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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Your Money: Keeping It Safe

Scared yet? The Dow Jones industrials suffered a decline of more than 875 points on Monday and Tuesday, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke predicted that the global financial markets crisis is likely to restrain the economy well into next year.
Americans' retirement plans have lost as much as $2 trillion in the past 15 months, according to Congress' top budget analyst.
It's okay to feel the fear. But it's not okay to react to it. Panicking and making big changes in your accounts is likely to do a heck of a lot more damage than a recession ever could.
Sticking to some tried-and-true principles can help you get through the bad times with your sanity and your savings intact.
"Don't panic, stay the course," said Allan Roth, a financial planner in Colorado Springs. "If you can't be right at least be consistent. We're allowed to feel the emotions, but how we react to them is going to be far more important than any short-term swings."

An Early Start
If you're just starting to think about saving for retirement, don't delay. Despite the upheaval of the past few months — and the past few weeks in particular — it would be a mistake for someone in their 20s or 30s to hold off on investing now.
The key here is the long-term prospects for stocks. Ultimately, stock values hinge on the productivity of U.S. workers and the earnings power of American companies. And it's not as if those engines of long-term growth are about to disappear.
The country may need some time to work through the detritus of the housing bubble and lending excesses. And stock returns could very well be anemic as that happens. But history shows that some of the best long-term gains go to investors willing to buy stocks when they're reviled, as in the years following major setbacks like the 1929 crash and the 1973-1974 bear market.
Of course, the long view may not seem particularly relevant to you at the moment. But remember: the money that you contribute to accounts such as a 401(k) is going to be invested for many years.
The real question isn't whether you should be contributing to a 401(k). It's how you should be investing the money you contribute, as well as the money that's already there.
If you're in your 20's or 30s, you still want most of your 401(k) money in stocks, say between 80% and 90%. That may be a tough sell emotionally in these uncertain times. But the important thing isn't what your 401(k) is worth over the next few years — it's what its value will be in 2040 and beyond.

Even if you're older, you should still think of the money you're contributing now as a long-term investment. But you also need to give some consideration to preserving the assets you've already accumulated.
That means dialing back your stock exposure somewhat, although you don't want to hunker down completely in bonds and cash. Lightening up on stocks will give you more short-term stability. But if you get too conservative, you run the risk of stunting the eventual size of your nest egg — and your lifestyle in retirement.
But before you go tinkering around with your portfolio, keep in mind that while bear markets can hurt a portfolio, how you react to downturns can make matters worse, said Roth. He points out that investing in stocks when they're hot and then running to bonds when they're not has a name: performance chasing.
"When you move in and out, you're actually increasing risk while decreasing your returns," Roth said. Over time, market timing can cost investors around 1.5% a year in returns, according to Roth.

'The Danger Years'
The decade before you quit the work force, along with the five years immediately after, is the most sensitive period in an entire lifetime of retirement planning. The saving, investment and career decisions you make during this time will dictate in a major way whether you'll spend the next 30 to 40 years enjoying the life you've always looked forward to or eating the early-bird special at Denny's.
"It's natural to have a queasy feeling at this time in your life, wondering if your retirement will happen as planned," says Joseph Chadwick of the Longevity Alliance, a financial services firm that specializes in retirement products. "But there's no need to panic."
Stocks held for the long term can be counted on to bounce back eventually. But if you need to sell shares just as they're dropping in value — exactly the scenario many newly minted retirees have faced recently — you run a sharply higher risk that your money will someday run out. That's because when the market does recover, you'll have less money invested to benefit from renewed growth.
Fortunately, there's a minor tweak that can dramatically cut your risk.
Typically, to ensure your nest egg lasts as long as you do, you should withdraw no more than 4% of your savings for living expenses in your first year of retirement. In year two, you might take a little more to account for inflation.
The bear-market adjustment? Give up on the inflation increase until stocks recover.
A study by T. Rowe Price concludes that this simple step cuts the odds of running out of money over a 30-year period in half, from 22% to 11%, on a sample portfolio invested 55% in stocks and 45% in bonds.
Worried that forgoing your inflation raise will bust your budget? Pull a Brett Favre and go back to work part time to make up the "lost" income. You probably won't need to put in more than a few hours a week — a 3% increase on a $75,000 annual withdrawal equals only $200 a month.
Copyrighted, CNNMoney. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is cancer that begins in the lungs, the two organs found in the chest that help you breathe.
The lungs are made up of areas called lobes. The right lung has three lobes; the left lung has two, so there's room for the heart. When you breathe, air goes through your nose, down your windpipe (trachea), and into the lungs where it spreads through tubes called bronchi. Most lung cancer begins in the cells that line these tubes.
There are two main types of lung cancer:
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer.
Small cell lung cancer makes up about 20% of all lung cancer cases.
If the lung cancer is made up of both types, it is called mixed small cell/large cell cancer.
If the cancer started somewhere else in the body and spread to the lungs, it is called
metastatic cancer to the lung.
Lung cancer is the deadliest type of cancer for both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined.
Lung cancer is more common in older adults. It is rare in people under age 45.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.
The more cigarettes you smoke per day and the earlier you started smoking, the greater your risk of lung cancer. There is no evidence that smoking low-tar cigarettes lowers the risk.
However, lung cancer has occurred in people who have never smoked.
Secondhand smoke (breathing the smoke of others) increases your risk of lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 3,000 non-smoking adults will die each year from lung cancer related to breathing secondhand smoke.
The following may also increase one's risk of lung cancer:
High levels of air pollution
High levels of arsenic in drinking water
Radon gas
Family history of lung cancer
Radiation therapy to the lungs
Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals such as uranium, beryllium, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, chloromethyl ethers, gasoline, and diesel exhaust
Early lung cancer may not cause any symptoms. Many times, lung cancer is found when an x-ray is done for another reason.
Symptoms depend on the specific type of cancer you have, but may include:
Cough that doesn't go away
Coughing up blood
Shortness of breath
Chest pain
Loss of appetite
Losing weight without trying
Additional symptoms that may also occur with lung cancer:
Swallowing difficulty
Nail problems
Joint pain
Hoarseness or changing voice
Swelling of the face
Facial paralysis
Eyelid drooping
Bone pain or tenderness
These symptoms can also be due to other, less serious conditions, so it is important to talk to your health care provider.

