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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

A piece of Puerto Princesa

Eating a plateful of timolok worms may have been one of the highlights for John Ryan Mendoza when he visited Puerto Princesa, but as he discovered, there’s always more to discover in this part of Palawan.

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“Do they taste like what a worm would taste like in your head before you ate it?” said the Facebook message that my Canadian friend sent me after leaving an appalled comment on a photo of me biting a tamilok.

“They tasted familiar, like oysters, but still very different,” I replied, amused.

The tamilok, a wood worm that thrives in coconut tree trunks, is a local delicacy in the island province of Palawan. My transgender travel buddy and I just found them in a menu at Kinabuch’s Grill on the second night of our promo flight getaway. At 130 pesos, we had a full plate of skinned worms with a small saucer of vinegar. The tamiloks only got to the side of my friend’s face for the photo, so I had the whole squirmy plate to myself. They tasted like very, very long oysters. After dipping it in vinegar, I had to slurp a whole juicy one in order to chew it. I finished most of the plate. I just hesitated at the thought that my stomach wouldn’t be so happy about it and may just end up in toilet confinement rather than the Palawan outdoors the next day. I turned out fine and I definitely would have them again, cooked next time. Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital city, offered so much more aside from these quirky tamiloks.

Ka Lui’s cake
We started this Puerto Princesa trip with a dinner reservation at Ka Lui’s Seafood House. We had to go on barefoot to get inside so we had to leave our footwear in numbered drawers at the entrance. The place had a native Filipino ambience and was packed. We were ushered to a low candlelit table for two and were crouched comfortably. We ordered the Ka Lui’s special for the day. At 485 pesos, we had full course meal of veggies, prawns, fried fish in mango sauce, grilled fish, and a young coconut with tropical fruits. The whole night, my transgender friend couldn’t help but notice the good-looking waiters that served the customers. Then we had a surprise for the night- a not just phallic, but really penile cake was served for a birthday celebrant in the next table. My friend guessed right, Ka Lui is proudly a successful gay businessman according to locals. With this gay vibe, I would definitely come back here with friends and have that cake.

Ice cold island tour
On the second day, as Typhoon Gener was raging over most of Luzon, a morning text brought bad news. Our subterranean river trip was cancelled due to the reported dangerous river currents from the local coast guard. Unfazed, we proceeded with the Honda Bay island tour.

At 200 pesos, we rode a tricycle to the boat terminal where we started to pay the various fees and taxes for the tour. We were about to pay 1,300 pesos for just the two of us, when luckily a young (het) couple was also there looking to share a boat with others. There were four islands and one reef that were lined up for the tour. Entrance fees for Pandan and Cowrie islands, 100 and 75 pesos respectively, were paid there at the terminal. All other entrance fees that charged 50 pesos were to be paid once getting there.

We first stopped at Luli island. It was just a sand bar where a highly stilted house and some small cottages stood. The boat man told us that the whole sand bar submerges during high tide. That’s why it’s called “Luli” (lulubog-lilitaw). We just spent a brief time exploring the quite dense mangrove growth and proceeded to our next stop. We then arrived at Pambato reef, where we donned our rented snorkeling gear and footwear. We all rented the equipment at 150 pesos each at the shops near the main highway and then just realized that we can rent them even cheaper at 100 pesos at the boat terminal. Oh well, next time. There was so much colourful fish and corals too see but there was just one problem-the water was too murky. Being in a low pressure area was starting to take its toll on our tour. On a sunny day, I’m pretty sure how much more amazing this underwater world would be.

Next stop-Starfish island. It was starting to rain when we disembarked from the boat and four starfishes welcomed us at the shore. After going around for the camera poses and jump-shots, we realized that those were the only starfishes we ever saw. Maybe we weren’t looking well enough, but I was starting to suspect the starfish welcome was staged. It was starting to get really cold so we all took refuge in the warm seawater. We all wouldn’t recommend swimming here, snorkelling I guess, for the beach was too rocky, unless you are into pain.

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It was on our transit to Pandan island when the torrential rain poured. The island was so shrouded in thick white mists that our boatman got disoriented – just freaky. After around 30 minutes, we arrived at the more developed island all drenched and freezing. Cottages for rent at 300 pesos were at the beachfront and a food and drinks counter was at the interior. We took shelter at a tent beside the food place and had our lunch of grilled squid and pork at 180 pesos per plate. The island was just surrounded with snorkelling spots. After our cold meal, we finally dipped into the soothing warm waters. This time, we brought a feast for the fishes – breadcrumbs. One doesn’t need a life vest anymore since the spots you can feed the fish and find corals were very shallow. Just stay clear from the black gardens of sea urchins and occasional camouflaged stone fishes. They all sting pretty bad.

