We are paranoid about everything; what we eat, where we live, our genetic history. Perhaps any one of those factors, or a combination of them, contributes to the development of cancer, but maybe the real culprit is stressing over those things. While the survival rate of breast cancer is 90 percent if caught early, the best thing we can do is continue to be proactive and raise awareness, but are we doing enough?
Someone a few years back put it best – “I don’t have time for cancer.” That someone was a dear friend to Ira Kaganovsky, founder of Freedom natural deodorant, ISPA member and mother of three girls. Operating out of Las Vegas, Kaganovsky is making natural normal through her all-natural antiperspirants. When Kaganovsky’s best friend Cindy (one out of three friends diagnosed with breast cancer in an 18-month time span) was told by her doctor to stop using antiperspirants upon her diagnosis, Kaganovsky, stunned, immediately stopped using them and began searching for natural options instead.
After frequenting her local grocery store in search of natural deodorants, Kaganovsky concluded that they simply did not work; they weren’t absorbing sweat, they didn’t smell great and they weren’t lasting more than a few hours. This continued for a year before Free Brands Inc. was born.
“I turned into a mad scientist,” Kaganovsky said. “I turned my kitchen into a lab where I was melting beeswax and coconut oil, researching all the right ingredients – what smelled right, what looked right, figuring out how to make lavender citrus smoother.”
Kaganovsky gave her first homemade product to Cindy, receiving a phone call from her two days later crying because she didn’t wake up in a pile of sweat, she smelled good and “her kids weren’t afraid of her.” After six months of intensive chemotherapy, Cindy’s skin was reacting poorly to the treatment, she was losing her hair and she was thrust into early menopause. This antiperspirant made her feel normal again amidst the challenging circumstances.
While there is no proof or direct correlation linking the use of unnatural antiperspirant to breast cancer, Cindy’s doctor’s explanation of using something somewhat toxic that close to your lymph nodes was enough for Kaganovsky to pursue her business.
“If you aren’t letting your body get all the toxins out of the body, then where are they going?” Kaganovsky asked herself. “I don’t care what all of the ‘green’ bloggers are saying, natural deodorants sold at drug stores don’t work.”
Wanting answers, Kaganovsky sought out a few local doctors, even chemists, asking their opinion on the leading cause of cancer when they told her, “they don’t know what causes cancer.”
“It’s like the high heel debate,” Kaganovsky told us. “They tell you not to wear them because they aren’t good for your feet, yet everyone does. That’s why we created Freedom. We’re making natural normal, and that doesn’t have to be weird.”
Discovering that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) considers antiperspirant an over-the-counter drug was what further fueled Kaganovsky to make it her mission to educate people on this. Shocked that this isn’t clearly communicated to consumers, Kaganovsky makes it clear that she is building a brand and company that people know they can trust, with the goal to create products that women and men enjoy.
“We get so much through what we eat, breathe and drink – if we don’t know the cause, something is bound to wake the cancer up,” Kaganovsky remarked. “We at least know that the natural stuff is good for you.” Partnering with organizations like the American Cancer Society, The Caring Place and Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, Free Brands makes sure to give back to organizations that are working toward helping individuals with breast cancer. “I thought, if this started because of cancer, we’re going to give back to cancer,” Kaganovsky stated. “We’re making it cool to go natural, and we’re making it easy.”
Discussing preventative measures for breast cancer like eating well and being kind to your body, Kaganovsky was firm on advising women to request ultrasounds along with their mammograms.
“When they ultrasound the breast, they can see more.” She said. “This is especially the case for younger women whose breasts are denser, making it harder for doctors to obtain the most accurate results.”
Being so keen on making her product “normal” to buy and use, Kaganovsky wants to raise the consciousness to spas and fitness centers. Her first retailer was a spa, which made it prestigious. And after selling out at a Four Seasons in two days, Kaganovsky knew this was the right market.
“Working women want nice things,” Kaganovsky said. “So I wanted this to be a gift because it was a gift to Cindy, and spas were a perfect fit.”
Cindy, alive and well and still fighting, (she recently fought her fourth battle with breast cancer) is showing women everywhere that knowledge sharing truly is power.