In the last few years, we have made great strides with prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment. Not only have we developed a better understanding of the cellular and genetic behavior of these rogue cells in a laboratory setting, but we have also applied this research to managing every stage of this cancer. Whether it's diagnosed as a small tumor isolated to the prostate or as an advanced stage cancer in multiple areas of the body, we can address each stage better than ever.QUOTE-Prostate

To fully understand the significance of our advancements, one must look back 20 years to the Human Genome Project. In the early 1990s, scientists began decoding the entire human DNA. They successfully unraveled the code, which was more than three billion items long and represented more than 20 thousand human genes! Today, we can send a tissue sample from a prostate biopsy to a specialized lab to determine if an individual patient's prostate cancer contains genes that would make it more aggressive. As a result, we can often determine which patients need more involved treatment and which patients may not need any treatment at all.

Dr-Scott-Miller-ARTICLESidebar-ProstateIn the past, for those patients unfortunate enough to develop cancer that had spread to other areas of the body, there was only one reasonable treatment option: hormone deprivation therapy. By depleting the body of testosterone, prostate cancer cells would decrease in number, but only for a limited period of time. We now have two new categories of treatment to offer men once the hormone therapy stops working: immunotherapy and targeted chemotherapy. Immunotherapy involves removing the white blood cells from a unit of blood that the patient donates. A modified version of these white blood cells is then re-infused, thereby manipulating their immune system so that it specifically attacks the prostate cancer cells. Targeted chemotherapy, although still in its infancy, is a type of chemotherapy that destroys prostate cancer cells based on their unique genetic makeup as compared to normal cells.

Detecting prostate cancer poses several challenges. Some cancers are difficult to find. Some are more aggressive than others. The extent of disease can sometimes be difficult to determine. To help with these challenges, we now have a more advanced method for performing an MRI scan of the prostate. The machines are now much faster and more powerful. As a result, they can measure how the prostate cells process a substance injected into the veins. As it turns out, cancer cells and normal cells behave differently in a way that an MRI can measure. This test can also help determine the extent of the cancer and even guide a needle to biopsy the suspicious cells directly.

For the patient who undergoes treatment for early-diagnosed prostate cancer, recent advancements have led to a decrease in side effects. Robotic prostate removal has allowed other "add-on" technologies. For instance, nerves responsible for erectile and urinary function are often hidden from the surgeon. A nerve-monitoring device incorporated into the robotic surgical system can now help identify these nerves on the surgeon's video display. For those patients who choose radiation therapy, the current technology delivers more of the beam to the prostate and less to the surrounding tissues responsible for vital functions.

These recent advancements in prostate cancer research have allowed us to treat beyond what the human eye can see, helping yesterday's imagination become today's reality.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 19:14

Let Iyanla Vanzant’s Lessons Fix Your Life

In these days of smart phones and ubiquitous Wi-Fi, it's never been easier to hop online and find everything from healthy recipes to at-home workouts to relationship advice. But somehow, even the best Pinterest boards and most inspiring Instagram accounts don't always lead you to the life you want. So where do you turn? Iyanla Vanzant, star of OWN's "Iyanla: Fix My Life" and member of Oprah's upcoming "The Life You Want Weekend" tour, may have answers.

Though it's tempting to want happiness to be as simple and straightforward as a "top 10" article, Vanzant admits that it's not that easy. In her 25 years of ministry, her time on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and now her own series, she has realized that when it comes to helping people live a good life, "There is no formula. I can't say do this, do that, do this." This is partly because the guests on her show have widely varied backgrounds. She gives therapeutic support to people dealing with everything from absent parents to substance abuse to pain from past relationships. Because of those differences, Vanzant says all she can do is show the way through her own personal story. "What I speak about is what I've learned from experience or what I am learning from experience," she explains.

Iyanla-and-Oprah-2,-photo-courtesy-of-Harpo-Productions,-photo-by-George-BurnsAnd experience is something Vanzant has in abundant supply. Poverty, abuse and teen motherhood characterized her early life, but in her twenties, she knew something had to give. In the no-nonsense fashion that makes her show so compelling, she simply made a choice to change her life. She remembers thinking, "I am going to continue to do what I am doing, feel like I'm feeling, or I am going to choose something different." Ultimately, she chose something different, recognizing, "There is something bigger and greater than just my human frailty that I want to rely on."