The weather was getting worse but we were all still resolute to get our money’s worth. After another chilly and wavy trip, Cowrie island proved to be worth it. It had the finest sand and the most pristine waters among all the other islands. This last stop’s warmer water was just perfect for languid swimming after enduring all that cold. We finally sailed back to the terminal and then all parted at our respective hotels after sharing again, a tricycle. Just one classic – share a boat/tricycle, win a friend – day.

Wet City Tour
On our third day, the morning text message made us abandon all hope we had for the underground river tour. The typhoon raged on and the underground river currents could kill, the travel agent told us. We were just left with the city tour option. Our friendly driver agreed to tour us for the whole day at 500 pesos. We first drove to Palawan governor-owned Rancho Sta. Monica, popularly known as Mitra’s Ranch. Located at a hilltop, it had a magnificent view of Puerto Princesa and offered various activities such as horseback riding, trampoline jumping, and ziplining. My friend opted to pay 500 pesos for ziplining. The ranch’s zipline had 3 lines where you can transfer from one line to another thru towers as high as the tree tops. The first zip line is 300 meters long while the 2nd and 3rd zip lines are 150 meters long each. The male zipline staffs were so accommodating to my friend that they agreed to take photos of all her zipline moments and even invited her to a drinking session sometime after work. Maybe it’s just my friend’s charm or just this place’s really friendly locals.

Then we proceeded to Baker’s Hill. It is a bakery/restaurant with a mini park with fun statues, exotic birds, and beautiful landscapes. No wonder, it is a pretty famous dating spot for locals. The Hopia Ube and Hopia Baboy are the bakery’s famous delicacies.

The non-stop cam-whoring at the mini park eventually starved us so we went the nearby Dampa sa Mansion Restaurant for lunch. You get to choose the fresh seafood from the display and just buy the amount you need. You then have them cooked the way you want at 100 pesos. We were awful at estimating the amount of seafood we want and ended up paying much for the food we can’t all consume. We just got them packed for the next day. The place had a nice open space and you can just enjoy the fresh air while dining. Except for really rainy days when mists of water would just spray on your entire table if you are near the peripheries, which was unfortunately our case.

The rains were hard again and the driver updated us of the situation of the other usual city tour spots. On that day, butterflies were a no-show in the butterfly garden, and getting to the crocodile farm or the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center was impossible due to the flood-damaged bridge. We just moved to our next stop – the Binuatan Creations. Binuatan Creations had this weaving workshop where the staff assists you in making handloom woven mats using the indigenous plant fibers of Palawan drawn from the buntal, coconut, buri, cogon grass, pandan, and pineapple. Their products are world-class exports and you can buy these native products at the source. The bags are really good and cheap. Impulsive, broke, and thick-faced, I bought four and had my friend swipe her credit card for me. Once the buying starts, the shopping mode is on for both of us. We then rode to the newly opened LRC 908 Market Mall, where there was an assortment of local handcrafts, pearl accessories, and lots of pasalubong items.

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It was a Sunday and my friend wanted to hear mass at the Immaculate Conception cathedral. The driver then brought us to the Baywalk, which was just very near the cathedral. The Baywalk is a famous place to enjoy the view of the Puerto Princesa Bay to stroll, bike (available for rent), and to try street food. After the usual photos, we were then finally transported to the cathedral. I had an hour to wait for my friend so I just killed time at Plaza Cuartel, which was just a few steps from the cathedral entrance.

Plaza Cuartel looks like a plain city park with concrete pavements, tall trees, water fountains, and benches. With the clinging couples at every corner, I now get why the driver said it is known to be a “lover’s park” for local teenagers. Yet I realized after some reading of inscribed texts at the monument, the ruins of an old garrison and tunnels are proof of its brutal history. This plaza is the site of Palawan Massacre. In the tunnels, 150 American prisoners of war were kept during World War II. It was on December 14, 1944, the Japanese decided to burn them all alive. Many died and only eleven prisoners survived and escaped the mass execution. Then it rained on me at this quite dark conclusion for the city tour.

Badjao at the Seafront
After the mass, we were both ready for our fourth leg of seafood pig-out. At 60 pesos, we got a tricycle to transport us from the cathedral to Badjao Seafront Restaurant. It’s a popular place and is expectedly crowded so we had to reserve a table earlier that day. When we arrived, the winds were strong and it was already quite dark. We had to pass through a hallway with wafting white curtains and can see that the restaurant is built on top of a mangrove forest. The place had large open windows, some of which were unfortunately covered then due to the winds. On nicer weather, I’m sure it has a beautiful sea-view. Named after the Badjaos, the restaurant is adorned with textiles that are associated with the seafaring tribes in the south. We agreed to just have modest dinner since we quite overspent for lunch. The mixed seafood dish was expectedly good. All our neighbouring tables had crabs, shrimps, and all the fish Palawan can offer, and all looked satisfied. This place lives up to its fame.