Exams and Tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history. You will be asked if you smoke, and if so, how long you have smoked.
When listening to the chest with a stethoscope, the health care provider can sometimes hear fluid around the lungs, which could (but doesn't always) suggest cancer.
Tests that may be performed include:
Chest x-ray
Sputum cytology test
Blood work
CT scan of the chest
MRI of the chest
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
In some cases, the health care provider may need to remove a piece of tissue from your lungs for examination under a microscope. This is called a biopsy. There are several ways to do this:
Bronchoscopy combined with biopsy
Pleural biopsy
CT scan directed needle biopsy
Mediastinoscopy with biopsy
Open lung biopsy
Treatment depends on the specific type of lung cancer. Each type is treated differently. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery may be needed.
See the individual articles on the different types of lung cancer:
Non-small cell lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer

Outlook (Prognosis)
How well a patient does depends on the following:
Type of lung cancer
Whether or not the cancer has spread
Your age
Your overall health
How well you respond to treatment
The earlier the cancer is found, the better the chances of survival. Lung cancer is a deadly disease. Nearly 60% of people with lung cancer die within a year. However, some people are cured and go on to live many years.
Possible Complications
The cancer may spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). Cancer treatment can cause significant side effects.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of lung cancer (particularly if you smoke).
If you smoke, quit. It is never too late to stop smoking. You should also avoid breathing in the smoke from other people's cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help prevent some cases of lung cancer.
Alberg AJ, Ford JG, Samet JM; American College of Chest Physicians. Epidemiology of lung cancer: ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (2nd edition). Chest. 2007;132:29S-55S.
Bach PB, Silvestri GA, Hanger M, Jett JR. Screening for lung cancer: ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (2nd edition). Chest. 2007;132:69S-77S.
National Cancer Institute.
Lung Cancer Home Page. Bethesda, MD: U.S. National Institutes of Health. Accessed August 3, 2008
Jett JR, Schild SE, Keith RL, Kesler KA. Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, stage IIIB: ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (2nd edition). Chest. 2007;132:266S-276S.
Johnson DH, Blot WJ, Carbone DP, et al. Cancer of the lung_ Non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, Kastan MB, McKena WG. Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008:chap 76.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Swimsuit Shopping Guide: 3 Tips for Every Body Type

Prepare to be a beach bombshell: From tummy-trimming wonders to lift-em-up champs, these genius style tricks and super flattering suits will turn even the most swimsuit-wary gal into a certified sun goddess.

"Find me a suit that Fits." Shakira Chin, 30, is a size 8 on top and a 12 on bottom—and her before suit wasn’t flattering anything. The boy shorts cut across her hips and emphasized them; the string top made her shoulders seem more narrow. To the rescue? Separates in two different sizes! The higher-cut briefs of her “after” suit minimize her hips while the white-edged halter draws attention up. Voila—Shakira’s balanced. “I look and feel amazing,” she says.
The Dos & Don’ts of slimming hips
Don’t go wild on bottom.The less going on there, well—the less going on there!
Do bring focus upwith a top in a lighter color, or with fun details or a pretty pattern.
Do go for a fairly high-cut bottomto create the illusion of longer, leaner legs.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Angelina's New Title: Most Powerful Celebrity in the World

Watch out, Oprah! This year Angelina has the power. Angelina Jolie nabbed the No. 1 spot on Forbes' 2009 Celebrity 100 list, the magazine announced Wednesday, topping Winfrey who slipped to No. 2 after two consecutive years at the top. According to the magazine, wealth is only one factor in determining the most powerful celebrity, and Jolie's $27 million in earnings last year combined with her fame determined her ranking. (Interestingly, Winfrey grossed $275 million in 2008.) Rounding out the top 5 positions in Forbes' rankings: Madonna, whose Hard Candy tour and $110 million income landed her the No. 3 slot; Beyoncé is No. 4; and Tiger Woods fell to No. 5 on the list, down from No. 2 last year.Notable newcomers to Forbes' power list include Taylor Swift (No. 69), fellow country star Toby Keith (No. 59) and 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin (No. 91). Meanwhile, Barack Obama (No. 49) became the first sitting head of state to appear on the list. The reason? His historic election made him the most famous person in the world, Forbes says, and also increased his book sales.