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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sebelius urges individual choices on mammograms

WASHINGTON – A top federal health official said Wednesday that the controversial new guidelines for breast cancer screening do not represent government policy, as the Obama administration sought to keep the debate over mammograms from undermining the prospects for health care reform. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in a written statement, said the new guidelines had “caused a great deal of confusion and worry among women and their families across this country,” and she stressed that they were issued by “an outside independent panel of doctors and scientists who … do not set federal policy and … don’t determine what services are covered by the federal government.”

Federal panel urges changes in breast cancer screening

Women in their 40s should stop routinely having annual mammograms and older women should cut back to one scheduled exam every other year, an influential federal task force has concluded, challenging the use of one of the most common medical tests.

Teen comes up with solution

When 16-year-old Tasha Kelly-Schafnitz heard her friend’s mom had breast cancer, she felt bad. When she heard that a car wash benefit to help with medical expenses raised less than $10, she felt worse. Then she decided to do something. Kelly-Schafnitz, a student in the Veterinary Assisting program at the Spokane Vocational Skills Center, enjoys both animals and woodworking. She’s combined her two passions by crafting 3-D puzzles in animal shapes out of alder, maple, pine and oak. Now, she’s selling her intricate puzzles and donating the proceeds to help her friend’s mom.

Teen comes up with solution for cancer expenses

When 16-year-old Tasha Kelly-Schafnitz heard her friend’s mom had breast cancer, she felt bad. When she heard that a car wash benefit to help with medical expenses raised less than $10, she felt worse. Then she decided to do something. Kelly-Schafnitz, a student in the Veterinary Assisting program at the Spokane Vocational Skills Center, enjoys both animals and woodworking. She’s combined her two passions by crafting 3-D puzzles in animal shapes out of alder, maple, pine and oak. Now, she’s selling her intricate puzzles and donating the proceeds to help her friend’s mom.

Teen comes up with solution

When 16-year-old Tasha Kelly-Schafnitz heard her friend’s mom had breast cancer, she felt bad. When she heard that a car wash benefit to help with medical expenses raised less than $10, she felt worse. Then she decided to do something. Schafnitz, a student in the Veterinary Assisting program at the Spokane Vocational Skills Center, enjoys both animals and woodworking. She’s combined her two passions by crafting 3-D puzzles in animal shapes out of alder, maple, pine and oak. Now, she’s selling her intricate puzzles and donating the proceeds to help her friend’s mom.

Study: Biology may explain race gap in cancer deaths

A new study suggests that racial differences in biology could be a key reason why black women are more likely to die of breast cancer than white women. That has reignited an intense debate among medical experts about the role of genetics compared to such social factors as poverty, diet and unequal access to quality health care.

An escape from cancer

During three-hour chemotherapy treatments, Alison Rubin would close her eyes and focus on the gentle rhythm of her breath. “Be still,” she often told herself, concentrating on the words of her mantra as she slowly inhaled and exhaled.

Preventive bilateral mastectomies becoming more common

Karen Aulner, 36, has never been diagnosed with cancer. She has, however, watched her older sister fight the disease since 2000. So when Aulner tested positive in 2004 for a gene mutation that put her at high risk of breast cancer, she asked her doctor to remove both of her healthy breasts. “My sister was the healthiest person I ever knew,” Aulner says. “She’s slender, she worked out all the time, she loved fruits and vegetables – and she’s dying.

Turnout outpaces expectations at breast cancer fundraising race

A fundraising race for breast cancer research brought more than 7,100 people to downtown Spokane on Sunday morning. The turnout was the largest in the four-year history of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here, and it surprised organizers who’d prepared for about 1,000 fewer people.

Thousands turn out to race for cure

A fundraising race for breast cancer research brought more than 7,100 people to downtown Spokane Sunday morning. The turnout was the largest in the four-year history of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here and surprised organizers who’d prepared for about a thousand fewer people.

Mary Lou Piazza, who helped found Komen chapter, dies at 59

Mary Lou Piazza, wife of Kootenai County Commissioner Rich Piazza and a founding member of a Coeur d’Alene organization that promotes breast cancer awareness, died Monday after a long battle with cancer. She was 59. Piazza beat breast cancer twice, in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, and became a leader in cancer awareness organizations in the county. She helped found the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Coeur d’Alene affiliate and worked with Reach for Recovery, talking to newly diagnosed women and helping them understand what to expect.

Breast cancer ‘metastasis gene’ found

A gene that makes breast cancer tumors more likely to resist chemotherapy and to spread to other organs has been identified by a team of New Jersey researchers. The “metastasis gene” is turned on in 30 percent to 40 percent of breast cancer patients. When activated, it helps the tumor cells stick tightly to blood vessels in distant organs and makes them resistant to chemotherapy drugs traditionally used to treat breast cancer, according to researchers from Princeton University and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

Regaining control

Jackie Kittel returned to her yoga practice as soon as she was able following breast-cancer surgery four years ago. Kittel had been an Iyengar yoga instructor since 1994, so it was only natural that she would continue.