A Single Test That Can Save Your Life

This blog post was written by FabOverFifty thanks to a sponsorship by Genomic Health.

Diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer 13 years ago, Susan Bakken had a lumpectomy and a sentinel node biopsy, which thankfully revealed that the cancer hadn’t spread. Although nothing indicated that Susan required any other treatment, she still wanted to have a genomic test– Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score–that would predict her risk for distant cancer recurrence, and whether she’d actually benefit from chemotherapy.

Susan had serendipitously heard about the Oncotype DX test through a friend of a friend who knew someone who worked at Genomic Health, the company that created it! Despite the fact that Susan’s mother–herself a breast cancer survivor– couldn’t fathom why her daughter would have such a test, 59-year-old Susan thought “why wouldn’t I?”

The test results revealed that Susan’s cancer would likely return. “I was at high risk for recurrence, so there was no question that I would go through radiation and chemotherapy, the recommended treatment,” Susan said.  “I didn’t want the cancer to spread.”

The Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test determines the level of activity, within a tumor sample, of 21 specific genes — 16 genes linked to breast cancer and five control genes. The measurement of these genes is calculated to yield an individualized result called a Recurrence Score, which correlates with the likelihood that a woman’s breast cancer will return (distant recurrence), and also predicts whether she is likely to benefit from chemotherapy.  The higher the Recurrence Score, the greater the chances that breast cancer will return, and the more likely she is to benefit from chemotherapy. (more…)

9 Ways To Take Good Care Of Your Body, From Head To Toe

Dear FOFriends: Osteo Bi-Flex® has compensated FabOverFifty for this blog. I assure you that the content is factual and valuable, and all opinions are my own! – Geri Brin


A Japanese company that started selling pedometers in the 1960s called them “manpo-kei,” which meant 10,000-step meter. Subsequent studies confirmed that those of us who take that many steps a day have lower blood pressure, more stable glucose levels and better moods. But, you don’t have to briskly walk precisely 5 miles each day if you’re doing other exercises, say swimming, lifting weights, cycling, or sprinting short distances. Just know that it’s crucial to really get moving. Remember, not like a snail, but energetically.


We lose muscle tone and bone strength the older we get (on average, about 30% of our strength leaves us between the ages of 50 and 70), which can make physical tasks more difficult and taxing on our bodies, even those that used to be second nature. “Exercise” doesn’t mean training for the marathon or an Olympic team. Low-impact, weight-bearing and cardio exercise can help strengthen muscles (and that includes the heart muscle), keep bones strong, and improve joint mobility, explains Dr. Peggy Yih, an internist with the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health in New York. Stronger muscles and bones also make us less vulnerable to falls and debilitating fractures.


You’ll Never Go To Bed Without It. NEVER!

If you have trouble sleeping through the night,  for any reason--anxiety to hot flashes–I urge you to try a product I’ve been using for almost two years that has given me night after night of glorious uninterrupted sleep I could only dream of before. It even worked the few times I had a cup of coffee after dinner; it just took a little longer to get to sleep.

I learned about Sambrosa Sweet Dreams when the brand invited me to try it in the fall of 2015. Now, I order 5 bottles at a time because I NEVER want to be without it. Vann Duke, my trainer, loves Sambrosa, too, and he won’t dare put anything into his healthy body unless the ingredients get his stamp of approval!


I’ve had sleep problems since my mid 30s, when I’d pop up in the wee hours of the morning and toss and turn, unable to get back to bed.

In an effort to deal with my wakefulness, I’ve tried all sorts of plans and potions, from getting up to work at 3 a.m., to the prescription drug Ambien, to over-the-counter liquid melatonin. Ambien knocked me out pretty quickly, but made my sleep fitful, filled my head with weird dreams (weirder than usual!) and left me feeling groggy in the morning. Melatonin takes hours to start working, so you’re out of luck if you don’t remember to take it until you’re ready to retire. (more…)

The First Hearing Aid Designed Especially For Women

This is a “sponsored post.” iHear Medical compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

I understand why our grandmothers concocted lots of excuses, but we shouldn’t have a single reason for not wearing them! Hearing aids may have been unsightly and obtrusive 50 years ago, but they’re anything but today.  Plus, if you still think they cost more than a luxury cruise on the Mediterranean, you’re mistaken!

Now we can buy appealingly small and absolutely first-rate hearing aids for the price of prescription eye glasses. Even better, these little gems, called EVA by iHear, are exclusively made for women, who lose more hearing in the lower and mid frequencies than men.

The EVA-lution!

I’ve been wearing my new EVAs for about six weeks, and they put my previous extremely expensive hearing aids to shame.  They’re smaller, so they’re not noticeable, even though my hair is shorter. They fit more securely, so I don’t have to worry about losing them (I’ve lost at least two hearing aids over the years). They come with an assortment of standard and vented tips in various sizes, so I could choose those that fit most comfortably in my ears.  They’re adjustable, so I can turn them down or up.  That wasn’t an option with my $6,000 hearing aids.

