 13% anxiety, 12% depression. [4]

ROBERTA KLINE, MD (Educational Dir. /Women's Diagnostic Group) is a board-certified ObGyn physician, Integrative Personalized Medicine expert, consultant, author, and educator whose mission is to change how we approach health and deliver healthcare. She currently serves as Education Director for several organizations including the Women’s Diagnostic Health Network, Mommies on a Mission. 

LESLIE VALLE-MONTOYA, MD - is the founder of Biomed Life/ Santa Barbara Longevity Center. After medical school, Dr. Valle focused on managing chronic disease starting with its links to poor nutrition and then introducing them into the world of energy frequencies.  She explores and includes non-invasive modalities such as: frequency therapies (including biofeedback), PEMF, proper detoxification, nutritional guidance and binaural beats as needed.

Lt. DAVID DACHINGER (Ret) - is a retired Fire Lieutenant with over 21 years as a leader in emergency services. He is also a Stage IV cancer survivor. He wrote cancer prevention policies for the Ridgefield CT Fire Department, and introduced physical fitness wellness initiatives. David hosts the video podcast “Responder Resilience”, which is dedicated to improving the mental and physical well-being of police, fire, EMS, and dispatch personnel. 

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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

PROCLAMATION: 9/27 Is World Dense Breast Tissue Day

9/19/2023- Mr. Joe Cappello, co-founder of the "Are You Dense?" Foundation was invited to attend the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting at County Government Center to receive an official proclamation by Santa Clara County Supervisor (and former California State Senator) JOE SIMITIAN, officially confirming September 27 as World Dense Breast Tissue Day.  According to Mr. Simitian, this proclamation was sparked by earlier discussions about the late Nancy Cappello who passed away of breast-cancer related complications from dense breast tissue.  "(Nancy's) own life experience... said others should have more power, more knowledge, more ability to affect the decision making in their own healthcare. For this, we are a better state, a better county, and in fact a better nation by virtue of her work."

To date, Joe Cappello continues to build and promote educational programs supporting research, clinical upgrades and improved scanning/monitoring programs.  The "Are You Dense?" Foundation and "Are You Dense?" Advocacy are produced by the Cappellos in pursuit of saving lives through awareness through uniting with community leaders, clinical professionals and public recognition off the continued risks of having dense breast tissue.

TRANSCRIPT OF PROCLAMATION: 9/19/2023- County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors

SPEAKER: Santa Clara County (CA) Supervisor Joe Simitian- District 5

Thank you, Madam President. And I'm going to look to the clerk to see if we can bring Mr. Joe Cappello from “Are You Dense?” in Connecticut up on the screen. I'll ask for a moment of patience, colleagues. 

Colleagues and members of the public, you'll recall of course that just last week, we adjourned our meeting in memory of Nancy Cappello, who passed away almost five years ago now. And it provided an opportunity for our board to reflect on Nancy's extraordinary work over literally decades. We also took the opportunity at our last meeting to express our formal support for the Find It Early Act which is an effort at the national level congressional level to take the next step in terms of addressing the cancer risk of women with dense breast tissue. Today, we are calling out the formal acknowledgement of World Dense Breast Tissue Day. And the reason for that, Joe, and colleagues and members of the public is to ensure that we take advantage of this opportunity to identify September 27th as World Dense Breast Tissue Day, so that members of the public will have the information, the knowledge, the power that Nancy Cappello thought they were entitled to all those years ago.

And as we have discussed previously (so I won't speak at quite substantial length today) this is information that patients need to have. They are now entitled to have it by law.  That entitlement is in large measure, a function of the fact that Nancy Cappello took her own life experience and said others should have more power, more knowledge, more ability to affect the decision making in their own healthcare. For this, we are a better state, a better county, and in fact a better nation by virtue of her work.

Joe, if you were here, I would have you up to the podium and I would hand you the physical commendation. But by virtue of our virtual connection today, I will virtually present it to you and we will send you the physical commendation and I hope it will find a place at “Are You Dense?”. 

I'm guessing that your screen-? It doesn't reveal it, but I am wearing on my lapel the “Are You Dense?” button which I wore all those years ago when I was privileged to work with Nancy and the organization on California law. With that, Madam President, I say thank you to our board, and to my colleagues for their support on this measure and through the chair. With your permission, I'd like to give Mr. Cappello an opportunity to say a brief word or two.