Big Brother and Garcellano
The fourth day was my friend’s last day and we figured to just enjoy our remaining hours at the House of Big Brother. For 1,000 pesos per night, our “housemate” room had two couple wide beds, a hot/cold shower, wide screened flat screen TV with cable and a kitchenette equipped with modern fire-less induction cooker, electric kettle, automatic rice cooker, refrigerator, microwave oven, cooking and dining utensils. Cooking skills would be very much handy and economical along with Palawan’s bountiful seafood and vegetables that are just waiting in the city markets. Big Brother offers quite a good deal for a larger group and a longer stay.

I still had one more night in the city so I had to check-in into another place by noon time and I fortunately discovered the cheapest place ever- the Garcellano Tourist Inn. It is only 250 pesos per night. Don’t expect Big Brother’s extra amenities, for this place only has fan rooms with private toilet and bath. They have bigger rooms for larger groups but the rates still remain less than 500 pesos. If most of the day you would just be enjoying the outdoors, this place gives you just the comfortable basics for your stay.

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Vietnam in Palawan: Chaolong
On this mission-less day, we finally tried Chaolong for lunch. We have been seeing many of outlets around the city. We discovered from the stories of our tricycle driver/tourist guide that this ubiquitous Vietnamese dish came along after the fall of South Vietnam in 1975. At this time, Vietnamese migrants first began arriving in boats in the Philippines. A refugee camp was setup by the United Nations in Palawan. The still existing small community of the refugees, called Viet Ville, is about 13 kilometers up the road from Puerto Princessa.

To be more factual, Puerto Princesa’s chao long should be qualified, the Vietnamese chao long, is “scrummy” rice porridge (the chao) laden with innards (the long). Puerto Princesa’s chao long is flat, thin rice noodles in a sweet-savory broth with your chosen meats (beefbones, beef , pork), served with the indispensable plate containing raw bean sprouts, shoots of basil and mint, and a piece of kalamansi.

We had a taste of this dish at Bona’s Chaolong House and Restaurant, where prices are really cheap. I ordered the Beef Bones with Noodles Special (55 pesos) and French Bread with Cheese (25 pesos). I liked it a lot that I had Chaolong again for breakfast the next day.

Walking along Rizal Avenue
When my friend had to go to the airport for her flight, we just decided to walk from the House of Big Brother. Google maps advised us it was just near, and it was. When we arrived, we both gave tricycle drivers 50 pesos to get us to our accommodation. We realized it was too much. The regular fare which was eight or ten pesos was enough.

I was then alone. I decided to just walk again from the airport and along the stretch of Rizal avenue, one of city’s main streets. The air was so non-Manila. Even while strolling along a street with so many vehicles, the air was clean. Puerto Princesa lives up to being the cleanest and most environment-friendly city in the Philippines. This main road is sprawled with hotels, motorbike rentals, handicraft stores, travel agencies, restaurants, and bars. These are proudly good indicators of an ever booming tourism industry.

It was already night-time when I reached the Baywalk. Locals and tourists just leisurely hang out while viewing the quiet bay. The vibe has been peaceful not only here but throughout the areas I have been so far in the city. Locals and official reports verify that Puerto Princesa is still the most peaceful among the urban centers in the country. Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn had reported that the city has the lowest crime rate and highest crime solution efficiency compared to other urban centers in the country. With strong political will, significant impacts like this are truly achievable.

Ima’s Gulay Bar
It was my last dinner at this peaceful green city so I searched for the nearest vegetarian restaurant. Just a few blocks from where I was staying, I finally found Ima’s Gulay Bar. Quaint and somewhat intimate were my impressions of the place when I got in the wooden cottage. Their menu declared that they served delectable continental vegetarian dishes. I then automatically looked for entries that were unfamiliar. I ordered the spicy okra and mango pasta (70 pesos) and a smoothie called Ima’s blend (80 pesos). The restaurant had a good wifi connection so my partner and I had a “vegetarian dinner date” via Skype. He was also having his veggie bolognaise. With good vegetarian food, affordable prices, quiet ambience, and a free and fast wifi connection, Ima’s Gulay Bay is my instant favorite. I came back the next day for lunch and stayed there to do some writing until I had to leave for the airport.

I was welcomed back in Manila by the remaining wrath of Typhoon Gener. In the taxi on my way home, the strong wind howled, the heavy rain fell, and flood and traffic was everywhere. I just happily thought to myself that I have had a piece of Puerto Princesa and still has that sweet promise to return.

