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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The Smoking Reaper

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Worried about the potential health damages cigarettes might do to him, my father quit smoking a couple years ago. Before his abstinence, he had been smoking for over a decade. Cigarettes were a major category of his life for all those years, but he still abandoned it steadfastly. Why? Because smoking kills. 

Many are unaware of the damages that come with smoking, whereas the others are unable to stop smoking. As a hobby, people don’t see the harm; as an addiction, people find it hard to abstain from. How is cigarette-smoking such a bad thing? To begin with, smoking jeopardizes your health, the health of the people around you, and the health of the planet. 

If you were a smoker, smoking cigarettes can induce lung diseases by damaging the airways and the alveoli located in your lungs. The regeneration in your lungs is slow and according to the studies of stem cells in the past few years, there is little to no effective way to regenerate lost bronchioles or alveoli in humans. Smoking damages your lungs while you have little chance to regrow.

Nicotine is a major part in the making of cigarettes. The nicotine-intake from cigarettes decreases the amount of oxygen your heart gets and elevates your heart rate. More stress is put on your heart because of smoking. That’s how smoking induces heart diseases. However, that’s not all cigarettes bring you, they also bring death.

The statistics speak volume. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), more than 1 in 10 deaths worldwide from Cardiovascular Diseases in 2000 were attributed to smoking. “Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States,” the CDC stated. 

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In total, diseases that can be caused by cigarette-smoking are: lung cancer, heart diseases, strokes, aortic aneurysm, oropharyngeal cancer, esophageal cancer, diabetes… There are many other symptoms triggered by smoking. However, it’s not just the smoker that’s affected by smoking, secondhand smoke kills as well.

According to the CDC, More than 41,000 people die in a year because of secondhand smoke exposure. All these people are going to be gone because there is a smoker in the office, in the hallway, or in the family. You are slowly killing your family if you smoke next to them!

Cigarette smoking also leads to environmental pollution as it releases pollutants into the atmosphere. The cigarette butts are littered everywhere—you would often see them on the ground. The leftover chemicals in cigarettes would also seep into the ground or waterways, inducing further pollutions. By the way, cigarettes can also be an environmental hazard as smokers often fail to put out cigarette thoroughly. When they dump the still lit cigarette butts on the ground, it’s a dangerous fire hazard. In a report from the Los Angles Times, on Nov. 8, 2018, a wild fire in California killed 85 people when it ripped the Butte County apart. 

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In my eyes, smokers are reapers. They come not with a sickle, but with the smoke that chokes, with a fire that burns. If you are one of them, listen to me: the one that’s eventually get reaped is yourself.

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The Coffee Dilemma

Many people prefer beginning their day with a cup of coffee. One of the most famous coffee shops in the world would be Starbucks. To some people, nothing really compares with fueling themselves with warmth and energy with a tasty drink. However, it’s proven that coffee causes cancer. 

I went to a Starbucks shop last week and discovered a notice sign that put me in shock. The notice sign’s title was “Proposition 65 Warning” and it indicates the existence of acrylamide in coffee, baked goods and other products of Starbucks. 

Acrylamide is an organic compound that’s often found in food where sugar or amino acid is present. The American Cancer Society have stated that acrylamide is likely to be a carcinogen—a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue. Although it is also mentioned that dietary acrylamide is unlikely to induce cancer, the fact that it has the potential to be a carcinogen panics many. Starbucks claim that their products are without acrylamide at first, whereas it’s the process of baking them that leads to its existence. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t risk my health for coffee.

It is indeed a dilemma, that coffee-drinkers should either forgo the beverage they enjoy for health or drink for pleasure. Whilst we should indulge in the joy of consuming coffee sometimes (which is the drink some of us need to survive), our health weighs much more. So, it is necessary for us to find a balance in what we put in our bodies. The coffee dilemma isn’t much of a dilemma when you side with health.

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Drink Water, Live Longer

I love Diet Pepsi. If I order a food delivery, a 2-liter Diet Pepsi will definitely be in it. But lately, I’ve announced farewell to it. 

Looking at a can of Diet Pepsi, it’s the word “Diet” that will capture your eyes. It means no sugar is in Pepsi. In other words, Diet Pepsi has zero-calories. It means you can feel guilt-free when drinking a can of soda, it means you can drink ten cans of Diet Pepsi and still stay in shape… but it also means cancer.

