Salonniere Hosts Virtual Salon Conversation on Breast Cancer

Michigan Chronicle managing editor, AJ Williams joined Salonniere at Shinola Hotel in downtown Detroit for the Virtual Salon Conversation; a dialogue focused on Inclusive Beauty x Health. The Virtual Salon, in partnership with The Lip Bar, San Morello, Mac & Lo, Dynami Foundation and Shinola Hotel, addressed prevention and treatment of breast cancer, providing support for those affected by the illness and discussed the role of mental health. Topics also covered breast implants and plastic surgery as well as beauty tips.

Zell Randle, two-time breast cancer survivor and founder and CEO of Living Brave Through Breast Cancer, joined the virtual conversation to share her own experience with the disease. First diagnosed in the late 1980’s and again over 25 years later, Randle founded her organization to provide resources to other breast cancer survivors and those still in the fight to encourage them to live brave.

“Listening to Oprah Winfrey, and she said, ‘sometimes you just have to live brave’ and when she said that it struck a chord in me and it hit me really hard in my core. And I said that’s what I’m doing. I’m living brave through breast cancer. I have to do something to help the next group of people that are in a situation like this,” Randle explains.

Dr. Jen Green, Head of the Beaumont Department of Naturopathic Medicine was on hand to discuss cancer-fighting foods and the benefits of consuming a Mediterranean diet, while chefs from San Morello provided cancer-fighting recipes including coconut curry, Omega-3 fatty acids and supplemented nuts.

“The area of nutrition, I think, is underappreciated in conventional oncology care. We think of nutrient as a soft therapy, but when we actually go and look at the data in breast cancer, it’s pretty compelling,” Green says.

A five-year study conducted around breast cancer-related nutrition with over four thousand post-menopausal women actively engaged in a Mediterranean diet, showed significant reduction in the risk associated with breast cancer.

“Over that time period they found that the women in the Mediterranean diet [group] who took lots of extra oil, had a 68 percent lower risk of breast cancer,” Green shares.

As cases of breast cancer rise, the age of diagnoses is becoming younger. Traditionally, breast cancer screenings begin at age 40, however, early detection is key. Dr. Frances Sterling of ThermaScan of Michigan joined the conversation to share detection options through thermography which does not use radiation and can detect early breast cancer 5-8 years in advance through heat patterns created by new blood vessel formation required to “feed” cancer.

Dr. Laura Nadeau, an oncologist with Hematology Oncology Associates, Beaumont Hospital, joined the conversation to shed light on genetics and potential risk factors.

“Even if there is not a known genetic mutation in the family or if a woman has breast cancer and she doesn’t test positive for a genetic mutation, there’s still an increased risk among family members. So, we still recommend enhanced screening and early screening in identifying additional risk factors to help detect and prevent cancer as early as possible,” Nadeau explains.

With the increasing number of women under 40 being diagnosed with breast cancer, environmental factors, diet and exercise are being examined as possible risk factors in contracting the illness.

“Some of the reasons have to do with, certainly, lifestyle. Of course, a lot of the diet products are marketed towards women, there’s a lot of artificial and processed foods that are felt to contribute. Women are more involved in the workplace, which means they’re not getting, necessarily, as much activity,” Nadeau shares. “But there are other potential environmental factors that we don’t know, but we do know we need to think about it more in younger women and encourage screening in younger women.”

Dr. Daniel Calva Cerqueira, a John Hopkins trained plastic surgeon, joined the salon conversation from Miami to discuss the rise in breast implant illness and natural alternatives.  For a woman with breast cancer there are options without breast implants using her own body fat via liposuction to reconstruct an entire breast.  For women without breast cancer, using your own body fat is also an option instead of an implant for cosmetic breast augmentation.  This eliminates the use of foreign body and exposure to breast implant illness”

For women who don’t want to lose their hair during chemotherapy, Dr Mario LaCouture joined the conversation from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a top cancer research and treatment center, to share lesser known options for “cold capping” an FDA approved procedure that freezes hair follicles with a cold cap device to preserve hair.  This same approach can be used to freeze hands, feet and eyebrows to prevent nerve damage, nail loss and eyebrow loss.”

Dr. Molly Powers, a breast cancer patient herself and dermatologist in Michigan, shared funding options for Detroit area women for the expenses of cold capping, through an organization she co-founded called Cap and Conquer. And, for women who lose too much hair during cold capping or prefer the option to preserve their hair before chemo, Deborah McDowell, founder of Hair With A Cause, joined from Los Angeles to share their pre-chemo hair preservation system called “CPR”: Cut, Preserve and Reattach Hair after chemotherapy, as well as extensions for cancer survivors based on her previous work with celebrities in the entertainment industry.

While the diagnosis of any illness can be emotionally and mentally exhausting, it is especially true for those fighting breast cancer. To touch on the mental wellness aspect of breast cancer, Dr. Theresa Egan, a licensed psychologist and emotional wellness practitioner, provided tips to guide friends and family through providing assistance.

“Please do not say, ‘I’m praying for you,’ or ‘things will get better.’ While these things may be true, she does not feel that way. Offer rides. Driving can be exhausting and dangerous through treatments. Offer to drive them to and from doctor’s appointments,” Egan suggests.

Knowing the battle against breast cancer is both mental and physical, feeling beautiful is a key factor in fighting the illness. Through losing hair and physical changes, breast cancer fighters are encouraged to find beauty within themselves. Nurse and makeup artist for The Lip Bar, Whitney Harmon, offered a makeup tutorial to feel and look beautiful through the fight for healing. Noting the “10-minute makeup look” helps, adding some essential products to your everyday look can help enhance feelings of beauty.

“Fast face, it literally takes ten minutes max to do your makeup. So, it’s foundation, eyebrow pencil, face pallet, mascara, eyeliner and that’s really it,” Harmon says. “Its fairly simple and you can create a full-face look in just a few minutes, and you can feel like yourself.”

As cancer testing and treatments can become costly, to help bridge the gap to access and affordability, The Lip Bar and The Salonniere are partnering to provide mammograms to uninsured hospitality workers in the city of Detroit. The Detroit cosmetic line has committed to donating a portion of specific sales proceeds to the Dynami Foundation, who will use the funds to give mammograms and fund basic needs for families that work in the hospitality industry.

“Throughout the end of the year, The Lip Bar will be donating 15 percent of all sales using the promo code BREASTCANCERFIGHTER10 to the Dynami Foundation,” Harmon says. “In order to participate, all you have to do is use the code online or in-store. You’ll receive 10 percent off your order and 15 percent will be going to the Dynami Foundation.”

“To watch the Virtual Salon, head to

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