April Awareness in May & Beyond….

This guest post was written by my very favorite Dental Oncologist Dr. Dennis Abbott of Dental Oncology Professionals of North Texas.   Thank you Dr. Abbott for all you do.  YOU are a rockstar Dr. Abbott! xox***


Yesterday marked the end of Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness Month. It was, perhaps, one of the most active awareness months I have been a part of thus far in my career. There were walks, recipe tastings, free oral cancer screenings, and national media attention for great national and local organizations to raise awareness about the sixth most common cancer. But for those with oral or head and neck cancer, every month is April.

People touched by oral or head and neck cancer must learn to live life with a “new normal.” Things that most of us take for granted like eating, speaking, brushing our teeth, or even smiling become challenging and serve as daily reminders of a disease that forever changes normalcy. A new face or a new voice may greet family, friends, and strangers. Eating out at a favorite restaurant may be embarrassing or even worse, impossible. When once upon a time, leaving home without a watch or a cell phone may have prompted a quick return to the house, now that return visit is necessitated to retrieve the water bottle that sits on the kitchen counter.

Those affected by oral and head & neck cancer do not need stares because surgery has changed their outward appearance. They do not need need prejudice from those who try to deduce why they “got cancer.” And trust me when I tell you, those affected by oral and head & neck cancer do not need sympathy. They are survivors! They are adapters! They are inspirations!

What oral and head and neck cancer survivors need is understanding… understanding from those around them how their world has been forever changed by disease; understanding how we can increase health and quality of life for those who met cancer head on, literally, and won; and understanding how all of us can prevent oral and head and neck cancer from happening to others. This is what April was all about…raising awareness, increasing understanding, and coming together to make a difference!

So, although the calendar may say May…it is always April in my heart…because I choose to make a difference in the lives of those who have been touched by oral and head and neck cancer!

Dennis M. Abbott, D.D.S. is the founder and CEO of Dental Oncology Professionals of North Texas, an oral medicine practice dedicated to meeting the unique dental and oral health needs of patients battling cancer. In addition to private practice, he is a member of the dental oncology medical staff at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center and Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Abbott is a nationally recognized leader in oral health care associated with cancer care. He regularly publishes articles on the subjects of dental oncology and oral medicine and presents lectures to professionals and patients throughout the North America. 

Things You Need to Know About Colorectal Cancer

Source: Uploaded by user via C21 on Pinterest


Colorectal cancer or colon cancer (CRC) is the one of the most common, most deadly and most preventable cancers. This cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests like colonoscopies can stop colon cancer before it even starts, or it can find the cancer in it’s early stages which increases the chances of successful treatment.

THE BOTTOMLINE:  Get screened starting at age 50.  However, if you or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer or if you have inflammatory bowel disease, get screened earlier.  

Today is World Cancer Day…

World Cancer Day is a chance to raise our collective voices in the name of improving general knowledge around cancer and dismissing misconceptions about the disease. This year the focus is on dispelling 4 common myths about cancer.  Get the facts straight… Learn the truth and supporting evidence, by clicking on the myths below.

Myth 1: Cancer is just a health issue

Myth 2: Cancer is a disease of the wealthy, elderly and developed countries

Myth 3: Cancer is a death sentence

Myth 4: Cancer is my fate


For more information or to show your support for a cancer-free world, visit

Kale & Butternut Squash Saute


Kale & Butternut Squash Saute… DELISH!


WedMD writes this about kale… “Move over Popeye and make room for the “queen of greens,” kale. Gaining in popularity, kale is an amazing vegetable being recognized for its exceptional nutrient richness, health benefits, and delicious flavor.  Eating a variety of natural, unprocessed vegetables can do wonders for your health, but choosing super-nutritious kale on a regular basis may provide significant health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol.”


