Does shampoo cause cancer?

We use shampoo in our everyday life. “Dove,” “Head & Shoulders,” “Suave…” There are over 10 categories of different shampoo, but often times we’d use shampoo without investigating what we’re actually putting on our head. 

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Cocamide diethanolamine, or cocamide DEA, is a kind of emulsifying agent used in the making of shampoo products. According to the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), cocamide DEA is an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, which means it has the potential of causing cancer. 

However, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has declared that there is no need to worry. In a document that gets updated only when needed, and hasn’t been updated since the March of 2018, it says “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be alarmed based on the use of these substances in cosmetics” because the NTP‘s (National Toxicology Program) study result in 1998 didn’t find a connection between DEA and cancer. Plus, if the customers still want to avoid using carcinogen-related products, they can do it simply by “reviewing the ingredient statement that is required to appear on the outer container label.” 

So, it would be overreacting to panic. Nevertheless, checking the ingredient statement of the products that we eat, use, spray, and wash with, is indeed important. We use shampoo everyday, but do you check what you use, everyday?

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Relay for Life is an extremely amazing event sponsored by the American Cancer Society. I have gone to if for the past 2 years, and I was looking forward to this years event. I had been counting down the days to Relay for Life for a while, and I was so excited when it finally came.

In the weeks leading up to RFL, I had been trying to raise money for the cause and needed $100 to participate in the overnight portion. So, I asked all of my family and friends and within just about a week, I raised the money that I needed. Overall, out school team raised $3,210! I thought that was pretty amazing. For that, we received a Bronze Medal award which means that we were a very valuable contributor.

I left early with my friend Evan to help set up our booth on Buena Ventura High School‘s track/football field. We decorated our booth with colorful paper flowers in support of this years “fiesta” theme, due to Cinco de Mayo. We also had a lot of colorful posters and other decorations. We sold these paper flowers, ceramic mugs & bowls, and auctioned off themed baskets including chocolate, beach, spa, and movie themes, in order to raise more money for the American Cancer Society.

At our booth, we had a lot of fun costumes and hats, and all of the students that came to support the cause dressed up in ridiculous outfits including banana suits and Dr. Seuss attire and walked laps. There was live music, fun games, and many cool and informative booths to visit, with anything from face painting to a bike auction.

In last year’s event, a couple who were cancer survivors had their wedding right on the field. It was a very special event and meant a lot to them. This year, sadly, the man’s cancer has returned. Fortunately, he was able to show up at the event with his wife, and it was very inspirational. He was walking around and having a good time. It was great to see all of the support they had from people at the event and I’m so glad they were able to come this year.

After dinner time, and after returning from a Battle of the Bands contest at Thacher school, my friend Wendy and I returned to the track to walk in the night portion of the event. There were a lot less people walking during the night, and it was very tiring. There were only 5 of us, until at about 12 o’clock, another faculty member and her boyfriend showed up to help us out. I think throughout the night, we managed to keep at least 1 member of our team on the track. Wendy and I took naps in hour increments, but it was too cold to actually sleep, and we would get up from time to walk some laps and warm ourselves up.

It was a very great experience. The Luminaria lit up around the track were very inspirational and a reminder that there have been so many people effected by cancer. It kept me walking and helped me realize how lucky I am to not have been effected too harshly by this disease, and also the importance of the support I was giving to this event.

Overall, the event was really great and I am so glad I have had these last 3 years to support a great cause. Hopefully, with all the money raised through all the Relay for Life events, more progress will be made in order to minimize the devastating effects of cancer and help find a cure. I am proud to say that was part of the OVS team. We did such a great job and I hope we continue this effort in the years to come.

Ojai Valley School continues to Relay

In the past two years, I have been one of the many students from Ojai Valley School to attend an amazing event called Relay for Life. It is sponsored by the American Cancer Society to raise people’s awareness and fight against cancer in a fun and community-oriented event.

When I first signed up to attend the Relay for Life event at Buena High school in Ventura, I had no idea what it was about. But within no time, there were hundreds of people and tents set up all around the track with different information, games, prizes, raffles, and live music as well. Everyone was walking or running around the track, and it was a great feeling to see all of these dedicated people in once place.

All of the teams, including the OVS team, raises money ahead of time to donate to the American Cancer Society to help research. Last year, our school raised over $5,000, earning us the Silver award, which means we donated in the middle category of high-level contributors. Although OVS is a little school, we are still mighty. Donating $5,000 is such an amazing contribution that I never could have even imagine for us.

This year, OVS is in the game once again – we even have our own Ojai Valley School page on the Relay for Life website where there is information and an opportunity to donate to this great cause. (Click on the link to go to the page)

Personally, I absolutely CANNOT WAIT for the Relay for Life event this year. It has been an amazing experience in the past, and I’m sure we can contribute just as much if not more this time. So far, we have $50 worth of donations, but I know how supportive our school will be and the donations will grow greatly over time. If money isn’t an option, anyone can contribute by attending the event and walking, running, or just being there to support. The first year was great, the second was even better, and I’m looking forward to a flat out amazing time this year.

