The fight to find a cure
The fight to increase awareness of and find a cure for breast cancer is ongoing.. To support these goals, Rimini Street’s Team Pink and Nancy Lyskawa, Rimini Street EVP of Global Client Onboarding, hosted two webinars featuring speakers from the nonprofit Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) that provided information on the importance of early detection and dietary choices that can help with prevention. Lyskawa is a breast cancer survivor, a board member at LBBC, and a founding member of Team Pink, an internal group at Rimini Street started in 2020 in conjunction with the Rimini Street Foundation that meets quarterly and provides support to Rimini Street employees and families who are battling breast cancer.
Part of Team Pink’s mission is to heighten awareness of breast cancer detection standards and educate on different research-backed findings to help mitigate the disease. In addition to the webinars, Team Pink challenged Rimini Street employees to a fundraiser to show support for breast cancer warriors through a Rimini Pink Pride social media challenge.
Early breast cancer detection and the changing landscape
In the first webinar, Lyskawa spoke with Monica Steigerwald, vice president of LBBC, and Liz Santarsiero, a breast cancer researcher at Novartis Pharmaceuticals and a medical advisory board member for LBBC, on the importance of early breast cancer detection.
Steigerwald noted that the purpose of LBBC is to make sure that people are familiar with what breast cancer is and know they have access to trusted information about the new developments for detection and treatment along with a community support system. “Living Beyond Breast Cancer realized that breast cancer is not just a medical crisis, but it can impact your finances, your emotional health, the way you see yourself physically, and your networking community,” Steigerwald said.
Currently, LBBC has reached over 600,000 people and is supporting them with a breast cancer helpline that individuals can use to connect with another person of a similar age and diagnosis. With this resource, a patient with newly diagnosed breast cancer can build a connection with another person in a similar situation and not feel quite so alone. Beyond personal connections, LBBC offers a community at large and a wealth of information on breast cancer, including its symptoms, different types of breast cancer, testing modalities currently available, and treatment options.
Santarsiero, a current breast cancer researcher and former nurse practitioner who cared directly for cancer patients, noted that breast cancer in women counts for 31% of new cancer cases and 15% of cancer deaths, making it the second leading cause of death among women. But there is hope! According to Santarsiero, 95% of cases are diagnosed as early stage.
“I left clinical practice not because I didn’t want to continue to take care of patients, because I loved my time in clinical care,” offered Santarsiero. “But now working at a very large pharmaceutical company, getting to put input into strategy and research and development, [I can see] there’s so much going on. It’s almost hard to keep up with all the new innovation.”
Such levels of innovation are due in part to breast cancer research being the second-highest-funded cancer program in the United States, Santarsiero noted. She said that from 2010 to 2020, there were 30 new approvals for treatments in the breast cancer space: 26 were granted in the metastatic breast cancer space and four in the early space. With so much innovation, Santarsiero said that it is vital that all patients “advocate for ourselves and the types of tests that we would like done.”
Although there are many uncontrollable risk factors, such as the higher rate of breast cancer in women compared with men, there are some controllable risk factors, such as exercise and diet.
Nutritional strategies to optimize weight, reduce breast cancer
The second Rimini Street webinar focused on nutrition’s important role in reducing the likelihood of breast cancer. Rachel Beller, CEO of Beller Nutritional Institute and board member at LBBC, elaborated on the research that supports the notion that nutrition can influence breast cancer risk. Rather than focusing on the theoretical, Beller felt that it was important to give actionable steps that people could immediately adopt in their daily lives.
“There’s a lot of research and a lot of information out there that it gets really confusing,” Beller said. “My patients tell me they’re hearing so much noise out there with what to do and what not to do. I decided to take all the research and organize it into something that is more of an actionable solution, so that individuals everywhere can have clarity and confidence and feel food freedom.”
One key change that Beller encourages is to ensure you are getting between 30 and 35 grams of fiber daily — an intake that only 3% of Americans achieve. She says fiber is like the “cleanup crew” that keeps your internal systems in tip-top shape. By consuming an adequate amount of fiber, women can help their body manage weight, promote a healthy gut, support immunity, reduce estrogen levels, and balance blood sugars — and, Beller says, women can reduce their cancer risk too.
To hit that 30+ gram mark, Beller provided a few tips:
- Consume 10 grams of fiber intake by noon
- Shore up your foods with fiber boosters, such as basil seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds
- Include plant-based proteins at lunch and dinner, such as sprouted lentils, garbanzo beans, black beans, and high-protein sprouted tofu
Another dietary modification that Beller promotes is adding spices to your meals. She says that there has been an explosion of research into the use of spices as a type of cancer-prevention tactic. In particular, Beller says that spices have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, support gut health, and assist with weight management.
“Here’s an example of how transformative spices can be,” said Beller. “Say you have a bowl of oatmeal that has an antioxidant value of 136. By adding a teaspoon of a spice blend that’s [made of] Ceylon cinnamon, cacao, and turmeric, you’ve transformed that bowl of oatmeal to have an antioxidant value of 1,292.”
Turns out we all do need a little bit more spice in our lives!
Supporting causes at Rimini Street
In addition to the webinars that provided information about breast cancer detection and prevention, teams at Rimini Street were encouraged to draw attention to the cause on their professional social media profiles. Each time a Rimini Street employee shared a photo of themselves proudly wearing something pink with the hashtag #PINKPOWER, tagging @RiminiStreet, the Rimini Street Foundation provided $10 in support of LBBC and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
We were all ready for our @riministreet client conference in Melbourne featuring #pinkpower to raise awareness for #BreastCancer and encourage more #breastscreening. I had the honour to speak with @BreastScreenVic CEO on what drives them to deliver value where it matters. #Pledge pic.twitter.com/8hVldBaSal
— Tania Mushtaq (@tanmushi) October 22, 2022
Investing back into the communities we serve worldwide through in-kind donations, employee time, and financial support are just a few examples of how the Rimini Street Foundation supports humankind and shares our company’s success. Launched in 2015, the Rimini Street Foundation has supported over 350 charities across six continents. In that time, the foundation has supported homeless youth in Nevada and a soup kitchen in Britain and has assisted families with children seeking heart transplants in Brazil, just to name a few of our activities.
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