Lately, there has been a lot of talk about women receiving genetic testing to find out if they have the BRAC1, BRAC2 or any gene mutations. While there are several different stances you can take on genetic testing, it is imperative to know the facts. With the help of Gwinnett Medical Center, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about genetic testing.


Q: Who should consider getting genetic testing done?

A: GMC suggests that anyone with a strong personal or family history of breast, ovarian, colorectal or endometrial cancer could benefits from genetic testing. GMC also offered genetic counseling for those with a high risk of cancer.

Q: What percentage of cancer is hereditary?

A: Only five to ten percent of cancer is caused by inherited gene mutations. What’s more, not everyone who carries a gene mutation will develop cancer in their lifetime.

Q: How is genetic testing done?

A: At GMC, they take a sample of your cells from the inside of your mouth or from your blood. These samples are then sent to a lab where technicians looks for certain changes in your DNA.

Q: What does genetic counseling include at GMC?

A: during genetic counseling at GMC, they will look at a detailed version of your family’s medical history. They will also asses your risk and your family’s rick for developing cancer, discuss the pros and cons of genetic testing with your and offer you counsel in order to help you make the best decision for your health.

Q: You got tested and are high risk for breast cancer, what now?

A: At GMC, they offer a High Risk Clinic where they will help you develop a plan to try to prevent you from getting cancer, as well as an early detection plan.

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This classic dessert comes from local dietitian, food journalist and author Carolyn O’Neil’s latest work, “The Slim Down South Cookbook.” She has given these bars a trendy twist with a sprinkle of kosher salt – a simple addition that can upgrade a variety of sweet treats to a new level of tasty. Plus, at less than 170 calories per bar and a total prep time of less than an hour, this will give you an easy, guilt-free treat to enjoy while your kids dive into their Halloween candy.



Vegetable cooking spray

1½ cups finely crushed pretzel sticks

½ cup butter, melted

3 tbsp. sugar

1 large egg white

2 tbsp. fat-free milk

40 caramels

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¾ cup finely chopped pecans

¼ tsp. sea salt


Preheat oven to 375°. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides. Coat foil with cooking spray.

Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter, sugar and egg white. Press mixture on bottom of pan. Bake at 375° for 11 minutes.

While crust is baking, combine milk and caramels in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until caramels melt. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Remove crust from oven. Pour caramel mixture over hot crust. Sprinkle with pecans and salt.

Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Chill at least 30 minutes. Lift mixture from pan, using foil sides as handles. Cut into 20 bars. Store in refrigerator up to one week.


-          Courtesy of “The Slim Down South Cookbook” author Carolyn O’Neil,

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In honor of breast cancer awareness month, exhale Spa is dressing for success… from the feet up. They have once again created their exclusive pink grip sock as their own unique way to raise awareness and fundraise for the fight against breast cancer.exhale

These limited edition socks will be sold at exhale Spa’s across the nation, as well as online. They make the perfect edition to anyone’s workout wardrobe, with pink grippy hearts on the bottom of the classic black socks. They are available for $16, with $2 from each pair sold going towards the Entertainment Industry Foundation Revlon Run/Walk For Women.

exhale, a proud supporter of breast cancer, began selling the sock at the end of September and will continue to sell them until October ends.


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Pat Alessi from Salon 1580 is here to give you her best advice on how to update your hair for fall.

pat alessi

Why should women update their hair color and style?

Any lifestyle change that necessitates a new wardrobe also necessitates a new hair style. A subtle transformation can yield as much impact as a total makeover.

What are the most important factors when selecting a hair color and style?
Your hair type, meaning hair texture (coarse, medium or fine), density (the number of individual hair stands on one square inch of the scalp), porosity (the ability of the hair to absorb moisture), and elasticity (the ability to stretch and return to its original length without breaking). Also consider the pH levels required for your hair type, the growth pattern of your hair, and your facial features and skin tone.

What hair colors are best for women in their 40s and beyond?

If you’re thinking red, go blonde. Red hair, unless it’s natural, is tough on mature skin tones, but a honey blond with golden tones works every time. If you’re a brunette, shifting from espresso brown to a softer shade like maple or chestnut can erase years. If you want to show off your gray, remember that your best gray may not be your natural gray. Cool, ashy highlights can improve the color and are one of the best-kept secrets of stylish gray-haired women.

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Take a walk for breast cancer at The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Atlanta on Saturday, October. 25. This year’s walk is presented by Independent Insurance Agents for a Cure and will be held at Centennial Olympic Park. making

While the walk kicks off at 9 a.m., the fun doesn’t stop there. Christian singer, Amy Grant will be performing at the walk. She has written an exclusive song for breast cancer awareness month, with a portion of each download going towards the American Cancer Society.

Walkers can also enjoy a special ride on the SkyView Ferris Wheel after the 5K. SkyView is hosting breast cancer appreciation day following the walk, with a portion of each ticket sold going to the American Cancer Society.

So far, this year’s 6,096 walkers and 912 teams have raised more than $270,000 for the American Cancer Center.