Guest Speaker: JOE CAPPELLO
Well, thank you, Senator. As I said before, it's a real pleasure. I finally got to meet the other Joe in Nancy's life. And believe me, she always had kind words to say about you, and you were always a standup guy. You were the one that she could count on for honesty and truthfulness when we were doing our legislative work in California.  What we have now is a disclosure law, which is a national law, which will take effect a year from now.  This is huge step for the health of women all over this nation. What it's going to do is standardize (diagnostic care) in the medical field for women with dense breasts. I thank you in the name of Nancy for the proclamation. She deserves it all. She worked hard and worked smart. She was not only prettier than me, <laugh>, but smarter than me. And, I thank you on her behalf. I appreciate that. Thank you.

Thank you, Joe Cappello.  Thanks to "Are You Dense?" And thank you Madam President. We appreciate the work.

The Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Clara, CA regularly meets in the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, County Government Center, 70 West Hedding Street, San Jose. Regular meetings are held on designated Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. The Board also holds regular meetings for the purpose of adjourning into Closed Session on Mondays at 2:00 p.m., which may be combined with meetings scheduled for the presentation of ceremonial items to be heard at 4:00 p.m.

Original airing: 10/2021 



Dr. Noelle Cutter drives the spirit of Dr. Nancy Cappello's mission for early cancer detection for women with dense breasts alongside Dr. Robert Bard's dense breast screening pilot program (8/27-29) - and the global pursuit to expand current screening standards.

What Does It Mean to Have Dense Breasts?

A mammogram shows how dense your breasts are. When you get the results of your mammogram, you may also be told if your breasts have low or high density. Women with dense breasts have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.

A woman’s breast has three kinds of tissue: FIBROUS TISSUE holds the breast tissue in place.  GLANDULAR TISSUE is the part of the breast that makes milk, called the lobes, and the tubes that carry milk to the nipple, called ducts. Together, fibrous and glandular tissue are called fibroglandular tissue.  FATTY TISSUE fills the space between the fibrous tissue, lobes, and ducts. It gives the breasts their size and shape.

BREAST CANCER RISK: Women with dense breasts have a higher chance of getting breast cancer. The more dense your breasts are, the higher your risk. Scientists don’t know for sure why this is true. Breast cancer patients who have dense breasts are not more likely to die from breast cancer than patients with non-dense (fatty) breasts.

7/8/2021- A wave of recognized medical sites, journals and reports  are now indicating that dense breast tissue increases the risk of developing breast cancer and often masks a tumor from being seen on the mammogram since dense tissue is white and cancerous tissue is also white. Mammograms are the standard screening test for breast cancer, however, in the 21st Century, ultrasound non invasive imaging is the preferred exam for dense “lumpy” mammary disease.   The 1st World Conference of Breast Ultrasound in Philadelphia (1979) recognized ultrasound superiority in dense breast diagnostics but the density level was never quantified until recently. Mammography assessment of breast density is graded into four categories. Mammographers readily admit that these levels are subjective at best and technical factors such as mammary tissue compression and x-ray voltage/amperage dramatically influence the darkness or whiteness of the image.


Written by: Dr. Robert L. Bard

Decades since the advent of breast scanning technology, innovations in non-invasive diagnostic imaging provide new options in the field of early detection. These technologies directly align with breast density screening (and are part of the Bard Breast Density Diagnostic Program) include:

• Doppler blood flow
• Contrast enhanced ultrasound vascularity 
• 3D Vessel Density Histogram 
• 4D Volumetric Density Histogram
• Strain and shear wave tissue Elastography 
• 3T MRI 
• Optical Computed Tomography (OCT) for nipple lesions
• Reflectance Confocal Microscopy (RCM)  for dermal invasion
• Hybrid Mammo Imaging Fusion
 Trans Illumination
 Near Infrared Specroscopy

Hybrid imaging refers to combining diagnostic modalities to assess disease and monitor therapy. A useful combination of options is the tumor vessel flow density to assess aggression and treatment progress. Similarly, tissue elastography is useful for border detection of malignant masses.



HOW EFFECTIVE ARE STRATEGIES TO LOWER PSA READINGS?   By: Dr. Roberta Kline PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, is a protein produced by pros...