A registered nurse, John Ryan (or call him "Rye") Mendoza hails from Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao (where, no, it isn't always as "bloody", as the mainstream media claims it to be, he noted). He first moved to Metro Manila in 2010 (supposedly just to finish a health social science degree), but fell in love not necessarily with the (err, smoggy) place, but it's hustle and bustle. He now divides his time in Mindanao (where he still serves under-represented Indigenous Peoples), and elsewhere (Metro Manila included) to help push for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos. And, yes, he parties, too (see, activists need not be boring! - Ed).

Travel

Top 5 places to visit in Los Angeles

While the city offers so much more, these places are destinations that you simply cannot miss.

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If you plan to spend some time in Los Angeles you might wonder where you should go first. There are a lot of amazing places in LA so it can be hard to choose. Make sure you have your accommodation booked click here for some ideas and then think about what you want to do.

Below you will find five of the best places to visit in Los Angeles. While the city offers so much more, these places are destinations that you simply cannot miss.

The Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is one of the most-visited observatories on the planet. This incredible destination is visited by more than one million people every single year. When you arrive at the Observatory you will understand why.

One of the very first places in the country that was dedicated to science for the public, entrance is free. This is all thanks to the former owner who in his will gave the land to the city of Los Angeles.

The Griffith Observatory is one of the most-visited observatories on the planet.

When you’re at the Observatory enjoy the shows that take place at the Samuel Oshchin Planetarium. You don’t have to pay to watch the shows but it is encouraged. The good news is you don’t have to pay very much. You can also enjoy a few presentations and talks at the Planetarium. There are also events held throughout the year so you might be lucky to catch one or two of them.

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Finally, you might want to take a look at the incredible view that the Observatory allows you. Just make sure you climb to the very top of the Observatory so you can take it all in.

The Beautiful Beaches

Los Angeles is home to some beautiful beaches. In fact, some of the world’s most beautiful beaches are found here. Head down to Venice Beach to spot all of the beautiful people. Alternatively, you might want to head to Santa Monica as it’s the ideal location if you want to relax and unwind. Santa Monica has been used as the destination for many different movies so it’s likely you’ll recognize it if you’re a movie fan. 

Head down to Venice Beach to spot all of the beautiful people.

You might also want to indulge in a spot of celebrity-spotting while you’re in the area. The beaches and the nearby sidewalks are the ideal locations to spot many celebrities who call this part of Los Angeles their home. Don’t forget to make your way to the Santa Monica Pier where you’ll find a wonderful carousel that you just have to jump on.

The Walk of Fame

You simply cannot spend any time in Los Angeles without visiting the Walk of Fame. This internationally-celebrated destination is one of the most popular places to visit. Spanning an incredible 1.3 miles from the East of Hollywood to the West, you will find more than 2,500 stars on the sidewalk.

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When the Walk of Fame came to fruition in the 1960s it was originally meant to help redevelop the area and it appears that it has. The Walk of Fame sees up to 10 million people from all over the world visit this iconic location.

This part of Los Angeles can get very busy at times but if you head there in the early morning you should beat much of the rush.

Many celebrities have been nominated for a star and many of them have had their names and their palm prints embedded in the sidewalk for eternity. Why not take the opportunity to have your photograph taken with the star that represents your favorite actor or singer?

Please note, this part of Los Angeles can get very busy at times but if you head there in the early morning you should beat much of the rush.

The Getty Museum

Designed by Richard Meier and opened back in 1997, this incredible museum is home to some amazing and internationally-renowned art. Found in Brentwood and look over the city of Los Angeles, the Museum offers you an experience of a lifetime.

Take a trip on a hover-train from the parking lot to the very top of the mountain. Enjoy the garden that spans an incredible 134,000 square foot and take your time walking around the area.

Designed by Richard Meier and opened back in 1997, this incredible museum is home to some amazing and internationally-renowned art.

Don’t forget to spend at least an hour walking around the Getty Museum. Some of the exhibits there are truly phenomenal and will take your breath away.

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The Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign is one of Los Angeles’ most iconic structures. Located up in the mountains, the sign was part of an advertising campaign that told the locals about a housing development that would provide many homes. However, it seemed that the 43 foot tall and 30 foot wide letters became iconic in their own right.

Unfortunately, the development of the homes fell victim to the Great Depression but the sign remains there to this day. Did you know that the Hollywood Sign originally said “Hollywoodland”? The city removed the “Land” from the sign and created what we can now see from many miles away.

If you do plan to visit the Hollywood Sign please make sure you respect the locals. Refrain from parking in their driveways or opposite their homes. They will be grateful that you made the effort.

