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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Olivia Hutcherson’s life as a professional dancer in New York City took an unprecedented turn on the night of her 26th birthday in 2015.

Hutcherson, now 27, saw blood on the inside of her blouse at the end of the night.

“The following day, I went into the doctor's office and they told me that it was nothing to worry about but I felt like something was wrong,” Hutcherson told ABC News’ Amy Robach in an interview that aired Friday on Good Morning America. “I went back to the doctor just three days later.”

Hutcherson said she requested a mammogram but was initially discouraged against one by her medical team because she was 26, had never smoked and had no family history of breast cancer.

“I wasn’t leaving until I got it,” Hutcherson said.

Three mammograms later, Hutcherson was diagnosed with DCIS, the earliest stage of breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy just three weeks later. Doctors found a tumor in Hutcherson's right breast during the double mastectomy that required chemotherapy.

Hutcherson, who is currently cancer-free, said she had “no idea” she could get breast cancer at the age of 26. Statistics show she is not alone in facing the disease at an early age.

An estimated 12,000 women under the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. each year, according to The American Cancer Society.

Robach was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 after undergoing her first-ever mammogram live on Good Morning America in 2013. Jennifer Finkelstein, of New York City, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 at age 32.

“It was five weeks before my wedding,” Finkelstein recalled of her diagnosis. “I underwent a single mastectomy and chemotherapy weeks later instead of a honeymoon.”

Finkelstein, now cancer-free, turned what she called the “most isolating” experience of her life into a way to help others. She launched the 5 Under 40 organization that provides medical, emotional and beauty services to women under 40 who are fighting breast cancer.

Hutcherson is one of the women that Finkelstein’s organization has helped.

“They helped me with the wig, they helped me with the head shaving, and there's always somebody on the other end of the line to get you through the moment,” Hutcherson said.

In addition to the double mastectomy, Hutcherson also froze her eggs after her cancer diagnosis. She recalled to Robach what it was like to date while undergoing treatment.

“I'm, like, out on a date with my wig -- I'll never forget -- and this guy was like, ‘Babe, you have the most beautiful hair,’” she said. “And I'm like, huh, that’s awkward.”

Now more than one year after her diagnosis, Hutcherson has ditched her wig and returned to the dance studio with a new motto: "Liv Strong."

“A warrior princess is who I see,” Hutcherson said of looking at herself today. “I see this strong soul, and that’s really powerful.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Do you have an insatiable urge to move your legs or a feeling of creepy crawlies on them at night? If so, you may have restless legs syndrome.

RLS is a common neurologic condition affecting about 7 to 10 percent of the population. Not only does it impact your legs but also your mood.

It can be incredibly disruptive to sleep because it tends to be worse at night. Symptoms often start at rest and are relieved or lessened with movement.

If you experience this, here’s what I suggest:

  • First, don’t panic. Start with a visit to your primary care physician and possibly visit a neurologist or sleep specialist.
  • Treating an underlying condition like iron deficiency can be a big help, as can certain prescription medications, baths or relaxation techniques.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Ca-ssis/iStock/Thinkstock(GENEVA) -- More than one million people in low- and middle-income countries worldwide have been treated with a relatively new cure for hepatitis C in the two years since the treatment's introduction.

According to the World Health Organization, Direct Acting Antivirals were first approved in 2013, and despite fears that a high cost would put them out of reach for many of the 80 million who suffer from the disease worldwide, more than one million have already gained access to the treatment. The WHO says the new medicines have a cure rate of over 95 percent and fewer side effects than previously available treatments.

Still, DAAs cost an estimated $85,000, making them unaffordable even in some high-income countries.

The WHO and other partners have worked to make the treatment available in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and others. Dr. Gottfried Hirnschall, Director of WHO's Department of HIV and Global Hepatitis Programme said that "maximizing access to lifesaving hepatitis C treatment is a priority" for the organization.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- A mother who survived cancer is now celebrating her baby daughter's medical triumph.