She started her new life and new spiritual journey by taking a new name, changing from her given name "Rhonda" to "Iyanla," which means "great mother" in Yoruba. This transition helped her redefine herself in a healthier light, and it paved the way for more positive changes, eventually leading to a regular appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" as a relationship expert. In 1998, she began providing her tough-love expertise on the show and helped guide guests and viewers to fuller, happier relationships. During that time on the show, Vanzant says she realized, "No matter who you are talking to, no matter what you are doing, it is either a reflection of you or a reflection of God." So during her service as a relationship expert, Vanzant herself was continuing down her own path of self-acceptance, healing and greater understanding.

Iyanla-Vanzant-3,--photo-courtesy-of-Harpo-Productions,-photo-by-Chuck-HodesVanzant was also enjoying a successful publishing career, penning best-selling books such as "One Day My Soul Just Opened Up" and "In the Meantime." She was headed for the top of the world, but soon her vision got further out of reach. A divorce from her husband, a cancer diagnosis for her daughter, a declaration of bankruptcy and an abrupt split from her partnership with Oprah led to dark times in her life. She remembers wondering, "Why am I asking for this, praying for this, wanting this, and it is not showing up?" But as Vanzant now believes, life isn't just about wishing for what you want. "It's not just 'ask for this' or 'hope for that,'" she says. Instead, creating the life you want "is a function of your consciousness, which requires faith and trust and belief. If you're asking for something but not believing you're going to have it, then you are not going to manifest it." These difficult times brought with them spiritual lessons for Vanzant, which she used to better craft the life she wanted.

One of her first steps to achieving that life was forgiveness, and forgiveness on a grand scale. "Forgive everybody for everything," Vanzant says. "One of the reasons we don't have the life we want, don't have the joy, the love and the things we want, is because we are holding onto hurts, wounds and anger." Another step to achieving the life you want is thinking higher. "Think higher of ourselves, think higher of everyone else," Vanzant says. "You are not your bad behavior. You are not your current circumstances. We just have to learn to think higher." These spiritual truths have served Vanzant throughout her life, bringing her out of her challenging past all the way to her renewed relationship with Oprah and her recent 25th anniversary in ministry.

Along with Oprah and other influential thought leaders, Vanzant will go in depth with these lessons and more at the first stop of Oprah's "The Life You Want Weekend" tour, right here in Atlanta on September 5 and 6. Whether you need to heal from past hurt, forgive a loved one or simply want to live a better life overall, Vanzant's message can help. But as she says, "It's an inside job." Nothing can help you quite as much as your own determination to change – not even her lessons. When all is said and done, creating the life you want starts with you.

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 18:39

3D Mammograms Reduce Callbacks

I had my annual mammogram and I’ve been called back for additional testing.  Should I be afraid that I have cancer?

Many women who are called back almost always think the worst. Thankfully, mammography screening has built-in second opinions in the form of Computer Aided Detection (CAD). With CAD, images are analyzed by a computer to mark areas of suspected abnormality. Then, these areas are analyzed closely by the radiologist. Next the radiologist classifies the mammogram into normal or abnormal. Abnormal does not mean cancer. It only means that there is an area that requires additional imaging.
Approximately 10% will be classified as abnormal and recalled for additional imaging. Only a few of those recalled will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The addition of 3-D imaging lowers the recall rate.
The interpretation of mammograms is difficult because of the random distribution of tissue in the breasts. Reading a mammogram is similar to looking for an abnormality in a tree with only 2 pictures of the tree. Some women have more fatty tissue and tumors will stand out similar to a lone green leaf on a bare tree in winter. Other women have more glandular and fibrous tissue and locating an abnormality is similar to looking for a brown leaf in a tree full of green leaves. The addition of 3-D imaging improves the radiologist's ability to find abnormalities.
shutterstock 123518215The radiologist looks at many images searching for signs of cancer. With most screening mammograms, there are only two projections of each breast provided by the mammographic technologist. Differences in tissue patterns between the right and left breast, distortions in the tissue patterns, masses, clusters of small calcifications, skin thickening and changes over time may require further evaluation.
Once an abnormality is confirmed with additional mammographic views, most of the time it cannot be concluded that there is cancer based on the mammogram alone because cancers and noncancerous growth can look the same on mammography. Ultrasound is used to determine if a mass is cystic or solid. If a simple cyst can be verified by ultrasound, no further testing is done. Mixed masses or solid masses require follow-up or biopsy. New advanced ultrasound technology called Elastography helps to determine if a solid mass should be biopsied or followed. If a biopsy is recommended, remember 70-80% of breast biopsies turn out to be benign.
If you are called back after your regular screening mammogram, it is important to choose a mammographer who is current on the latest technology available, experienced in detecting even the slightest abnormality and is open to discussing your options. Have your questions ready for the radiologist and leave your appointment feeling assured that you are making the right decisions.