Cancer? Yes, cancer. Like I said, Diet Pepsi is sugar-free. However, the Pepsi company replaces the sugar with a kind of sweetener called aspartame. Studies on aspartame have shown that the use of aspartame can increase the chance for an individual to get blood-related cancers. 

On the Diet Pepsi company’s response to the studies on aspartame was replacing aspartame with other non-sugar sweeteners. This alone shows the dangers aspartame triggers. However, most Diet Pepsi I see out there still state the use of aspartame. While I’m no professional in studying sweeteners or the soda industry, I do care about my own longevity. And honestly, even if they use another kind of sweetener in soda, I don’t think I can trust its safety anymore. That’s why I’ve decided to stay off the product.

Looking at all those soda cans, with labels like “sugar-free,” “caffeine-free” or “aspartame-free”… I have a question for all of us—why not just free yourself by drinking water? 

Drink water, live longer.

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The Fight Must Go On

The night was pitch black. The minimal stars sitting up high in the sky only served as a reminder that we were still in the universe, and the distant street lights and sounds of passing cars were muted while walking across the field.

The grass was cold against my bare feet, and I held the neon pink glow stick inside my shaking hand as every single memory of my fifth and sixth grade years came back to me.

I wasn’t the only one there who had these memories rush into my head. Everyone who had cracked open the glow-stick had something about cancer to remember.

The whole field was silent. The occasional sniffle could be heard, and the tear stained cheeks were inevitable to avoid the longer you walked in silence.

The longer I walked, the more memories rushed into my head, and the more memories eventually made me break down.

I never enjoyed crying in front of people, and normally I don’t. I cry alone, because I’ve always hated crying in front of people and feeling pitied for my tears. But I was surrounded by so many people, and when I knew I wasn’t the only one crying, I didn’t hold the tears back anymore.

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I never had cancer, but the speaker last night was right. In a way, when a loved one gets cancer, it consumes you too. It affects you too. It takes up your mind and heart. My father got cancer, and it killed a part of me too when it killed him.

Cancer is the deadliest weapon of all.

It’s the cause of the pang in your heart when you first find out they were diagnosed.

It’s the weeks spent in hospital waiting room during examinations and testing.

Then there’s the news that the cancer is gone. You think they’re finally safe, until the cancer fights back, and it comes back worse and worse, until it eventually takes over and kills.

It’s weeks of watching the life in the eyes of your friends or family fade away. When they go from being healthy, lively souls, to being trapped in their beds with no energy to get out.

It’s the fight that soon becomes too hard to keep continuing.

The consequence of cancer isn’t always death, but it’s the long suffering before it.

Not every cancer story ends with a cure.

Not every cancer story ends in a peaceful death.

In fact, most of them don’t. The cancer eats up everything. It eats up their health, and their happiness, and their motivation until all there is left is remnants of hope and loved ones close trying to help continue the fight for them.

But that was what the walk was for. We were fighting for those who couldn’t fight anymore. I was fighting for my dad who was hoping for a cure, and didn’t get one. Who didn’t win the fight. Every year I walk with survivors, caretakers, and friends to continue the fight, so that one day, the war against cancer will finally be won.

Just A Thought

Every day when I wake up, I find myself thinking about things that may be important to me at that moment; if my hair is straight, how my skin looks or if my outfit is figure-flattering… but in all honesty, all of this is irrelevant.

We spend so much time focused on the things that make us temporarily happy like looking skinny or driving a nice car or having the most likes on an Instagram picture, but why does any of this matter? What is the purpose?

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy social media and feeling confident and purchasing nice things, but what REALLY matters? That is my question.

I feel like we focus too much on the superficial, rather than the necessary.

I am speaking from watching family members and friends suffer through the horrifying effects of cancer, Crohn’s, and Alzheimer’s, not through personal experience of these diseases; but when your health, your life, your comfort is threatened, all of those factors change.

You begin to focus on your comfort, your happiness, your health… unfortunately, the reality check came because of the diagnosis of an illness, but that’s when you start to realize what is sincerely important.

I experienced a drastic change in my health two years ago after I experienced a surgical complication, and I remember how things changed.