The baby girl, who was born at 23 weeks and given a 26 percent chance of survival, has just celebrated her first birthday.

Ajshay James beat cancer in 2010, after battling a type of brain cancer called astrocytoma for four years. So, when she and her then-boyfriend decided to have a child together, James was ecstatic.

"I was really excited to be a mom. It’s something I've waited for a long time," James, 35, told ABC News. "I, myself, am a cancer survivor and I didn’t think it would happen for me."

James had a difficult pregnancy -- from spotting to seizures. In fact, she had to deliver her baby, whom she named Harper, at only 23 weeks after doctors discovered James' umbilical cord was "hanging down."

"It was an immediate threat to my life and an immediate threat to Harper's life," James said.

James also had a difficult birthing process as doctors found three fibroid tumors, which had grown to 17 centimeters, that they had to cut out.

"I lost a lot of blood," James recalled. "I almost didn't make it. She almost didn't make it."

When Harper was born on Sept. 9, 2015, she weighed only 13 ounces. Due to her incomplete development and small size, doctors told James her daughter had a 26 percent chance of survival.

The Houston, Texas woman said because she didn't have the opportunity to take the "normal birthing photos, where I'd hold her and kiss her," she decided she'd go all out for Harper's first birthday with a glamorous photo shoot.

"She was the size of a soda can. You could look through her; she was red in color. She didn't look anything like a baby," James said of Harper when she was first born. "She's what they call a micro-preemie."

Harper will still face developmental challenges. James said her daughter has the capabilities of a five-month-old and is still learning how to crawl. Still, James is optimistic.

"But she's always had a smile from day one and that's what fills me," the proud mother said.

Although it's been a difficult year for the mother and daughter, James told ABC News she has no regrets.

"The journey has been amazing. I not only have the blessing of a daughter, but I've learned so much about my own personal strength," James said. "It's really helped me define and redefine who I am as a woman and as a mother."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Alexandra Grablewski/DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A study published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association refutes the long-held theory that cranberry capsules can cure urinary tract infecctions in nursing home residents.

The study is the latest data point in decades of conflicting evidence as to the efficacy of the "cranberry cure." While some studies indicated that there was a benefit to using cranberry capsules as a preventative measure, the science remained weak.

Bacteria plus pyuria, the researchers note, is common in older women living in nursing homes. However, when they performed their study, using 185 women over the age of 65, they found no significant difference in the presence of bacteria.

Researchers say 147 women completed the one-year study, but the difference in incidence of urinary tract infection was small -- 10 UTIs in the group receiving cranberry capsules, as compared to 12 in the group receiving a placebo.

Urinary tract infections lead to approximately nine million doctor visits each year, and over one million hospitalizations, mostly involving women.

An editorial also published in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that while further research can be done to find more effective preventative measures, "it is time to move on from cranberries."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Stout Family(O'FALLON, Mo.) -- A 9-year-old girl has become an honorary firefighter as she bravely battles a rare form of cancer.

"She was dancing around saying, 'I'm an honorary firefighter!'" mom Robin Stout of O'Fallon, Missouri, told ABC News. "She was just skipping through the firehouse and was so excited. I was so overwhelmed by their kindness and love and the whole thing was completely amazing."

On May 15, 2014, Keira Stout was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of sarcoma. A tumor had developed behind Keira's right eye, severing her optic nerve and causing her to lose vision in that eye.

Keira underwent several rounds of chemotherapy but her cancer has since returned and is now in her bone marrow, pelvis and spine, her mother said.

"When things get really tough I'll ask her, 'Are you scared?' and she'll say, 'No, I'm not scared,'" Stout said. "She's just very positive and she's kind of an old soul in a tiny little body."

Through mutual friends, the Stouts developed a relationship with the firefighters of the O'Fallon Fire Protection District in September 2015.

Keira became particularly close to firefighter Tom Vogelgesang and even shaved his head during an event for the St. Baldrick's Foundation -- a non-profit organization that raises funds to help find cures for children with cancer.