Diagnostic Radiology Ultrasound & Breast Center
755 Mt. Vernon Highway, Suite# 310, Atlanta, GA 30328 | (404) 252-3430 |

Carolyn G. Dudley has over thirty years of experience in breast imaging. She attended Bryn Mawr College, Howard University and completed her Diagnostic Radiology residency at Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan. She is board certified by the American Board of Radiology. Dr. Dudley was one of the pioneers in developing techniques to diagnose breast cancer utilizing MRI. Presently, she has a private practice in Atlanta, Georgia where she offers patients a wide range of outpatient diagnostic services in a convenient and patient-friendly environment. Her practice is the first non-hospital facility in Georgia to offer the latest advancement in mammography: 3D Mammography (breast tomosynthesis). In addition, Dr. Dudley provides 2D Digital Mammography, bone densitometry and ultrasound utilizing the most up to date technology available.


Tuesday, 05 August 2014 18:12

Lasers to Regrow Hair?

The FDA approved the use of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) in 2007, specifically its ability to stimulate thinning hair to increase in density and thickness.
istock-balding-purchasedA peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology in January of 2014 proved the efficacy of LLLT in the treament of hair loss in men and women. Generally, over 80% of patients stop or significantly slow their hair loss, and over 50% of patients thickened their existing hair and improved its health and quality.

How do lasers re-grow hair?
LLLT is able to stimulate and preserve hair follicles in patients with various forms of alopecia (eg: hair loss). The laser light is absorbed by the cells of the hair follicles. The stimulation has been proven to increase the blood flow to the scalp, among other positive effects.

1942389 HiResWhat is a "Laser Cap"?
A laser cap is a clinically proven, save and effective way to apply the treatment. I recommend, and offer to our patients, the Capillus Laser Cap. It has 244 laser diodes, compared to 12 on laser comb. These diodes are embedded in a polymer membrane "cap" that fits inside any baseball cap, making it portable and discreet. It has power of over 20 laser combs. It is completely painless and easy to use. A half hour every other day is recommended. LLLT is a proven therapy that, along with other non-surgical options such as PRP with ACell, can increase the thickness and density without a surgical procedure, for both men and women.


The Anderson Hair Sciences Center
The Medical Quarters
5555 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd., Ste. 135, Atlanta, GA 30342
(404) 256-4247  |

Dr. Anderson is a double-board certified Facial Plastic Surgeon who has confined his practice solely to hair restoration for over a decade. After 7 years of surgery training in facial plastic surgery, in 2003 he entered the field of hair restoration in Beverly Hills, California. Dr. Anderson is the first and only surgeon in Georgia to offer the very latest in cutting edge surgical robotic device, the ARTAS Robotic Hair Restoration Surgery System.

Thursday, 24 July 2014 14:03

2014 Best Pet Selfie Contest Winners

In the last few years, the age of technology has brought with it an era of selfies. We snap them everywhere and with everyone: with friends at dinner, during fun events and – you guessed it – with our pets. For this year's photo contest, our readers submitted their Best Pet Selfies. Through votes from their friends, family and the Best Self community, the top three contest winners were able to win cash prizes for Society of Humane Friends of Georgia, Southern Animal Rescue and Fix Georgia Pets, as well as prize packages from our contest sponsors and a pet party at Nancy G's Café. Let's meet these selfie stars!