Now most people who know me know that I’m obsessed with kale and am in constant search of new ways to prepare it.  Thanks to Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, Kale & Chocolate and Pink Kitchen, I’ve made some delicious, nutritious, cancer-fighting meals using my favorite green superfood.  I’d like to share a new yummy recipe using kale I just made from Fitness Magazine.

Kale & Butternut Squash Saute  *Serves 4


2 tablespoons of high quality olive oil
3 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 1/2 cups chopped fresh kale
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt AND pepper
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
4 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese



1.  In a large skillet,heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add squash, onion & garlic and cook, stirring constantly until squash is slightly tender, about 7 minutes.  (** Next time I prepare this dish, I instead will lightly toss the squash with olive oil and then roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until brown and then add it to the sauteed onion & garlic.  I prefer that consistency for the squash.)

2.  Add kale, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook until kale is wilted and tender, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from heat.

3.  Add cranberries and nuts; toss to combine.  Sprinkle with goat cheese.  And enjoy!




WTF is “Digital Breast Tomosynthesis”?


Digital Breast Tomosynthesis or “3-D Mammography” is the latest advance in digital mammography.  Now FDA-approved, this imaging tool yields a more accurate mammogram and can help detect breast cancer earlier.


Here’s the dealio (as my daughter always says)…

A conventional mammogram creates a 2-dimensional, flat picture of breast tissue.  As a result, normal overlapping breast tissue can often hide tiny spots and other subtle signs of early stage breast cancer.  Digital Breast Tomosynthesis combines conventional 2-D mammography with 3-D images of the breast.  It allows radiologists to examine breast tissue in one millimeter layers.  Fine details are more clearly visible.  And the earlier cancer is detected, the more curable it is.

Tomosynthesis is a great option for women with dense breast tissue and one or more risk factors like family history.  However, Tomosynthesis may or may not be covered by your insurance so ask when scheduling your mammogram.  To find a facility that offers Tomosynthesis, check out this “Find a Facility Locator”.





The Dealio on Ovarian Cancer

Mount Sinai Hospital has put together this fantastic info on Ovarian Cancer…  the 3 main types of ovarian cancer; the risk factors; symptoms; treatment options & ways to minimize the risk of getting it.  Knowledge is power… Many thanks Mount Sinai Hospital for sharing the power!


Learn about the three main types of ovarian cancer, the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment.
Source: Mount Sinai Medical Center

Check Your Balls Boyz….

Did you know that….

* Testicular Cancer is the most common form of cancer in men age 15-35.

* 1 guy every day dies from testicular cancer.

*  Men themselves, not doctors, find most testicular cancers as a painless lump or an enlargement or hardening of the testicle- which is why regular self-exams are so important.

*  Testicular cancer is one of the easiest to treat cancers… when it’s caught early.

If you do notice any lumps or changes it is important to see a doctor or better yet, a urologist immediately.


Other warning signs may include:

  • Any enlargement of a testicle
  • A significant loss of size in one of the testicles
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the lower abdomen, back or in the groin
  • A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
  • Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts
For more information on testicular cancer, check out and these guys will literally help you every step of the way- from learning how to self-check to what to do should you be diagnosed… they ROCK!



Ask Your GYN About Cervical Cancer Prescreening…

Image credit: 123RF Stock Photo


Occasionally I come across information that might be able to help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place and when I do, I just have to write about it.  After all, prevention and early detection are key to beating cancer.

So here’s the dealio (as my daughter always says)… 

The American Cancer Society estimates that over 12,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer (where the cancer has spread into adjacent tissues) will be diagnosed this year in the US.  And the most important risk factor for developing cervical cancer in the first place is having had the human papillomavirus or HPV.  This means that HPV can actually cause cervical cancer.


Although Gardasil is a vaccine that is now being given to many girls to help guard against HPV and cervical cancer, what about older women who have never received the vaccine?  Is there a prescreening test for HPV and cervical cancer?  YES!  Check out the Digene HPV Test, an FDA-approved  test to be used in combination with the Pap test in women over 30 years old.