"They instantly became great friends," Stout said of Keira and Vogelgesang. "She does that. She kind of wiggles into people's hearts. She was like, 'That's my Mr. Tom now.'"

Tom Vogelgesang told ABC News that Brian Moore, assistant chief of the district, came up with the idea to hold a surprise ceremony and name Keira honorary firefighter.

"Everybody knew how Keira and I have been getting close," Vogelgesang said. "We have become friends, her parents and I, and it just seemed like the thing to do for her. It's just her resilience to bounce back. To see her be a child and to hear her talk about cancer and how you can fight it, it's just absolutely incredible."

With her family and a large crowd in attendance, Keira Stout was sworn into the O'Fallon Fire Protection District on Oct. 24.

She even received her own gear, badge and a personalized purple helmet that reads "Keira Strong."

"The first thing she said to me was, 'I can't believe you kept this a secret,'" Stout said of her daughter. "Then she kept asking me, 'Can I wear this to school?'"

On March 4, 2017, Keira and Vogelgesang will be shaving each other's heads during another event for the St. Baldrick's Foundation.

Keira's goal is to grow the hair back that she lost from radiation in time for the event.

"She said, 'I have to hurry up and finish [chemo] so my hair can grow back and he can shave my head too,'" Stout said. "I said, 'What happens if it doesn't?' She gets fixated on certain things and I didn't want her to get her hopes up but she said, 'That's OK, I'll just shave [Mr. Tom's] head then and anyone else who wants their head shaved."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Previous studies have proven a link between a sedentary lifestyle and poor health. But a sweeping new study puts its impact in stark focus.

Researchers fitted 2,500 people with wearable devices like Fitbits for eight days and found that every extra hour a day of inactivity translated into a 22 percent increased risk of diabetes.

This should serve as an important reminder to keep moving. Diabetes is a major risk factor for blindness, heart disease, kidney and vascular problems.

Here's my prescription:

  • Whenever possible, stand rather than sit.
  • If you work at a desk, make sure to get up for a brief walk every hour.
  • Try to take the stairs at least once a day.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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jarun011/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The man who was dubbed "patient zero" and long thought by many to have kick-started the North American HIV/AIDS epidemic actually had little to do with the spread of the virus, according to a new study published Wednesday the medical journal Nature that sheds new light on how HIV emerged in the U.S.

Using blood samples stored for decades and harnessing advanced methods to sequence the genome, the researchers, from multiple institutions including the University of Arizona, were able to reconstruct a comprehensive genome for eight patients dating back to 1978-1979.

The researchers used genetic methods to track and time the evolution of the genes of HIV and timed the emergence of HIV out of Africa to the Caribbean to 1967. As a result, they found that the American epidemic originated in the Caribbean in 1970 before arriving in the U.S.

After the disease arrived in New York City sometime between 1970 and 1974, the study data suggests that the disease quickly spread from New York City to the rest of the country. The HIV epidemic that emerged in San Francisco in 1978 was traced to a single “introduction” from New York City in 1976, according to the study findings.

In a further revision to the historical narrative, researchers also found that one patient often called "patient zero" in media reports likely had little to do with the spread of the disease, and that his infamous title was actually the result of a typo.

For many years, many had pointed to this "patient zero" as being instrumental in spreading the disease in various parts of the U.S. The book "The Band Played On," which documented the early days of the HIV crisis, complicated the story by naming the patient and identifying him as a French-Canadian flight attendant. Media coverage then used information from the book to "strongly" insinuate this man was the source of the North American HIV epidemic, according to the study researchers.

However, after examining his HIV genome, the study researchers found "patient zero's" virus to be "typical of U.S. strains at the time." Subsequent research and new information on the period of time the virus could remain dormant also revealed it was unlikely "Patient 0" had caused the HIV clusters to develop. The researchers found that this person had no “special role” in the epidemic.

Even the patient's title was also the result of a typo. In the records, he was actually labeled Patient "O" -- indicating the patient was “Out[side]-of-California."