First Place
Jacki and Fizzle
Society of Humane Friends of Georgia

Winner-1Jacki and Fizzle came in first place with an impressive 1,398 votes in this year's contest. Fizzle enjoys playing fetch with tennis balls and making Jacki laugh with his funny facial expressions. Jacki chose the Society of Humane Friends of Georgia as the pet charity to receive her first place prize money of $250. SOHFGA is a nonprofit organization that has been serving Gwinnett County for 16 years. The organization's Lawrenceville shelter accepts cats and dogs from animal control, from owners who are no longer able to properly care for their pets and from off the streets. SOHFGA works hard to find perfect matches for each family and animal they work with, and they also help through other initiatives such as such as Jail Dogs, the SOHFGA Spay and Neuter Clinic and the Gwinnett County Pet Project (GCPP). The GCPP reaches out to communities with limited access to veterinary care and provides free or subsidized services to help keep their pets healthy and safe with vaccinations, supplies and spaying and neutering. SOHFGA is supported solely by donations and adoptions, which take place regularly at the Petco on Highway 124 in Snellville.

Second Place
Widdi and Marla
Southern Animal Rescue

Widdi-Turner Marla Southern-Animal-RescueWhen Marla came to Widdi as a foster pup, Widdi quickly fell in love and decided to adopt Marla "furever!" Marla is full of energy, and her favorite thing to do is walk on her mom's treadmill. Widdi chose Southern Animal Rescue as the pet charity to receive her second place prize money of $150. Founded in 2008, Southern Animal Rescue helps rescue and rehome abused, neglected and homeless cats and dogs in the Atlanta area. One of SAR's primary initiatives is to reduce the number of feral cats and kittens in the area through a trap, neuter and return program. SAR is a small organization without a physical shelter to temporarily house their rescued animals, so they rely on a network of foster parents to open their homes to these pets. SAR supports their foster parents by taking care of veterinary visits and the search for a permanent home.


Lauren-Smith Pippen Fix-Georgia-PetsThird Place
Lauren and Pippen
Fix Georgia Pets

Named after the former Chicago Bull, Pippen tries to make everyone he meets a cat person, and Lauren fell in love with him the second they met. He enjoys meeting new people, getting Lauren to pet him and snack time with his canine pals. Lauren chose Fix Georgia Pets as the pet charity to receive her third place prize money of $100. Fix Georgia Pets' motto is "Together, we can put an end to pet overpopulation in Georgia," which they are achieving through low-cost spay and neuter clinics, mobile units and the pro-bono services of private practice veterinarians. Fix Georgia Pets puts an emphasis on spaying and neutering because not only will these measures help reduce the numbers of homeless or euthanized pets, but fixed pets are said to be less aggressive, which lowers the risk of bites, attacks and the spread of disease. Fix Georgia Pets has a team of volunteers called the FGP Ambassadors who help educate the community about the importance of animal safety.

To see more of our pet contest participants, visit our photo page!


16,000+ Runners/Walkers and 400+ Companies Enjoy Fun, Fitness & Company Camaraderie
Adjacent to Turner Field, Thursday, September 11, 6:30 p.m.

What is it?
Calling all runners, walkers and joggers! If you're looking for a great way to stay in shape, build camaraderie with your co-workers and friends and be a part of the largest organized corporate fitness event in the Southeast, then you won't want to miss out on the excitement planned for the 2014 Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk & Fitness Program. Directed by U.S. Olympian Jeff Galloway since 1983, this workplace-organized fitness program has become an annual tradition in the Atlanta business community. The event features a unique 8-week "Get Active Atlanta!" training program which is a great motivator in preparing for the race. This year's 5K Corporate Run/Walk & Company Party takes place Thursday, September 11 at 6:30 p.m. in Downtown Atlanta.

