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Alyssa Gonzales

Articles by Alyssa Gonzales

What Does Life Look Like with a Brain Tumor?

Of course, no one wants to hear they have cancer. But if you or someone in your familia has a brain tumor, it is natural to wonder what life will look like. This is what we call “quality of life” (QoL), or an individual’s sense of well-being and ability to enjoy and participate in life. “For those living with a brain tumor, QoL may encompass a wide range of physical, psychosocial, and emotional concerns stemming from loss of functionality and changes in personality,” according to the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS). From rehabilitation to mental health to return-to-work resources, let’s dive deeper into QoL and what it means for someone with a brain tumor. Facing a Brain Tumor Diagnosis A brain tumor or other cancer diagnosis is life-changing. The ...

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For Your Familia: Understanding Low Grade Glioma

U.S. Army soldier Tony Rentas, a native of Puerto Rico who dreamed of serving in the military all his life, had a seizure while on a mission in Kosovo. Tony was diagnosed with a low grade glioma, a rare type of brain tumor. He had no idea what a low grade glioma was. So, he started Googling. He found little that helped him understand this diagnosis and what it meant for him and his familia, and even less was available in Spanish. That is why Tony is sharing his story and participating in the International Low Grade Glioma Registry, which hopes to learn more about the best ways to treat these tumors across different groups of people, including members of the Hispanic/Latino community. “One of the biggest things that I wanted to do is help people as much as I can,” Tony ...

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Tony Rentas: A ‘Soldado’ Helping Others Fight Battles Against Brain Tumors

tony rentas low grade glioma bran cancer survivor

Growing up in Puerto Rico, Tony Rentas dreamed of joining the U.S. military. He wanted to serve his country, set a good example for his son, and make sure his family was taken care of. In 2009, he joined the U.S. Army, making his dream a reality. Tony served as a military intelligence specialist. Over a dozen years, he deployed twice, traveled around the world, made great friends, experienced different cultures, helped people, and provided for his family. Then he got some harrowing news. After suffering a temporal lobe seizure, Tony – a husband and father of two children –was diagnosed with a low grade glioma, a type of cancerous brain tumor, in June 2020. “I remember walking out of that appointment, sitting in the car, just trying to process things. A couple of tears ...

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USDA Limits Added Sugar and Sodium in School Meals!

School meals are getting healthier! The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published its final rule to improve school food nutrition standards based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The changes – supported by 438 Salud America! members and 74,000 people overall via public comments – include limiting added sugars (for the first time), reducing sodium, and emphasizing locally sourced fruits and vegetables. The updated rules will take effect starting July 1, 2024, but most changes will occur incrementally between fall 2025 and fall 2027. “The new standards build on the great progress that school meals have made already and address remaining challenges – including reducing sugar in school breakfasts. These updates also make it easier for schools to access ...

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7 Things You Should Know About Brain Tumors

Did you know about 90,000 people are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor every year? Similarly, over 1.3 million people in the United States are living with a primary or secondary/metastatic brain tumor. For ourselves, our familia, and our comunidad, we should know a few important things about brain tumors so we can help all those impacted by a tumor diagnosis. Thankfully, the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) has amazing resources to help. Let’s explore and learn! 1. Know the Types of Brain Tumors A brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells that have formed in the brain. But not all brain tumors are the same. “Some brain tumors are malignant (cancerous), while others are not (non-malignant, non-cancerous or benign). A brain tumor can form in the brain or ...

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Court: Graphic Health Warning Labels on Cigarette Packs Are OK

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently unanimously upheld the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s mandate for graphic health warning labels on cigarette packs and advertising. The graphic health warning labels show written statements with photo-realistic color images depicting some serious health risks of cigarette smoking. Risks include impact to fetal growth, cardiac disease, diabetes, and more. In recent years, Salud America! members sent emails to FDA in favor of the labels. Now, the appeals court upheld the FDA requirement for the labels and rejected “arguments from R.J. Reynolds that the labels violate the First Amendment or take up too much space on packages,” according to the Public Health Law Center (PHLC). “In upholding the graphic ...

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USDA Approves Big Changes to Improve Nutrition in WIC Food Packages

USDA has approved a final rule to improve nutrition and support breastfeeding in food packages in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The final rule includes these changes: Require WIC-eligible whole grain breakfast cereals contain a whole grain as the first ingredient. Increase access to whole grains in breakfast cereal, bread, and grains, including "tortillas made with folic acid-fortified corn masa flour (once available in the marketplace)." Expand whole grain options to include foods like quinoa, blue cornmeal, and teff to reflect dietary guidance and accommodate individual or cultural preferences. Provide more convenience and options in the dairy category, including flexibility on package sizes and non-dairy substitution ...

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Webinar: How to Make Your Voice Heard in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Treatment

Sadly, breast cancer impacts our Latina community. Latinas are more likely than White women to be diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), an aggressive type, according to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Join us for “Making Your Voice Heard in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Treatment,” our 30-minute webinar that is available on-demand starting on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Hear the latest TNBC treatments and how Latinas deal with the difficult cancer journey. A doctor who specializes in treating breast cancer, a nurse practitioner, and a patient with breast cancer will explain how to manage side effects, connect with others in the breast-cancer community, and be your own best advocate. Webinar speakers include: Claudia Tellez, MD, Clinical ...

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Houston’s Latino Children Struggle with Diabetes, Health Challenges

Nearly one of every two people are Latino in Harris County, Texas, which is home to Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city. As the Latino community rises, equitable health, education, and opportunity is critical. That is why two Houston organizations, Children at Risk and Child Health Policy at the Baker Institute, published the 2024 Latino Child Health Initiative Report to examine the state of Latino child health in Precinct 2, one of four precincts in Harris County. The report identified high rates of type 2 diabetes and obesity among Latino children in Houston, as well as barriers to mental health services and kindergarten readiness. Let’s dive into the report and how it reflects the overall US Latino population. Latino Children and Risk for Diabetes, Obesity In ...

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