While HIV can now largely be controlled with daily medication, it is still responsible for thousands of deaths every year in the U.S. An estimated 1.2 million people in the U.S. are infected with HIV and approximately one in eight are unaware they have the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though discrimination against people who have HIV still exists in some communities, groups are working to break through the stigma and advocates said they hope this study can be a catalyst for change.

Kelsey Louie, CEO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an HIV advocacy organization, pointed out that HIV and AIDS groups have been calling for action rather than just assigning blame.

“Society, and in particular the media, were all too eager to cast blame on a single person, rather than reflect on the stigma they were creating and the lack of political will to actually do something about the disease," Louie told ABC News.

The federal government recommends that all people between the ages of 15 and 65 be screened for HIV, regardless of risk factors. Frequent testing is suggested for people at high risk, including men who have sex with men, people who use injection drugs, and those who have been diagnosed with a different sexually transmitted infection. People at risk for HIV can substantially reduce their risk through use of condoms, and for certain groups, taking a medication daily.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Purestock/iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Federal regulators are investigating a cardiac device after the death of a patient in Los Angeles.

Cedars-Sinai Hospital alerted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this month about the device, called the SynCardia Freedom portable driver, after a patient with the device died, hospital officials said.

"The apparent failure of the Freedom Driver -- a portable, external pump that powers an artificial heart -- resulted in the death of a patient," hospital officials told ABC News in an email.

Neither the FDA nor Cedars-Sinai disclosed when the patient died.

The Freedom portable driver pump is attached to the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart to help patients whose own hearts have stopped working effectively. The portability of the pump allows qualified patients to wait at home for a heart transplant. The longest time a patient successfully remained on the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is 1,374 days before receiving a successful heart transplant, according to the SynCardia website.

After the death of the patient, hospital officials asked other patients to come into the hospital to either remove the device in exchange for another version or to be monitored in the intensive care unit, according to hospital officials. In total, five patients at Cedars-Sinai were on the device as a stopgap measure as they waited for a heart transplant. Three of the patients were switched to a hospital console device to help pump the blood and two remained on the Freedom Driver device, since they were not healthy enough to switch devices, according to Cedars-Sinai.

"Until there is guidance from the FDA or other regulatory agencies, Cedars-Sinai has stopped using the Freedom Driver with any new artificial heart patients," a spokeswoman for the hospital told ABC News.

The FDA gave clarification for providers on Wednesday, acknowledging that the agency is studying the Freedom device system. According to the FDA, there have been reported instances of Freedom Driver "device malfunctions," which have resulted after "sudden cessation" of the pump without "warning alarms or recognizable signs of impending malfunctions."

Some of the devices were recalled in August 2015 by SynCardia after "a specific part of the Freedom Driver drive mechanism" was found to possibly fail, causing the device to stop pumping, according to the FDA. The company sent an "Urgent Medical Device Recall" for 29 devices in the U.S.

The FDA also issued its own recall for the device in September 2015.

"Patients do not receive any advanced warning that the device may fail. If it does fail, a red light located in the center of the driver, towards the top, will stay red and a loud continuous alarm will sound," the FDA said in the recall notice. "However, if the Freedom Driver stops pumping, the patient will lose consciousness almost immediately, which means that the warning light and alarm may not be helpful. The patient will likely experience serious injury or death if not immediately switched to a backup driver by a caregiver."

However, in today's statement, the FDA wrote these recent malfunction reports "appear to be unrelated" to that recall.

In the same notice, the FDA looked at updated information from SynCardia regarding another device called the C2 Driver system, used to help pump blood through the artificial heart. The device had previously been associated with increased rates of mortality and adverse neurological effects in patients when compared to an older device. New findings showed that the device was still associated with increased risk, though the sample size was very small and results were not adjusted for any confounding factors and didn't take into account therapies tried before the implantation of the device in question.

