[POLL] Are You Taking Proper Care Of Yourself?

A number of women we know make all their critical doctor’s appointments during the same week every year. That way, they don’t worry about forgetting any of them. “Time passes so quickly nowadays that one year I completely neglected to see the dermatologist,” a FOFriend told us.

Please take a couple of minutes to answer the health poll below, and we’ll report back on how you compare with other members of the FabOverFifty community when it comes to taking care of yourself. (more…)

8 Important Medical Tests For FOF Women

Most of us have self-consciously slipped our bare feet into the metal contraptions on the gynecologist’s examining table, year in and year out, for our annual PAP smears. At last, we don’t have to go through this female ritual quite so often. Read on to find out why, and to learn what other female-specific medical tests we need to do, and how often.

FabOverFifty got the lowdown from one of our favorite doctors, Alyssa Dweck, who specializes in treating menopausal and postmenopausal women.

1. PAP SMEARS

“This is all the rage right now in regards to changes in guidelines. The Pap smear can now be done as infrequently as every three to five years in women 30 and older who’ve had normal Pap smears for a while.  The test for Human Papillomavirus (HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical cancer) is performed simultaneously.  Most women over 65 years old no longer need Pap smears since the risk for cervical cancer is quite low for women in this demographic. (more…)

Dancing A “Tango” With Cancer

Apryl Allen and her husband Ken are sitting in the doctor’s office, anxiously expecting to hear the results of the pathology report following surgery for Apryl’s breast cancer.

After having her vital signs checked, Apryl learns the doctor is on vacation, and that the nurse practitioner will convey the results. As if this news isn’t disconcerting enough (Apryl assiduously made the appointment for the day of his return), Apryl and Ken wait for 30 minutes, and the nurse practitioner is nowhere in site.

“Ken, I’ll give it another 10 minutes. If no one shows up I’m going to get someone,” Apryl says.

“No, I will get someone,” Ken says, disgusted. “It felt as if we were captives awaiting our fate in this macabre cell while eternity passed,” Apryl writes in her riveting new book, A Tango With Cancer, My Perilous Dance with Healthcare & Healing.What follows is one of the most powerful scenes in the book, epitomizing the impersonal, imperious, often-callous treatment Apryl experiences throughout her ordeal with her potentially deadly disease. A Tango should be required reading, not only for any woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer, but for every woman.

This isn’t a how-to-survive-breast-cancer-guide. It isn’t a 300-page pep talk on having a positive attitude when you’re facing a serious illness (although that’s definitely part of it.) And it isn’t a tug-at-your-heartstrings tale.

It’s an intimate, chronological accounting of Apryl’s journey, starting the day she gets her revealing mammogram in mid-2013, through her challenging experiences with medical bills and insurance companies, countless doctors and their cohorts, surgery and drugs. And, even if her book’s stark realism isn’t uplifting, Apryl is downright skillful–and inspiring– in the way she maneuvers the dispassionate healthcare system to get the treatment and information she absolutely needs to defend herself during her battle.

“The fight against cancer isn’t necessarily limited to eradicating it from your body; too often it continues with the very system that’s supposed to heal us.” Apryl believes. Apryl’s unpretentious, yet beautifully descriptive, writing conveys her emotions every step of the way, from her intense fear as she enters the massive MRI machine, to her frustration when she can’t reach a medical professional on the phone, and her sheer joy when she learns she may not need traditional chemotherapy.

Apryl calls her breast cancer nodule Jorge and her one cancerous lymph node is Lymph-Along-Kid. She also cleverly names every doctor, rather than use their real names and titles. Her radiologist is Breast Investigator; her surgeon is Medicine Woman; her family physician is Dr. KnowItAll and her first oncologist is Mad Scientist. These wonderful names help bring to life all the players in her drama.

By the time I finished Tango, I felt as if Apryl was my friend, but I wanted to talk to her “in person” to ask her a few questions.

8 Skin Conditions That Pop Up After You Turn 45

Named a 2016 top doctor by Castle Connolly, the esteemed publisher, Dr. Jessica J. Krant practices as a dermatologic surgeon at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. She is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology and has provided medical and cosmetic dermatology for 13 years.

Dr. Krant is a fellow at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), and a member of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) as well as the Women’s Dermatologic Society. (more…)

What You Should Know About Skin Cancer

As summer approaches, it’s a good time to take a good look at your skin, especially since 20% percent of Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Anyone can get skin cancer. People with fair skin as well as men over the age of 50 are at a higher risk than the general population. “When my dad died of melanoma at 69, it was a huge wake-up call for me to take care of my skin,” says Geri Brin, founder of FabOverFifty.com. “Now, I always make sure my family and I have our yearly skin checks, or go to the dermatologist in-between if I see something new pop up. I encourage all women to keep an eye on their skin and their husbands’ skin, who may have been less inclined to use sunscreen over the decades.”