Why age 30 and older?  In women over 30 years of age, HPV infections are more likely to be persistent and potentially cancer-causing as opposed to HPV infections in women under 30, which are relatively common and usually go away on their own before they cause problems.  


THE BOTTOMLINE:  To reduce their risk of cervical cancer, women over the age of 30 should request (actually demand) this in addition to their annual PAP Test.  BTW most insurance companies cover this screening.

To learn more about the digene HPV Test, check out  To find a Healthcare Provider in your area that utilizes this test, click HERE.  To see how often you should have the HPV Test, click HERE.

Many, many thanks to @Jayferro & Priscilla’s Promise for helping raise awareness and fund research to cure cervical cancer.  Join me in making Priscilla’s Promise “I promise to have an annual OB-GYN visit and ask my doctor about cervical cancer prescreening tests.”  Be proactive…. get tested.  It could save your life!




GR8 Resources to Help with Testicular Cancer…

Did you know that although testicular cancer is “rare” (accounting for about 1% of all male cancers), it is the most common form of cancer in men ages 15-35?

If you’ve been diagnosed with testicular cancer and would like some help figuring out next steps, or if you want to learn how to do a monthly self-check of “the boyz”, you’ve got to check out these AMAZING organizations:


Testicular Cancer Society  

The Testicular Cancer Society will help you find the best doctors for your particular situation.  They will help you evaluate your treatment options.  They will literally hold your hand and help you in any way they can.  Just contact their founder Mike Craycroft at  BTW, I LOVE the “Just Diagnosed. Now What?” section of their website.


 Single Jingles

Single Jingles has a network of testicular cancer survivors and partnerships with other survivor groups across the country.  They help make support possible from almost anywhere.  Regardless of where you are in your journey, you don’t have to go it alone. Contact them and they will hook you up or point you in the right direction.  Single Jingles has created a FREE App showing men how to do a Monthly Self Check of their testicles- that’s right boys, you should be checkin’ your boyz every month when your in the shower. Download Single Jingles’ FREE App HERE





Get Your Oral Cancer Screenings…

Image credit: kurhan / 123RF Stock Photo


Oral cancer (cancers of the mouth, tongue, tonsils & throat) is on the rise again.  For the 5th year in a row, the rate of occurrence of oral cancer has increased, with an estimated 40,000 new cases expected to be diagnosed in the US this year alone.  Oral cancer is no longer considered a rare cancer.


What’s the dealio with this (as my daughter always says)…


What causes oral cancer?  Some known causes include smoking, chewing tobacco & HPV which is transmitted through oral sex.  BTW, oral sex is quickly becoming the leading cause of oral cancer- for more info on how oral sex increases risk of oral cancer, click HERE.


What’s the prognosis?  As with any cancer, prognosis depends upon the advancement of disease at the time of diagnosis & treatment. But when found at early stages, oral cancers have an 80% – 90% rate of five year survival.  When detected at later stages, this rate drops to about 45%.


Are there any screenings for oral cancer?  YES!!!  Just like a mammogram or colonoscopy, oral cancer screenings can detect cancerous changes BEFORE symptoms are present.  Since oral cancer can be difficult for an individual to detect on his or her own, ask your dentist for an oral cancer screening every time you visit.  He or she can more easily see and/or feel changes in the mouth, head and neck.  And PLEASE contact your dentist or physician immediately if you or someone you know has:

  • A sore or lesion in the mouth that does not heal within two weeks.
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek.
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the cheek or mouth.
  • A sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in the throat.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue.
  • Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth.
  • Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable.
  • Hoarseness that persists.
    (Source: Oral Cancer Foundation) 

*** Many, many thanks to my very favorite dentist Dr. Dennis Abbott of Dental Oncology Professionals of North Texas (@dentaloncology) for helping raise awareness of the importance of oral cancer screenings.  YOU rock Dr. Abbott! ***