In a statement to Kaiser Health News last week, SynCardia CEO Michael Garippa said the patient who died after using the Freedom device had been "near death."

“It is unfortunate, but that particular patient was on our device for over 500 days, and we extended the life of that patient, who was extremely ill and near death at the time of his artificial heart implant,” Garippa told Kaiser Health News.

SynCardia did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

In light of these reported malfunctions, the FDA now recommends medical providers "consider mortality and neurological adverse event results and device malfunction reports" if they consider using the Freedom Driver or similar device like the C2 Driver system in patients. The FDA is also asking medical providers to promptly report any adverse events associated with these devices.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Courtesy Danielle Hacet(NEW YORK) -- The first clue that something was wrong with Danielle Hacet's brain was when she thought she smelled smoke everywhere.

"At 26, I started smelling fire in random places -- I would be on an airplane, I would be outside," Hacet told ABC News. "Anywhere you could think of I would randomly smell fire."

Hacet initially thought she had a psychological problem, but a neurologist quickly discovered she was having "olefactory hallucinations" and a nerve cell disorder that caused "partial focal seizures." These seizures were virtually undetectable to anyone else, but it meant that Hacet could not drive and could "zone out" at any moment.

Scans revealed scar tissue in her brain, likely the result of a bacterial meningitis infection she contracted as an infant. Hacet's infection caused her to be hearing impaired, but she did not have seizures before.

"As soon as the doctors heard I had meningitis," Hacet told ABC News, "they said ‘Bingo, we know where this is from.’"

Doctors put her on seizure medication, but nothing seemed to help. Hacet found herself frustrated by the effects of the medications. An avid runner, Hacet, of New York City, found her start times slow.

"I had been interested in surgery from day one," Hacet said. "I didn't like the idea of being on medication for the rest of my life."

In July of last year, after spending years without significant improvement from her medications, Hacet decided to have brain surgery to remove old scar tissue from her brain. Though she was anxious to have the operation, she was unprepared for the aftermath.

"I was incredibly helpless," Hacet recalled, "having to rely on my mom and everyone else. It was difficult."

Immediately after the operation, Hacet suffered double vision and an impaired ability to walk, much less run.

"I couldn't walk very well, it was very embarrassing to me to have to be in a wheelchair," said Hacet.

While she was recovering, she returned to her parent's home in Louisville, Kentucky. After weeks of work on regaining her balance, Hacet was delighted to put her running shoes back on for a short two-mile run late last year.

"I only ran like 2 miles or so and I remember being so excited and it was so amazing to be back," said Hacet.

Initially, Hacet's goal was simply to get her health back and said running helped her with her recovery.

"It's a release and it's cathartic," she said.

In January of this year, Hacet had recovered enough from the surgery to run a half-marathon with a friend. After the race, her friend pushed her to do more.

"She told me she was running the New York City Marathon [and] she asked me if i wanted to do it with her," said Hacet.

Despite having brain surgery just months earlier, Hacet said she knew she wanted to run New York City’s marathon again. The first time she ran the marathon in 2013, she had been heavily medicated for her seizures. Now, since she had the surgery to stop the seizures and was not as medicated, she felt she was in a better position to train and race.

"I wanted to challenge myself again," Hacet said. "Running is so important to me and has always been a part of my life."

Hacet has been diligently training for the upcoming TCS New York Marathon next month. Since her doctors are weaning her off her seizure medications, her times have already started to improve. Hacet said after the ordeal of the last few years, she is excited to simply complete the race.

Personal fulfillment is the main goal now.

"Honestly, [it’s about] just crossing the finish line and proving that I can do it again," she said.

Hacet said she and her friend are working hard to prepare and know it will be worth it.

"We're both just looking forward to cheering when it's over and celebrating right after," she said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Germaphobes, listen up: A new book is encouraging parents to let their kids get dirty.

You may have already heard some say that germs can build children’s immune systems and keep them healthy. The author of Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World adds that keeping kids too clean puts them at risk for asthma, diabetes and even obesity.