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Here’s what you should know about the four most common types of skin cancer and how you can reduce your risk:

actinic-keratosis-landing.jpgActinic Keratoses (AK) are dry, scaly patches or spots which are precancerous growths. AK is generally found on fair-skinned people, following decades of sun exposure, especially on their head, neck, hands and forearms.. AK usually starts appearing after a person turns 40, and  can develop into a more serious type of skin cancer, called squamous cell carcinoma, if left untreated.divider
basal_cell_carcinoma_landing.jpgBasal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer and looks like a flesh-colored, pearl-like bump or a pinkish patch of skin. “BCC can invade the surrounding tissue and grow into the nerves and bones, causing damage and disfigurement,” according to the AAD.divider
Squamous-cell-carcinoma_landing.jpgSquamous cell carcinoma (SCC) appears as a red firm bump, scaly patch, or a sore that heals and then re-opens. It can also grow deep in the skin, causing damage and disfigurement. Early diagnosis is key,  before the cancerous cells spread to other parts of the body.divider
melanoma_landing.jpgMelanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and frequently develops in a mole or suddenly appears as a new dark spot on the skin. Learn the ABCDE warning signs for melanoma by visiting the AAD’s site here.divider
There are simple steps you can take to protect your skin from the sun and reduce your risk of skin cancer. The AAD recommends seeking shade whenever possible, wearing sun-protective clothing, and applying a water-resistant broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT

More than 8,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, and one person dies from melanoma every hour.

“Given my family’s history with skin cancer, I’m always on the lookout for new moles and bumps,” says Geri. “That being said, dermatologists can see things I may not notice, so I always visit at least once a year for a skin check. AAD is currently offering free SPOTme® Skin Cancer screenings and through the summer, so make sure you and your family go find a screening as soon as possible. Don’t wait until it’s too late!”


Skin cancer is treatable if caught early. As part of the AAD’s “Looking Good in 2016” campaign, they want you to make sure your skin is “looking good” by checking it for the signs of skin cancer. Their new “Looking Good” PSA uses humor to encourage men over 50 to regularly check their skin and find a partner to help. If you see any new or suspicious spot on your or your loved ones’ skin, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist. Find out here where you can get a free SPOTme® Skin Cancer screening in your area. Visit the AAD’s site here and let them know what motivates you to check your skin for the signs of skin cancer.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of American Academy of Dermatology. The opinions and text are all mine.

What You Should Know This Melanoma Monday

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Here’s what you should know–and do–to reduce your risk.

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[GIVEAWAY] Start Your Day With Super Foods!

DISCLOSURE: We received product and additional compensation from Institute for Vibrant Living in exchange for writing this post to help promote the Feel Younger, Be Vibrant campaign. The opinions of the products mentioned in this post are our own. Any results we experienced from using these products are our own.

You’ve probably heard the term ‘superfoods,’ but do you know how they can really help you?
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Superfoods are greens and fruits packed with vital minerals to help detoxify your body, reduce your risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and much more. Think tomatoes, blueberries, broccoli, kale, pomegranate, and pineapple.
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Bringing Nutrition To The Forefront Of Cancer Care

When Lillian Ferraro was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, her loving family of three children and five grandchildren sprung into action to get her the best medical treatment possible. Besides the surgery and continual therapies over nine years, Mamma Ferraro had therapy of another kind: Nourishing and tasteful meals, specially created for her by her chef son, Michael, that “spoke to” the many horrible symptoms of  her disease, including fat intolerance, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, severe gas and bloating, and periodic diarrhea. Happily, this allowed her to continue to enjoy meals with her wonderful family. “We wanted to serve food we would all love to eat so my mother didn’t feel left out,” Michael said.

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“Yes, Mrs. Durban, you have cancer.”

By Pauline Durban

December, 2006

2006… what a year! I reunited with my dad, from whom I had been estranged for 35 years (another story for another time), and I discovered a lump in my left breast! I was 50 years old.

I did a self-examination at least once a month, but this time I found a lump. People often ask me how I knew it was a ‘bad’ lump, since our breasts are full of lumps. Believe me, you can tell the difference.

It was December, and I was getting ready for a trip to England to spend Christmas with my family. What to do? I guess I will put it on hold, I thought, and revisit it when I get back. After all, it’s only a small lump, and I’m sure it’s nothing.

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The Scariest Cancer of Them All

Although ovarian cancer is uncommon, it scares us more than many other cancers because it usually doesn’t show discernible symptoms until it’s in an advanced stage, when there may be little to no hope for cure. Even though other cancers also don’t exhibit warning signs until their later stages—colon cancer, for example—screening tests can catch and treat them earlier and more successfully. Unfortunately, there’s no good screening test for ovarian cancer.

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