I highly encourage everyone to check out the Relay for Life website and our school’s personal page and help support the fight against cancer!

Relay for Life 2011

null“I ran the whole night!” said my roommate, Amit Pandya, as he walked in our room after he has stayed overnight at Buena High School. Many students from OVS have participated in Relay for Life which is held at Buena High School on 5/15. The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is an event that gives everyone a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember ones lost, and fight back against the disease. Last year, I ran for our teacher, Mr. V, and so does every student from OVS. This year, Mr. V wears a purple t-shirt, which is for the survivors. However, this year I ran for my aunt, who just found out she has stage 4 cancer few months ago. Several of OVS students have decided to stay overnight to keep running and support the American Cancer Society. Amit said that he has run over 100 laps last night, and played lacrosse, and sung karaoke with his friends. Because of the passion of these participants, we got the award for the most spirited team. Although I don’t get a chance next year to participate in this event, I will keep supporting my aunt to fight against the disease, and so do other people who have family, friends, and people who they loved are suffering from cancer.

Why Do We Relay?

It’s 10:01 pm. Kai, Lucy, and myself are walking on the desert red track at Buena High School. While the senior Lacrosse players have only just arrived, Lucy and I have been walking, dancing, and celebrating for 13 hours. But, we still have 11 more to go.

It started with the survivor lap and when our beloved John Valenzuela circled to the first strait-a-way an eruption of applause broke out from our booth. And as he smiled and put his hand to his heart in appreciation tears began to fall. Mr. V is our survivor.

Then there was wedding. A 5 year survivor was given the chance to marry the love of his life. Tons of ladies in dresses joined in and led the bride’s path to the alter. As they exchanged vows hearts were lifted in the celebration of their chance to live a long life of happiness. He is her survivor.

After numerous laps honoring cowboys, the 80’s, and siamese twins there came the luminaria ceremony. Hundreds of lights shined representing the battles fought by millions. As the names of the lost and the loved showed on the big screen yet more tears came. We sat in silence.

For some the walk is for their mothers and sisters. For others it is for their sons and daughters. For me the walk is for my great aunt, my great grandmother, and my mom’s sister who is a childhood cancer survivor. If you were there you knew who the relay was for. For Dad, for a 13 month old baby girl, for Krista.

Relay for Life is not just a fund raiser for cancer research. It’s a celebration. It’s not a time to grieve but a time to give respect and celebrate life.

OVS relayed for Mr. V and celebrated and continue to celebrate his life. A life that he was given a second chance to live, alongside so many other lives because of the support of their family and community. We relayed. We walked. We celebrated. We fought.

A Relay Lost

Next month, OVS will be participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at Buena High School in Ventura. I, for one, am very excited to see our school be so involved in something that could quite possibly change one in five of our lives in the future. I cannot wait to see people of all different worlds join together to fight one of the biggest killers today and have fun while doing it. To top it all off, this will be the first cancer-related cause I have attended, and I’m quite nervous. I’ve always avoided them because I have a problem confronting what has thoroughly turned my life upside down more than once and stolen the one person who, above all, meant the world to me.

My mom was a remarkable woman. Standing at 5’10 with tight curls the color of embers she wasn’t a woman you could easily forget. She fought for what she believed in and would seldom take no for an answer, which only made her all the more admirable to all that met her. We were all shocked when the news finally reached us. My mom had ovarian cancer and had up to two years to live.

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(My mom second from the right)

How could someone so strong let cancer take a hold of her?

For three months her body deteriorated from a combination of chemotherapy and the cancer itself to a frail shell of a woman with only one spot of her once fiery hair barely holding on. A woman who had once stood so tall and who was so outspoken was confined to a wheelchair and an oxygen mask at all times. It was at that time I was taken to go live with my dad after living practically my whole childhood with my mom.

No more than four months after her diagnosis I was called into the hospital to see my mom propped up onto a hospital bed unconscious and on a morphine drip. My heart must had fallen through the floor and my stack through the roof. This was my mother. A once divine and beautiful woman was spending the last few moments of life in a lifeless shell. How could something do this to her?

This disease, this cancer had taken everything from her. It had taken everything from me. A perfectly good woman was drained of everything and left to suffer, and left those around her to suffer. No one meant as much to me as my mom did. She was my only friend and the only person I could talk to, that I can still talk to. For ten years she served as my idol, now seven years later she serves as my inspiration.

Cancer isn’t just a disease that affects one person, it affects everyone around that person. It’s ruthless and merciless and won’t stop at anything once it grabs a strong enough hold of you. If there’s any way to help those who suffer from it, or have been closely affected by someone who suffers from it, it’s to get the word out. Cancer kills. Help others, help yourself.