The book recommends washing hands after using the bathroom, before eating, after being with a sick person or in crowds like a mall or subway, but not after just coming in from playing outside.

Here's my prescription: Germs are everywhere, and bacteria aren’t always bad for us. Having diverse bacterial environments on and inside our bodies is actually good for us.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For so many Americans, access to high quality and personalized healthcare isn’t always a given. Anika Robinson knows that all too well.

On Nov. 13, 2015, Robinson, 40, got a phone call from her doctor that immediately changed her life.

“I'm just out for the day enjoying my day. And I get this call that there's a situation, that it's problematic. And I'm like, 'What do you mean it's problematic?'" she said.

The doctor's reply floored her.

"’You have breast cancer. And it's problematic because it's both breasts,’" she said, recalling the doctor telling her that she had stage 3 breast cancer.

“It was just devastating news. And I said ’Why would he call me? Why wouldn't he call me earlier in the day to come in? It's a Friday night,’” the Bronx resident said.

The doctor was unavailable over the weekend, Robinson said. Facing many unanswered questions, Robinson went online to research treatment centers in her area and she discovered Dr. Gina Villani and the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care in Harlem. Robinson said she immediately found solace in the welcoming environment at the center.

“When I met Dr. Villani and she gave me a hug and told me to step into her office,” Robinson said. “And when she said, ‘You're going to be all right. You're going to be cured’ ... I just cried.”

Robinson underwent chemotherapy at the center. She is now in remission and is very grateful for the care and treatment she experienced.

“It's really important to us that when somebody walks in the door, they understand that we're going to take care of them,” Villani said.

GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts sat down with David Lauren, the executive vice president of the center’s Board of Trustees, to learn more about the Lauren family's commitment to fighting health disparities and raising awareness about breast cancer research. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Lauren said there was a “huge disparity” in cancer treatment between wealthy and poor communities.

Every year, the center receives more than 12,000 patients -- 80 percent of whom count on Medicaid or Medicare for their health care needs, according to the center.

Founded in 2003 as a joint venture with the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care was established after a meeting between Ralph Lauren and Dr. Harold Freeman.

“The story that Dr. Freeman tells is he expected to leave and wait for weeks or months for Ralph Lauren to respond. And at the end of the meeting, my dad just turned to him and said, ‘I'm in. What do you need? How much?’ and Dr. Freeman gave him a number, and my father said, ‘Great, we're going to support it,’ and he has ever since,” David Lauren said.

Today, Ralph Lauren is synonymous with the Pink Pony Fund, the company’s worldwide initiative in the fight against cancer. Sales of products bearing the pink pony logo support programs for screening, early diagnosis, treatment, research and patient navigation.

“When Ralph Lauren started to take the logo and turn it pink, it was the beginning of companies really making it part of their corporate culture. It was the start of what is not commonplace,” David Lauren said. “Today, the goals are to build on that, to really grow the Ralph Lauren Cancer Center into something that the community knows about, and that they trust. But also get involved with cancer all around the world.”

Lauren added that the Ralph Lauren Corporation’s employees and customers also raise money for other international cancer-fighting campaigns across the nation and the world.

“I mean, no matter where you live, cancer is affecting men and women, and children, and families. And so, our goal is to fight it,” Lauren said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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JimHumbleLive / YouTube(NEW YORK) — A supposed “miracle cure” for autism is really a kind of industrial bleach, federal prosecutors say, but that hasn’t stopped people claiming to be archbishops of a church from urging desperate parents to use it on their autistic children.

“This is a poison. This is a high-strength industrial bleach,” said Dr. Paul Wang, senior vice president of Autism Speaks.

Yet, under the guise of the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, it's estimated that the “miracle cure” has attracted thousands of desperate American parents who have given it to their autistic children.

“It really scares me that people would give this to their kids because it is a poison,” said Wang, in an interview to be broadcast Friday on ABC News' 20/20.