two-girlsWhat's included?
The free 8-week training program for registered participants includes:
• Walking and running training schedules from Jeff Galloway for beginner and veteran walkers and runners
• Ongoing weekday walks and runs with pace groups at Phidippides stores, Atlanta's premier running specialty stores (Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m. in Sandy Springs, and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at Ansley Mall)
• Saturday morning running and walking training program with pace groups – Begins July 19, 7:30 a.m., Phidippides-Ansley Mall
• Kaiser Permanente Boot Camp, July 19 – August 23, Saturdays (limited to 500 participants)
• Fitness tips e-mailed weekly
• Discount coupons on fitness items and services
• Personalized wellness program by Your Wellness Room by ProActive Health Solutions, August 10 – September 10
• Complimentary workouts August 27 – September 10 at all Metro locations of LA Fitness

WarmUp-2The Main Event: September 11
The program culminates in a giant celebration of fitness on Thursday, September 11, across from Turner Field, with a 5K (3.1 mile) run/walk that winds through the business district of Downtown Atlanta. The excitement begins with the popular Best Self Health & Fitness Expo, in which numerous companies exhibit their products and services. At the finish line, the festivities continue with commemorative T-shirts for all participants, team and candid photos, live music by The Rupert's Orchestra and the awards ceremony. Company teams consisting of employees, family and friends gather under illuminated tents for hundreds of picnics, popularly known as the "World's Largest Office Party." Individuals who may not have a company team are encouraged to register and will have the option of purchasing a boxed dinner from Jason's Deli at registration.

Tracy-Gongola,-Marianne-Baker,-Katie-VineyardRun/Walk Details:
There will be separate, monitored start areas for elite runners, seeded runners, CEOs, runners/joggers and walkers. Seeded runners must include a qualifying event on the registration form, and elite category runners must submit official 2013 – 2014 documentation for qualifying times.
• Open Men – 6 minutes/mile
• Open Women – 7 minutes/mile
• Masters Men (40 +) – 6:15 minutes/mile
• Masters Women (40 +) – 7:15 minutes/mile
Awards will be given to the top Overall and Masters Men and Women, fastest team times, highest overall participation and the winner of the T-shirt design contest. CEO Cups will be awarded to the fastest male and female CEOs. The Kaiser Permanente Corporate Cup is presented to Atlanta's "Most Fit" companies in four categories, including most improved company, based on the number of full-time employees. Participation awards also are given to companies in each of 38 industry categories.

Crowd Capital-BackgroundBack by popular demand:
• Best Self Atlanta's Healthy Living Expo, where you can win raffle prizes from health and beauty vendors and engage in other fun activities
• Music by The Rupert's Orchestra
• T-shirt design contest
• Team and candid photos
• Corporate Can Contest benefiting the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Back on My Feet and the Atlanta Braves Foundation. The McCart Company is the reigning champion, winning the last three can collection contests.

Three-women2013 Healthy Company Award Winners:
• Kaiser Permanente Corporate Cups
• <100 – Meadows & Ohly, LLC
• 100-999 – Chick-fil-A
• 1000-4999 – Verizon
• 5000+ – Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
• Highest Number of Participants: Verizon

How do I sign up?
Visit or
call (404) 843-8727. Follow the program on Facebook and Twitter.


When to Seek a Second Opinion

There are few conversations more ground shaking than receiving a cancer diagnosis. According to the American Cancer Society, that's a conversation more than one million people have each year with their doctor. And while your current care provider may have a treatment plan and course of action in mind, you may still have lingering questions: Is this my best option? Who else should I reach out to about this? Should I get a second opinion?
It's not uncommon to want additional information or a second opinion regarding your diagnosis and treatment. After all, this journey affects your health and your life, so you deserve to have all the information. Make sure you ask the right questions to the right providers in order to get the care you want and deserve.
When you initially received your diagnosis, you may have zoned out after the word "cancer." Dr. Margarett Ellison, gynecologic oncologist with North Fulton Hospital, says that most patients hear nothing else after a cancer diagnosis is conveyed to them initially. That's completely understandable – it takes some time to process such big news. Because of this, meeting with another doctor may simply be a chance to go over all the information again.
Second opinions are also helpful in the case of particularly difficult diagnoses, such as when cancer is widespread. Dr. Michael Andrews, Chief Cancer Officer of WellStar's Cancer Network, explains, "Sometimes you can look at the X-ray images of the body and tell very clearly what kind of cancer it is. For example, a large lung mass is a lung cancer, and it is clear. But other times when cancer is in different places in the body, where it started may be unclear." In cases like that, oncologists need more than just X-ray information. They'll examine the cancer under a microscope, and a second opinion can help to confirm the diagnosis. Dr. Eric Mininberg, a hematology oncologist from Piedmont Cancer Institute, adds, "A second opinion is often helpful in evaluation of a rare disease by an expert who specializes in that tumor type or when special surgery or interventions
are required."
In addition to these medical reasons, a second opinion is also justified whenever you want one for peace of mind about the diagnosis itself or the treatment plan. So whether or not your cancer is rare or medically familiar, your comfort and confidence in the diagnosis and treatment plan are the best reasons to seek a second opinion.
But you know what they say about too much of a good thing – though a second opinion is helpful, enlisting too much information can be overwhelming. By the time you're on a fourth or fifth opinion, the consultations may become confusing or simply repetitious. For that reason, you may be better off seeking just one or two additional opinions and then moving forward with a treatment plan.