Did you know that the Hollywood Sign originally said “Hollywoodland”?

As you can see, Los Angeles is quite a remarkable place to be. It is full to the brim of incredible places to visit and stunning sites to see. It’s so easy to fall in love with this truly vibrant city that has something for everyone. Visit the Griffith Observatory, spend some time on the beaches and visit the Walk of Fame. Lastly, take a trip to the Getty Museum followed by a visit to the Hollywood Sign. Trust me, by the time you get to the sign you would have already fallen in love with Los Angeles.

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Health & Wellness

OTC medications commonly used in cases of attempted suicide by self-poisoning in youth

It is vital that parents, teachers and other trusted adults start conversations about mental health early, and pay even closer attention during the school year, as rates of anxiety and depression are shown to increase during that time. Warning signs can often be detected and support is available for young people in crisis.

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A study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Central Ohio Poison Center found rates of suicide attempts by self-poisoning among youth and adolescents are higher in rural communities, higher during the academic school year and involve common medications found in many households.

The study, published online in Clinical Toxicology, expands on previous research that evaluated the incidence and outcomes from intentional suspected-suicide self-poisoning in children and young adults ages 10 to 24 years old from 2000-2018. In that 19-year time frame, there were more than 1.6 million intentional suspected-suicide self-poisoning cases in youth and young adults reported to US poison centers. The majority of cases were female (71%), and involved a pharmaceutical (92%).

“While most of these cases involved medications, with adolescents, any available medication can be a potential hazard,” said Henry Spiller, MS, D.ABAT, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s, and co-author of the study. “It’s not so much a matter of substance type, but rather a matter of access to the substance. Any type of medication can be misused and abused in ways that can unfortunately lead to very severe outcomes, including death.”

The two most common substance groups in all age groups were over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics – such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin – followed by antidepressants. In youth and adolescents 10-12 and 13-15 years old, ADHD medications were common, and had the highest risk of serious medical outcomes. Opiates only accounted for 7% of cases with serious medical outcomes.

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“Because medications are so readily available in homes, many families do not take precautions to store them safely. Our findings suggest this is a big problem,” said John Ackerman, PhD, clinical psychologist and suicide prevention coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s, and co-author of the study. “Medications can be part of effective treatment, but they require an extra layer of care. The answer is not to stop prescribing medications to those who stand to benefit, but rather to emphasize the practice of safe storage and vigilance when administering any kind of medicine, especially when children and teens live in the home.”

The study also found that places with a lower population per square mile (rural areas) had a greater number of reported cases with all outcomes and serious medical outcomes. Results also revealed there was a significant decrease in the number of cases in school-aged individuals during non-school months of June through August (27.5% decrease in 10-12-year-olds; 27.3% decrease in 13-15-year-olds; and 18.3% decrease in 16-18-year-olds), compared with school months September through May.

This issue is worth highlighting for the LGBTQIA community because 50.8% of transmasculine adolescents between the ages of 11 and 19 have attempted suicide at least once, while 41.8% of nonbinary adolescents – those who don’t identify as exclusively male or exclusively female – have attempted suicide.

Nationwide Children’s Big Lots Behavioral Health experts recommend that parents check in with their children regularly, and ask them directly how they are doing and if they have ever had thoughts about ending their life. These direct questions are even more critical if warning signs of suicide are observed. Medications should be stored up, away and out of sight, preferably in a locked cabinet. Administration of medicine should always be supervised.

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“It should concern us that youth in rural areas are about twice as likely as those living in urban areas to die by suicide. Although we are in dire need of more research to help us understand what places some people at more risk than others, available evidence indicates that include increased social isolation, stigma, access to lethal means and lack of appropriate mental health resources may play a role in this disparity,” said Ackerman. “It is vital that parents, teachers and other trusted adults start conversations about mental health early, and pay even closer attention during the school year, as rates of anxiety and depression are shown to increase during that time. Warning signs can often be detected and support is available for young people in crisis.”

Dr. Ackerman recommends parents start now to increase the dialogue and have important conversations as a family.

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Health & Wellness

Study provides insights on treatment and prognosis of male breast cancer

Factors associated with worse overall survival were older age, black race, multiple comorbidities, high tumor grade and stage, and undergoing total mastectomy. Residing in higher income areas; having tumors that express the progesterone receptor; and receiving chemotherapy, radiation, and anti-estrogen therapy were associated with better overall survival.

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Photo by Christopher Campbell from Unsplash.com

Male breast cancer (MBC) comprises one percent of all breast cancer cases, yet no prospective randomized clinical trials specifically focused on MBC have been successfully completed. Some studies suggest that the incidence of MBC may be rising, however, and there is an increasing appreciation that the tumor biology of MBC differs from that of female breast cancer.