The church leaders say people who take the "cure" should not worry if they suffer side effects of bouts of diarrhea and nausea. They say it is a sign it's working and that a few drops will not cause any harm.

Wang said it is no different that torturing autistic children.

“A lot of kids with autism do not have good communication skills,” he said. “So they can’t say that it’s hurting them.”

Like many parents of autistic children, Roland Eggers looked into the claims being made for the “miracle cure.”

“You thrive on this illusion that you’re going to somehow fix your kid or that one day you’re gonna unautismize your child,” he told ABC News.

But after checking online, Eggers quickly concluded he would not use it for his 12-year-old son Mitchell.

“They’ve got their own Facebook group. There are people admitting to using this stuff on their children. Children are experiencing symptoms,” Eggers said he found. “You are doing it at the expense of these defenseless children. How, how, how can you not call that evil?”

The man who says he discovered the miracle cure and founded the Genesis II church is a one-time gold prospector from Nevada, Jim Humble, who calls himself an archbishop and claims he came to Earth from another galaxy.

But as wacky as he may sound, it appears that Archbishop Humble and other church leaders have prospered, using slick internet videos promoting the “miracle cure” called MMS, and calling it a church sacrament available for anyone offering "donations." One website offered five sets of chemicals to make MMS for “donations” of $95.99.

Tests conducted for ABC News show the “miracle cure” is little more than a chemical that when mixed with citric acid produces chlorine dioxide.

Federal prosecutors said it would be useful to clean swimming pools or kitchen countertops, but does not cure autism or anything else.

“They might as well be selling Clorox,” said Ben Mizer of the U.S. Department of Justice, who has overseen the prosecution of at least one person selling the "miracle cure."

“You wouldn’t drink Clorox so there is no reason you should drink MMS," he said.

And, Mizer said, Humble and others are wrong if they think forming a church protects them from possible prosecution.

“They can be prosecuted, yes, if they are selling it in order to cure diseases and are telling people that it will cure diseases,” Mizer said.

Now under scrutiny by U.S. authorities, Humble has lived in Mexico for the last few years, where ABC News tracked him down earlier this month.

He reaffirmed his advice that autistic children should be treated with a few drops of the MMS cure.

“I do, yes," he said.

And when asked if he was a con man, Humble said, “It’s ain’t true.”

Dr. Wang of Autism Speaks said Humble and his followers are taking advantage of vulnerable parents.

“Unfortunately, there’s no cure. There are a lot of things that can help kids with autism and adults with autism, too, but there’s not cure for it,” Wang said. "You can’t blame any parent for wanting to help their child. In this case, we just want to make sure everybody understands MMS is not a cure."

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moodboard/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration acknowledged on Monday that premiums for its popular health care plans will rise substantially next year, another hiccup for the president’s signature law, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Insurers are set to raise the premiums for plans sold through by an average 22 percent in 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a report. This is approximately triple the percentage increase from 2015 to 2016, when premiums increased by 7.5 percent.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell cautioned that issuers are “continuing to adapt” to a market that looks very different than it did before Obamacare, one in which they are trying to compete for costumers “based on price and quality,” and not necessarily by “finding the healthiest customers.”

Premiums are also impacted by efforts to undermine the health-care law, Burwell said in a statement Monday, including certain states’ decisions not to expand Medicaid and actions taken by a Republican-led Congress to block funding for the law.

“I encourage anyone who might need 2017 coverage to visit and check out this year’s options for yourself,” Burwell said.

While some may want to blame the health insurance companies and stockholders, there are economic and financial reasons that explain the increase.

As the industry rolls out premium increases in 2017, where will consumers feel the most pain? Here's a look at the premium hikes and what it means for those individuals with plans created under Obamacare, and for those looking to sign up for new coverage plans:

What to Know About the Enrollment Period for 2017

The Affordable Care Act mandated that insurance companies cannot deny insurance to people with pre-existing conditions for plans in the marketplace. While this allows everyone to access health care, some patients have chronic medical conditions that are known to significantly increase the amount that insurance companies will have to pay out in claims.