What to Expect
A second opinion may do one of two things to the initial diagnosis: confirm it or change it. Though it is possible for different doctors to arrive at different conclusions, you probably shouldn't expect radically different news from your second opinion. Dr. Mininberg says, "In general, the diagnosis is usually the same." Dr. Patricia Thompson, a medical oncologist from Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southeastern Regional Medical Center, agrees. She notes, "At CTCA, it is rare that we arrive at a different diagnosis."
On occasion, though, the diagnosis does change. A Johns Hopkins study reviewing 800 head and neck cancer surgery cases referred to the hospital between 1990 and 2000 showed second-opinion tissue sample diagnoses changed in seven percent of cases. When that happens, Dr. Mininberg says, "It is imperative for the patient to understand why so they can make an informed decision about what is right for them." Cancer Treatment Centers of America takes the same educational approach if their doctors arrive at a different diagnosis. "All of the information is carefully explained to the patient," Dr. Thompson says. "We make sure they understand the difference of diagnosis as well as their options for treatment."
SIDEBAR 2ND OPINIONDr. Jayanthi Srinivasiah, medical hematologist and oncologist with Georgia Cancer Specialists and DeKalb Medical, explains that even if the diagnosis is the same, the suggested treatment plan could change. "One physician might be comfortable with one option, and a second might be comfortable with another. The patient can choose what [treatment option] they are most comfortable with." Dr. Thompson agrees that a second opinion is valuable for every stage of your journey to recovery. She recommends a second opinion after the initial diagnosis, during treatment to stay educated about your options, and even upon completion of treatment to confirm that you are cancer-free.

Who to Ask
Now that you know what to expect from a second opinion, make sure you set appointments with the appropriate provider or group of providers. Dr. Andrews says cancer care centers, academic settings and large referral centers offer the advantage of having many oncologists, which allows them to specialize in specific cancers. Dr. Srinivasiah agrees that opinions from a variety of specialists can be helpful in determining treatment plans. "There are certain situations, like with breast cancer, where the question is 'Do we first go with surgery or chemo?' A medical oncologist and a surgical oncologist may have varied opinions."
Don't forget that your physician is a beneficial resource too. Dr. Srinivasiah recommends asking, "Are there other types of doctors I should seek for my care?" The American Cancer Society also recommends asking your doctor, "If you had my type of cancer, who would you see for a second opinion?" or simply, "I'm thinking of getting a second opinion. Can you recommend someone?" This way, you can let your doctor's knowledge of the medical field itself and of your particular cancer guide you to the appropriate resources. You may also consider seeking suggestions from support groups, family and friends.
Another consideration is the location of the experts, since some will be closer than others and you may not want or be able to travel far away. Dr. Andrews points out that, thanks to a new partnership with WellStar and Mayo Clinic, "A lot of times the patients don't have to leave our area. We can do a second opinion by loading all the information, X-rays and pathology into a system. Mayo Clinic will review it and give you an opinion within 48 hours."