To examine how MBC has been treated in recent years, and to identify factors associated with patient prognosis, a team led by Kathryn Ruddy, MD, MPH, and Siddhartha Yadav, MBBS, at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, analyzed information from the National Cancer Database on men diagnosed with stage I-III breast cancer between 2004 and 2014.

A recent analysis reveals that treatment of male breast cancer has evolved over the years. In addition, certain patient-, tumor-, and treatment-related factors are linked with better survival. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

For this study, a total of 10,873 patients with MBC were included, with a median age at diagnosis of 64 years. Breast-conserving surgery was performed in 24% of patients, and 70% of patients undergoing breast conservation received radiation. Forty-four percent of patients received chemotherapy, and 62% of patients whose tumors expressed the estrogen receptor received anti-estrogen therapy. During the study period, there was a significant increase in the rates of total mastectomy, contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, and post-breast conservation radiation, as well as an increase in the rate of genomic testing on tumors and the use of anti-estrogen therapy. Tamoxifen is the standard anti-estrogen medication recommended for treatment of hormonally sensitive MBC, but this study was not able to assess specific medications used.

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Factors associated with worse overall survival were older age, black race, multiple comorbidities, high tumor grade and stage, and undergoing total mastectomy. Residing in higher income areas; having tumors that express the progesterone receptor; and receiving chemotherapy, radiation, and anti-estrogen therapy were associated with better overall survival.

The study “highlights unique practice patterns and factors associated with prognosis in MBC, furthering our understanding of the treatment and prognosis of MBC,” said Dr. Ruddy. “The racial, economic, and age-related health disparities we found could inform future efforts to target interventions to optimize outcomes in men with breast cancer.”

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Does CBD live up to its hype?

Many people are wondering if CBD has really made that big of an impact on people’s lives—does it actually deserve the global hype it has created?

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CBD has changed the medical world to a great extent; some people even think it is the future of modern medicine. But the majority of people are wondering if it has really made that big of an impact on people’s lives—does it actually deserve the global hype it has created?

We will try to answer these questions by taking a closer look at the truth behind this product.

What’s All the Hype About?

CBD is a compound derived from cannabis, but it’s not like marijuana at all, as it doesn’t get people high or drowsy. This drug can take many forms, but it’s most commonly found in liquid form. It is claimed to have a lot of useful benefits and it’s very easy to use. It has no psychoactive properties, unlike the THC compound. And since it’s not addictive, it will not cause any withdrawal symptoms that make you develop any potential dependence potential.

CBD’s popularity considerably grew over the recent years, and a lot of people take it by adding it to their food or drinks. However, due to some issues regarding the regulation process, the quality of the product depends greatly on the brand or vendor. Judging by the ongoing research revolving around this topic, finding a reliable supplier like https://www.genius-labs.com really could be a good idea, as it surely looks like this magical oil will be around for good.

It’s Proven to Be an Effective Stress Reliever 

Almost all of us are prone to anxiety and stress in our daily lives, and sometimes we need a little something that can take away the negative feelings and nervousness that plague us. The use of CBD helps people manage their stress and anxiety levels, to potentially ease the pressure that most of us feel every day—the pressure to succeed and be the best in whatever we’re doing. Sometimes those feelings are so overwhelming that people tend to snap or develop various anxiety-related disorders. This product promises to negate those negative emotions and reduce the amount of discomfort, while improving your cognitive functions—making you a much calmer, relaxed person.

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People with Insomnia Can Sleep Better Now

With so many people having so much on their minds, and in a world where overthinking is an epidemic, getting a good night’s sleep seems to be the exception rather than the rule. CBD oil can help soothe the mind and calm the senses of people who suffer from insomnia. It can enhance the receptors in our brains by interacting with them, which leads to better sleeping patterns. So, those who have a sleeping disorder or a bad case of insomnia can find solace in using this oil to get some rest, which will positively affect their overall well being. When you’re constantly sleep-deprived, your body gradually starts to deteriorate, and you might face serious problems over time. This oil can actually improve your quality of life in many ways.

It’s Effective for Athletes Too

Another reason why CBD is so popular is because thousands of athletes can use it to alleviate the pain and muscle stiffness that result from training too hard. It can be a very handy recovery supplement that reduces inflammation in the body, so any possible soft-tissue injuries can be treated with CBD if an athlete went a little too far during an intense workout. It helps minimize the risk of any potential chronic injuries and gives the body a boost to repair inflamed tissues. This way, the healing period can become much shorter, and the recovery process can be relatively bearable.