And EVA costs $399 each. I pay more for my prescription eyeglasses with progressive lenses.

These ingenious hearing aids are a fraction of the cost of other premium devices because the average person with typical hearing loss patterns–like I have–can buy them directly online from iHear.  “If you have profound hearing loss, sudden hearing loss, infections or pain in the ear, you should first see your doctor or hearing professional,” advised Adnan Shennib, Founder & CEO of iHear Medical. (more…)

We DO Want To Alarm You!

This is a “sponsored post.” Bay Alarm Medical compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

Remember when President Gerald Ford tripped on the steps as he was exiting Air Force One? The fall took on a humorous life of its own.

Of course, it’s no laughing matter when an older person suffers a serious fall and can’t get to a phone to call for help. It happened to my mother, who flat out refused to wear the pendant around her neck that would call the police, at the press of a button, if she found herself in such a situation.

When I couldn’t reach her one Sunday morning 8 years ago, I went to her apartment, where I found her sprawled out on the floor near her bed in a semi-conscious state. She had apparently grabbed the blanket from the bed to keep herself warm after she fell and couldn’t get up. And there she laid until we arrived. She had broken a hip. She was almost 87 and died a few weeks later, the result of infection following surgery.

Now that I live alone, and go up and down the stairs in my home numerous times a day, I’d feel reassured knowing I could get help if I had an accident and wasn’t near my phone. And for those of you who are lucky enough to still have independent parents, I trust you’d want to do the same for them! Accidents happen. One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the ER for a fall; every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. (more…)

Take Control Of Your Blood Pressure Without Medication

If you’re reading this, chances are you have high blood pressure. As a matter of fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) predicts 90 percent of boomers will develop the chronic health condition, which is reaching epidemic levels around the world.

A whopping 140 million US adults now have elevated blood pressure, reports the American Heart Association. Left uncontrolled, it can lead to stroke, heart attack, hardening of the arteries, kidney disease, and even memory impairment.

Cardiovascular disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, and is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.

If you’re one of the millions living with the potential dangers of high blood pressure, you’ll absolutely want to know about jiaogulan, which the Chinese have been calling “the herb of immortality” for centuries.  It’s completely natural and can dramatically lower your blood pressure!


Meredith Vieira Links Fractures And Postmenopausal Osteoporosis

This post is sponsored by Radius Health, Inc.

A woman I know fell in her apartment from a standing height when she was in her late 50s, and suffered serious bone fractures in one arm that required surgery. She attributed the fall to the slippery floor, which certainly may have been the case. But osteoporosis was the reason her bones broke.

Nearly 1 in 2 women over the age of 50 will suffer some sort of fracture as a result of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis-related fractures also cause more women 55 and older to be hospitalized each year in the US than breast cancer, heart attacks or strokes.  

“It’s high time for women to educate themselves about the warning signs of osteoporosis,” said Meredith Vieira, the Emmy Award-winning talk show host, whose mother developed the disease and who is at risk of developing it herself. Joining forces with Radius Health, Meredith is making bone health a personal priority, and is on a mission for other postmenopausal women to be proactive and make it their priority, too. (more…)

Roll Up Your Sleeve. It’s That Time Again!

Disclosure: I’m proud to be working with CVS Pharmacy to help spread the word about #BetterHealthMadeEasy and how to #FindYourHealthy. All opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers.

I loved my primary care doctor, but it was a nuisance every year to make an appointment for the flu shot, then wait in his jam-packed office. It was nice when drugstores started offering the shots. I could pop in most anytime. Now that flu season is almost here, I plan to get my protection when I make my next run to CVS.

“Flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). And, contrary to what you may have read or heard, it’s not too early to get vaccinated now because it takes about two weeks for your body to develop flu antibodies once you’ve had the shot.

“An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with seasonal flu and spreading it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community,” the CDC website advises. (more…)

What 59% Of Us Are Ignoring!

If so many of us don’t hear as well as we used to, why don’t more of us get our hearing checked? And why do the majority of hearing aid wearers say they’re unhappy with them? Learn how 140 women in the FabOverFifty community responded to this often sensitive issue.

Poll: Your Gynecological Health

This post is sponsored by Cynosure, the distributors of MonaLisa Touch.

Our mothers never talked about IT, but that doesn’t mean it’s off limits to us, too. “IT” means our gynecological health, including the well-being of our vaginas. Truth is, if all isn’t rosy down there, it’s bound to influence how we feel everywhere else.

Sadly, our moms didn’t have options to treat their feminine health issues, but we do. Avoid talking about your concerns, however, and you may never know how to successfully deal with them!

Start now by answering this quick–and anonymous–survey. (more…)