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In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Emory Healthcare is offering extended and weekend screening hours for women to receive mammograms. The extended hours are as follows: Tuesday, October 21 and Thursday October 23 from 7:30 a.m to 7:00 p.m. at the Emory Breast Imaging Center on Clifton Road. NewEmoryHealthcareThe weekend hours took place on Saturday, October 18 at Emory University Hospital Midtown. These extended and weekend hours are great for women who have full-time jobs, or who don’t have time to get screened during regular business hours.

Emory Healthcare will also give their employees the opportunity to get screened for free at the 3rd Annual Breastival™ Event on Tuesday Oct. 21.

To schedule an appointment for a mammogram with Emory Healthcare, call 404-778-PINK (7465).

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Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month on your bike at the Young Survivors Coalition’s Tour de Pink! Held on Oct. 25, this is the only bike ride for breast cancer in the city of Atlanta and it is held at ADP’s Alpharetta Campus.homepage_inspire_2014

Riders have the option to ride one mile to 100 in the Northern suburbs of Atlanta. Last year’s event had more than 800 registered riders and raised close to $250,000 for local breast cancer programs.

This year’s ride promises to be bigger and better, with a survivor’s loop, short family rides and professionally designed routes for the more experienced rider. There are also 5K routes for those who prefer to run.

After the ride, participants will get the chance to explore the expo which will feature local vendors, food, services and entertainment.


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The importance of mammograms and early detection of breast cancer cannot be overstated. At Gwinnett Medical Center, they know that having regular mammograms can find breast cancer at its earliest stages, when treatments are most effective. But despite this knowledge, a lot of women don’t take advantage of mammogram testing that could save their lives due to fear and myths surrounding mammograms. With the help of Gwinnett Medical Center, we are going to dispel some of those myths!


Myth 1: My insurance won’t cover it

Mammograms are considered a preventative service, which are often covered 100 percent by most insurance plans, without any cost-sharing like deductibles or co-payments. However, each insurance policy is different, so be sure to check that yours covers mammograms. Also, for women over 40, Medicare will pay for a mammogram screening every 12 months.

Myth 2: It will hurt too badly

While the test has been called uncomfortable, few women would describe it as painful. During a mammogram, your breast is placed on a platform and is compressed with a plastic paddle. The compression is necessary to even out the breast tissue so that lower doses of X-rays are used. The American Cancer Society suggests that women receive their mammogram a week after their menstrual cycle, when the breast is the least tender. Also, the actual X-ray portion of the test lasts close to one minute per breast. And, of course, if it hurts, let your technician know!

Myth 3: I am busy and don’t have time for a mammogram

On average, the basic test lasts 15 to 20 minutes from start to finish. Even a diagnostic mammogram, which takes additional X-rays from other angles, only takes 30 to 45 minutes. Mammogram tests are too short to use time as an excuse not to get one.

Myth 4: I am young; breast cancer can’t affect me yet

Breast cancer can affect women at any age. Before the age of 40, one in 231 women will get breast cancer. And the risk only gets higher as you age. Breast cancer doesn’t care how old you are.

Myth 5: Breast cancer runs in my family, there is nothing I can do about it

While your risk of getting breast cancer is greater if you have a family history, women who have high risk can take steps to reduce their chance of getting it. They can stop smoking, exercise regularly, take certain medications and receive regular mammograms. Gwinnett Medical Center also offers hereditary cancer risk assessment services with a certified cancer risk counselor. For more information, call 678-312-3235.

Myth 6: The radiation from the test will give me cancer

Today, the level of radiation received during a mammogram is extremely low. It is basically the same amount that a woman would get over three months in her regular life. This issue has been studied for years, and experts have seen no increased breast cancer risk associated with radiation received during a mammogram.

Now that you know the facts and importance of receiving regular mammograms, don’t miss your yearly exam! Call 678-967-4513 today to schedule your mammogram at one of Gwinnett Medical Center’s convenient locations in Lawrenceville, Duluth and Hamilton Mill.

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Ladies, get your shoulder pads and jerseys ready, it’s time for some football…powder puff football that is. This Saturday, October 18, The Future Foundation will be hosting their second annual Powder Puff Football Game. The game will be held at Georgia Soccer Park from 12 to 4 p.m. powederThe game will be held in honor of Felecia Brooks-Key, a beloved parent of the Future Foundation.

The Future Foundation is a local organization that strives to level the playing field for the youth of metro Atlanta by providing them quality education, health and life skills programs. They created this event as a way to ensure that the mothers and fathers of the children in their programs gain awareness about breast cancer and have access to proper medical care.


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Dr. Tasneem Bhatia from Atlanta Center for Holistic & Integrative Medicine answers a reader’s question about belly fat.

dr taz


Q: Why can I not lose my belly fat?

A: Abdominal fat, also known as visceral fat, is the most dangerous accumulation of fat in the body. It has been associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and inflammation. Women have more trouble with belly fat as they approach menopause, since hormones like estrogen and progesterone fall, while cortisol levels increase and insulin becomes more stubborn. While much has been debated about the best way to lose belly fat, the secret may be having the right balance of bacteria in your belly. Probiotics, digestive enzymes and fermented foods may be good first steps in getting rid of belly fat.

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please email them to 

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