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Got Acne? No Problem

Millions of people are affected by annoying pimples that can suddenly pop up anywhere in the body. Some of them can be tender and painful to the touch, not to mention the embarrassment they might cause—especially in young teenagers who are struggling to adapt to their changing bodies and fit in with their peers. This product can help them regain their confidence; the oil is proven to decrease the effects of sebum on blemish-prone or oily skin.

It’s Known to Help Cancer Patients

Cancer is a destructive disease that ruins people’s lives, and that of their loved ones. Most patients do their best to carry on with the fight, but sometimes they need a little push to help them through recovery. Chemotherapy has countless negative side-effects, and CBD can help ease the pain just to make the whole process a little more bearable. There are some reports stating that it might be able to fight the cancer cells and prevent it from spreading further in the body, and if that turns out to be scientifically proven, then all the hype around CBD would be more than justified.

When Things Become Official

If you think about it, part of the reason why this product has attracted a lot of attention, and why it keeps gaining popularity is because the World Health Organization declared it to be non-addictive, and the FDA started regulating and supporting some medications that contain CBD. So, more and more people feel comfortable when they see these institutions supporting the product, which will likely lead to more sales and much more exposure around the world.

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Governments Are Starting To Recognize It

If you don’t see your country’s government and official institutions acting against CBD, and not enforcing any nationwide bans or laws against its manufacture, that feeds the hype even more as people are no longer afraid to take the steps toward purchasing CBD products. After a certain period of time, there probably won’t be any restrictions on its use at all. It will just take some time for legislators to work on getting it officially approved in certain locations, which is already in process in many states and countries. It’s clear that CBD is here to stay, and it has proved to the world just how beneficial it can be. It looks like the hype will only keep growing, and will soon overcome the few remaining obstacles. Whether you’re already an enthusiast or a first-time buyer, just make sure you find the right supplier who can assure you that the product is safe, giving you clear information about its contents and purity.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Weight stigma affects gay men on dating apps

A study found that Grindr, the most popular dating app for gay, bisexual, two-spirit and queer men, had a negative effect on men’s body image, especially when it came to weight. Three out of four gay men are reported to have used Grindr.

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Weight stigma is an issue for queer men using dating apps, says a new University of Waterloo study, authored by Eric Filice, Amanda Raffoul, Samantha Meyer and Elena Neiterman, all from the University of Waterloo, and which appears in Body Image.

The study found that Grindr, the most popular dating app for gay, bisexual, two-spirit and queer men, had a negative effect on men’s body image, especially when it came to weight. Three out of four gay men are reported to have used Grindr.

“Dating apps have skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade or so and have radically transformed the ways individuals connect with one another,” said Eric Filice, a public health doctoral candidate and lead author. “We were surprised to find that weight stigma is perpetuated by individual users and embedded within the app’s information architecture.”

For example, because Grindr facilitates anonymity more than other apps (it doesn’t require a name or link to other social media platforms), and because its pre-set body descriptions don’t acknowledge being overweight (you can be ‘toned,’ ‘average,’ ‘large,’ ‘muscular,’ ‘slim’ or ‘stocky’), most participants in the study perceived being overweight as a stigma.

“Participants recalled their body weight or shape being scrutinized for allegedly being incompatible with their gender expression or preferred position during intercourse,” said Filice. “We think this points to the importance of locating weight stigma within and alongside other intersecting power relations.”

The study also found that apart from weight stigma, body dissatisfaction stemmed from sexual objectification and appearance comparison. “It doesn’t help that because Grindr exists to connect users for dating or sex, physical appearance bears greater cultural salience,” Filice said. “People often compare their candid, in-person appearance to the meticulously curated or digitally altered appearances of others they encounter online.

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“On the other hand, we were especially compelled by the myriad protective factors and coping strategies that participants suggested help mitigate Grindr’s deleterious effects on body image,” said Filice. These included the prioritization of positive self-esteem, strong social support, and avoiding situations that increase insecurities.

Filice said that he doesn’t think trying to curb overall dating-app use is an effective public health approach. “Health promotion strategists should focus on patterns in app use that are most harmful and orient their interventions accordingly. Many of our participants see Grindr as a necessary evil, as internet-mediated communication has served a unique historical role for gay men in circumventing social, cultural and legal barriers to making connections in public spaces.”

He added, “Much remains to be done. We still have little insight into how dating apps influence the bodily perceptions of trans and gender-nonconforming folks.”

Thirteen participants from several cities in the Greater Toronto Area, as well as surrounding municipalities, took part in the study, called “The influence of Grindr, a geosocial networking application, on body image in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men: An exploratory study.”