For a while after that surgery, I remained in a mood of distress, in constant physical pain. But through this, I was able to realize how strong my primal instincts were; I remember those feelings dynamically, and they will never escape me.

After reading an article surrounding the effects of cancer earlier this evening, I remembered how I felt then and reevaluated how lucky I am now.

This article hit me right in that spot that nobody wants to be touched, the one where your throat swells and your eyes throb and you breathe deeply to stop the emotions you are feeling from consuming you.

Now when I wake up in the morning, I will look at myself and think about how lucky I am to be alive, to be healthy, to be eating my breakfast, to have a family, to have a roof over my head, and to have each of the opportunities before me that I do.

I am happy, I am healthy, I feel terrific.

 

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Cheese Cures Cancer?

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To brie, or not to brie may no longer be the question.

Everything these days seems to cause cancer.

Alcohol, meat, air fresheners, candles, art supplies, shampoos, conditioners, and even sunscreen.

Yes, sunscreen. The thing that is supposed to save you from the harmful rays of the sun and the secret to beautiful skin may slowly be killing all of us…Yay!

But eating good ol’ sharp cheddar or a nice gouda perhaps may help cure cancer.

The “tasty mold” may end up kicking cancers booty because of the nisin in cheese

Don’t know what nisin is? Well basically it is a natural food preservative that grows in dairy products.

This natural preservative has been shown to help battle cancer and other lethal bacteria when given to mice.

Now this theory is still in the testing stages, but it does sound PARMmising.

 

 

 

 

A Big, Calming Hug

It happens in an instant,

the moment they become distant.

Each memory merely a snapshot,

frozen in your mind.

Smile for the picture,

a big, calming hug goodbye,

no more little tears left to cry.

Now there are only real tears,

the ones that come from your biggest fears,

the ones that leave you empty,

a body heaving for air,

for love,

for a nice, calming hug.

No.

There are no more reassuring words,

from the one that makes your whole world.

No more smiles as you bite into your freshly baked cookie,

no more cheers on the soccer field,

no more hugs when you’re sad,

no more hugs when you’re glad,

no more,

no more.

Is it nice to miss class when you want?

Is it nice to get “mental health days?”

WHAT THE HECK.

It is NOT nice to have to miss class to see a therapist,

to talk about “feelings” and ways to help your crippling anxiety,

when missing class causes even more stress,

then being there.

It is NOT nice to stay in bed gasping for air,

tears everywhere,

in your hair,

eyes,

pillow,

sheets.

It is NOT nice to lose a parent to cancer.

It is NOT nice to hear your condolences.

Don’t think of yourself as a hero for saying “sorry.”

Don’t fling around a word you don’t mean.

Don’t tell me you know how I’m feeling.

JUST LEAVE.

I don’t want a hug,

not from you.

I only want a big, calming hug.

If only I had the person here to give it to me.null

Time Limit

When you really stop and think about it there is a time limit on everything. Homework assignments, projects, childhood, innocence, love, and even life. Most people don’t stop and think about having a limit on things that seem so long-term until they are forced to.

My godfather Leon was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer back in 2010. When I first heard he was sick I was shocked and over come with a million different emotions. I never thought that someone so kind-hearted and eternally generous would be punished with such a terrible curse.

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I was in a state of denial when my parents told me he was sick. The first time I saw him after he had started treatment was heart breaking. He was so thin, so tired and so weak.

Eventually the cancer spread and he had to get surgery. The surgery that he had been on his thyroid.

All of the memories I had with him, Leon always had a beard. The first time I ever saw him without one was after his surgery. In place of his beard was a scar reaching from the left side of his throat to the right side. While that surgery scarred Leon on the outside, it seemed as if his personality and courage  weren’t scarred at all.

After undergoing numerous rounds of radiation and chemo and going to doctors appointments after doctors appointments we had to accept that there is no cure.

Most people would just give up after this, saying that they have nothing else to live for, but not Leon. Throughout this terrible experience he has been the so optimistic. I have never heard him complain about his time limit.

If I could sum my godfather, Leon Azis, up into one word it would be: inspiration. To see someone who is so close to your heart go through that and not give up hope and to be so strong is unbelievably inspiring and amazing.

All I can do now is cherish the time that I have left with him and not focus on the limited amount of time, and just appreciate the time I’ve been lucky enough to have with him.

RELAY FOR LIFE!!!

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.