The enrollment opens Nov. 1 and plans are available on and most state-run exchanges for millions of Americans. Even though average premiums on some plans will increase, HHS says that more than 70 percent of those purchasing insurance through the marketplaces are eligible to get a health plan for less than $75 a month for 2017.

To access coverage effective on Jan.1, consumers must decide on a plan in the coming weeks, and it is expected that the last day to register for a 2017 health plan is Jan. 31, 2017. For those looking for better deals while shopping for coverage, the administration recommends a low-cost plan that will often have more limited benefits. The administration also says some consumers may find lower-cost plans by switching out of their current ACA plan.

Predictions Were Wrong

When Obamacare was first implemented, many insurance companies did not have information on their new subscribers, who might not have had health insurance previously.

A 2015 report from health care consulting firm McKinsey & Company found that insurance companies lost $2.7 billion on the individual market, in part due to more claims than expected.

Complicating these forecasts is the fact that patients who are in the top 5 percent of health care spending account for 49 percent of all health care expenditures, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Additionally, when people with illnesses know that they will use more health care, they have a tendency to buy more comprehensive health insurance.

While the government has several programs to help redistribute insurance risk, not all companies have benefited, resulting in continued losses.

The disparity between what was predicted on costs and what the reality is for insurers means some insurers are making less money than predicted from an Obamacare program.

Insurance Companies Leaving the Marketplace

In many markets, insurance companies that currently offer money-losing plans are planning to discontinue offering those options to consumers.

UnitedHealthcare and Aetna have both signaled their intention to leave many markets. This leaves less competition. In five states -- Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming -- there will be only a single company offering plans on the marketplace, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The average number of insurers participating in the marketplace in states that use will be 3.9 in 2017, which is down from 2016 when there was an average of 5.4 insurers per state, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

A single plan on the marketplace means there is no competition between companies that could help drive down prices for consumers.

Health Care Is Expensive

The cost of medical care and drugs is high, and increasing. While increased prices for EpiPens and other drugs have grabbed headlines, overall health expenditures have grown at lower rates in recent years (around 5 percent a year) but the Kaiser Family Foundation says there's evidence these numbers could again increase.

New medical treatments and drugs, especially for conditions like cancer, are especially pricey. As more sick people have insurance, they can get more expensive treatments that previously they could not afford or paid out of pocket. These expensive procedures can drive up premiums for the entire pool of insurance customers.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Arctic-Images/Getty Images(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- An Olympic gold medalist took to social media recently to thank a fan for drawing attention to a suspicious mole on his chest, saying initially he'd been "blasé" about having it checked out himself.

On Friday, Australian swimmer Mack Horton, 20, of Melbourne, posted a picture of himself giving a thumbs-up, with a bandage taped to his chest.

"Shout out to the person that emailed the swim team doctor and told me to get my mole checked out," Horton wrote in a caption. "Good call. Very good call."

In his Olympic debut, Horton won the gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

According to Australia's Herald Sun, Horton had the mole removed Thursday. Test results were not immediately known.

Horton told the news outlet that someone had emailed his team's doctors, encouraging him to have the mole examined. He said team doctors gave him a referral to see a specialist but he didn't make the appointment till weeks later.

"They [doctors] just looked at it and said, 'Let's take it out now,'" Horton told the Herald Sun. "Sometimes I was blasé and sometimes I'd see it in the mirror and say 'I probably should get this one checked out' because I had noticed it had been changing a little bit, but I guess this person calling me out on it made me finally go and do it, which was a good thing."

He added: "It's a good little reminder for everyone out there to go and get their skin checked."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., and the American Cancer Society notes that more than 5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year.

Doctors say everyone should check their own bodies at least once a month and see a dermatologist annually. Moles that are considered normal will appear round, even-colored and contain no irregularities on the edges, they say. To prevent skin cancer, they also suggest wearing sunscreen year-round, hats and anything that helps protect against sun exposure.

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