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Six reasons to enroll on that master’s program you’ve been looking at

We’ve put together some of the best reasons to enroll on a master’s program – if one of your reasons is listed here, then you’re probably a good candidate for furthering your education.

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Are you considering returning to college or staying on for a bit longer after completing your bachelor’s degree? If you’re considering earning an advanced degree such as a master’s degree but are unsure whether or not it is the right move for you, then don’t worry – you’re certainly not alone. Everybody has their own reasons for wanting to return to or continue their education, and there are certainly many different reasons as to why you may be contemplating getting your master’s.

We’ve put together some of the best reasons to enroll on a master’s program – if one of your reasons is listed here, then you’re probably a good candidate for furthering your education.

#1. Improve Your Hiring Prospects:

Gaining a master’s qualification from an accredited university or college can do wonders for your career. It can make your resume stand out, improve your chances of being offered a job interview, and provide you with more leverage for negotiating the terms of your employment, such as your salary and benefits.

In addition, masters’ graduates also tend to enter the job market with a greater sense of confidence and additional understanding and mastery of their chosen field. The experience that you will gain when studying for a master’s program, in addition to the enhanced networking opportunities that are often provided to those studying at this level, can make it much easier for you to land the job that you really want.

Gaining a master’s qualification from an accredited university or college can do wonders for your career.

#2. Facilitate a Career Change:

Have you been feeling like you made the wrong career choices recently? If you’re feeling stuck in a career that you’re no longer interested in or no longer enjoy, then studying for a master’s degree can be a great way to get yourself out of that rut and switch to doing something that you love. Perhaps you are looking for something that’s more challenging than your current role, or something with better growth potential after being stuck with no progression opportunities for some time.

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If you’re looking to jump into a new field, then you’re likely going to need different knowledge, skills and experience. Switching careers is easier than ever with online degree programs, like this masters degree in logistics and supply chain management online from Kettering University, which allows you to gain a new qualification while working full time thanks to its flexible, self-led nature.

#3. Move Up the Career Ladder:

Maybe you are already working in the career of your dreams, but feel that you’ve been stuck in the same position for long enough. Your bachelor’s degree may have landed you in a great entry level position, but you may have found that the opportunities for advancement within your company or your chosen career field are limited if you do not have an advanced degree.

Opting to study for a master’s degree in your chosen career field can become a natural career boost, allowing you to be in with a better chance of qualifying for a raise, gain more status by taking on more responsibilities at work, or apply for a promotion within your company. And thanks to online master’s degree programs, you will not be required to take any time out of work while you study. Your employer may even be willing to fund all or part of your master’s degree if it will be a mutually beneficial move.

#4. Improve Your Job Security:

If you’re working in a career and a position that you enjoy at a company that you love, job security is likely going to be something that’s very important to you. However, a master’s degree qualification can still be extremely beneficial for both yourself and your organization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, having a master’s or equivalent professional degree can improve job security by substantially improving your standing compared to those with a bachelor’s degree alone.

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And in addition to better standing with your current employer, statistics show that master’s degree holders tend to earn an average of $200 more per week, with an 11% greater chance of employment.

#5. Satisfy Your Learning Cravings:

If you’re itching to learn more and feel that you haven’t been in a position to do this for a while, then taking a master’s degree can be one of the best ways to further and update your knowledge. This is especially true if you gained your bachelor’s degree some years ago and work in a field that is constantly changing and evolving such as business, IT, or technology or a combination of all these.

With the speed at which today’s modern technology is moving, it’s unsurprising that some courses of study can easily become outdated and old-fashioned almost overnight. As a result, earning a master’s degree can not only satisfy your need to continue more, but also help you to keep up the pace in your field and gain new, relevant current knowledge and skills.

If you’re feeling stuck in a career that you’re no longer interested in or no longer enjoy, then studying for a master’s degree can be a great way to get yourself out of that rut and switch to doing something that you love.

#6. Contribute to Research in Your Field:

Bear in mind that studying for a master’s degree doesn’t always need to be about improving your current or future career prospects. In fact, if you are passionate about the field that you are in, enrolling on a master’s program can give you a unique opportunity to contribute to relevant research. Through a master’s degree program, your love and passion for your field can give you a real chance to bring new insights to the area and conduct real and meaningful research that may not only be helpful for yourself, but for current and future students and professionals in the industry.

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The graduate degree world is abundant with opportunities for exploration and discovery, regardless of the field that you choose to study, and it’s in every way possible to be able to contribute to breakthroughs that make a real, positive difference in the world.

These are just some of the best reasons to take the plunge and enroll on a master’s degree program. But even if none of these reasons sound like you, remember that there are plenty of other benefits you can enjoy from gaining an advanced degree.

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