Accepting a Complement
When seeking additional opinions and resources, don't limit yourself to traditional routes. Dr. Andrews says involving professionals such as dietitians and fitness experts is extremely important. So important, in fact, that WellStar offers a dedicated support practice that includes cancer nutritionists, physical therapists, counselors, social workers and acupuncturists. All of these avenues can help a patient manage symptoms or side effects of treatment and feel as good as possible.
Despite those benefits, it's important not to let complementary methods prevent or conflict with a set treatment plan. Dr. Mininberg says, "In general, I encourage patients to do whatever they can to feel better during therapy as long as it does not interfere or take away from their treatment." Just make sure to keep your medical team informed as you go along. "It is always a good idea to let the treating provider know what additional resources the patient is drawing from," Dr. Ellison says. "Having complete transparency with all providers leads to optimal patient care and outcomes."

Having the Talk
When considering seeking a second opinion, some patients may feel that it's unfair to their first doctor to ask someone else's expertise, or they may just be uncomfortable with the conversation. But your doctor is a professional, and he or she understands that you deserve to advocate for your own care in the way you feel is best. Plus, any concerns about your doctor feeling slighted are probably unnecessary. Dr. Thompson says, "Second opinions are widely accepted and highly recommended by most oncologists." Dr. Mininberg agrees, saying, "If a patient wants a second opinion, we do everything to honor their request." So if you find yourself dealing with a cancer diagnosis, rest assured that your doctor recognizes that your health and peace of mind are the top priorities. A second opinion may be the way to achieve those goals, so don't hesitate to start asking around.

Editorial Resources:
Michael Andrews, MD, WellStar Cancer Network –
Margarett Ellison, MD, MHA, FACS, FACOG, North Fulton Hospital –
Eric Mininberg, MD, Piedmont Cancer Institute –
Thomas Olson, MD, Aflac Cancer Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta –
Jayanthi Srinivasiah, MD, Georgia Cancer Specialists and DeKalb Medical Center –
Patricia Thompson, MD, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southeastern Regional Medical Center –


Wednesday, 23 July 2014 21:41

Empowering Girls through Physical Fitness

Adolescence is a critical time when many girls' activity levels fall significantly or disappear altogether. So it is important that parents, coaches and other adults encourage girls to stay active as they transition from childhood to adulthood. Active girls tend to have higher self-esteem and self-confidence and healthier body images than girls who are not active. What's more, girls who are physically active tend to perform better on standardized tests, get higher grades and have higher aspirations after high school. All things considered, sports and physical fitness help set the framework for a happy, healthy and successful generation of women.

Start Them Young
Fitness habits form early, so encouraging girls to engage in regular physical activity can help them for the rest of their lives. Lea Rolfes, executive director of Girls on the Run of Atlanta, says, "Participation in physical activity at an early age is essential because it is an important determinant of long-term physical activity maintenance. Studies show if a girl does not participate in sports or physical activity by the time she is 10 years old, there is only a 10 percent chance she's likely to exercise when she is 25."
Lacey King (a.k.a. Choke Cherry) of the Atlanta Rollergirls, agrees. "The best thing we can do as members of society is to help young girls get involved and encourage them to feel empowered by sports," she says, which the Atlanta Rollergirls do through their 7 to 17-year-old group, the Atlanta Derby Brats. Jackie Cannizzo, tournament director for the Esther Cannizzo Junior Golf Foundation, supports this as well. She says, "If you can catch girls at a young age and get them engaged in sports, they will be better for it in general."

Break Out of the "Girl Box"
Keeping young girls interested in sports and fitness may be easier said than done, though. At Girls on the Run, Rolfes sees many girls get trapped in what she calls the "girl box." "It's a place where they're torn between who they know they are and what our culture says they should be," she explains. "It's a place of questioning their body image and experiencing low self-esteem and negative self-talk. Parents and educators see the girl box being imposed at an increasingly early age, and our mission is to reverse that trend. Our curriculum starts with girls in the third grade, because girls at this age are most receptive to this message. One of the most powerful tools to get out of the girl box is knowing that there are other girls who feel the same way."
She also remains committed to changing the gendered stereotypes that influence the extent to which girls participate in physical activity. "Popularity has different standards for boys and girls; adolescent boys' popularity depends on their physical ability, while adolescent girls' popularity depends on a complex mix of attributes such as physical appearance, material possessions and boyfriends," she says. "Female athletes are much more likely to be portrayed in ways that highlight their physical appearance instead of their athletic competence. The objectification of girls and young women, including female athletes, continues to influence girls' self-esteem, body image and valuation of physical activity."
These portrayals also perpetuate the mistaken belief that girls can't keep up with boys. "People think women can't play at the same level or intensity, which is absolutely not true," says Marq Williams, owner and head coach of the Atlanta Heartbreakers, a women's football team. "We have to encourage females because the more they participate in sports, the more people will give them the respect and understanding they deserve. We need to stop saying, 'This is a man's sport.'" Donnovant Dahunsi has been coaching for nearly 15 years, and he currently serves as the middle school track and field program coodinator for Atlanta Public Schools. He agrees that female athletes have just as much of a love for sports as their male counterparts. But often, Dahunsi says, "Many girls come to me not really knowing where or how they fit into the team," but under careful coaching, he says, it's not uncommon for those girls to excel and become team leaders.



Advice from A Fit Girl
Caroline Peters, manager at local retailer High Country Outfitters, recounts her fitness journey and gives recommendations to other young women.
What activities did you participate in during middle school and high school?
I was a competitive athlete who played soccer and indoor volleyball.
What support helped you stay active during those years?
My dad has always pushed me to try sports and keep me active, whether it was through sports or simply doing things outside. He would literally surprise me by driving me to tryouts for soccer teams. Outside of sports, my dad has been taking me backpacking and camping with my brother since I was a little girl.
What activities do you enjoy outside of traditional competitive sports?
Yoga in particular keeps me centered and grounded. I also trail run, bike, climb and am always excited to try something new. That's how I first got into SUP yoga [pictured below]; I had just finished yoga school, and the deck pad on my board reminded me of a yoga mat.
What advice do you have for a young girl looking for an activity she really loves?
Try it all! Step out of your comfort zone! New challenges make you stronger.



Active Alternatives
Traditional sports like soccer, basketball, softball and even football might be right for some girls, but many just aren't into it. Instead of ending the search there, girls should seek out alternatives. Prissy Tomboy Athletics, a local sportswear and accessory line dedicated to supporting active girls, encourages participants to try all sorts of activities. Founder Tracey Pearson says, "We're here to show these girls that there are so many alternative activites out there that can be just as fun and enduring [as sports]. From paddleboarding, dancing and yoga to kickboxing and cycling, there really is something for everyone."
And staying active doesn't have to be limited to after-school commitments, either – instead, physical activity should have a permanent place in the school day as well. Laura Colbert, an exercise physiologist with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, points out, "Physically active students often do better on standardized tests, have lower rates of absenteeism and have fewer discipline problems." Colbert recommends that schools encourage walking or biking to school and include breaks in their schedules.
GarrisonMill In P.E. classes, even slight adjustments in the focus of the activity can make a difference in how girls respond to it. By emphasizing fun, choice and inclusiveness, schools have a better chance of keeping girls involved. "Think dance parties, double dutch or active games," Colbert says. "Games like dodgeball that eliminate players result in most of the group sitting while a select few are active." By comparison, "Dancing, group walks and yoga encourage everyone to be active the whole time."
In addition to support from schools, there are many free and low-cost sports and physical activity programs for girls. "P.E. teachers, school nurses and parks and recreation departments can all be good resources for finding programs in local communities," Colbert says, as well as familiar institutions like the YMCA. And if parents are looking for more information on how to get and keep their families active, the "Fun Moves" section of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Strong4Life website is a great resource to help parents through each step.

The Faces of Female Fitness
Despite a variety of resources available, our society still lacks active role models for girls. The most visible and successful professional athletes and sports teams are overwhelmingly male. "As a society, we do not prioritize athleticism as highly for girls as we do for boys," Colbert says. "Being a good role model for activity means talking positively about physical activity and doing activities with girls; parents and adults who work with girls can fill this void by being the role models that girls need."
It's also important to consider adolescent girls' developing self-esteem. "Ages 12 to 16 are most difficult for girls in general," Cannizzo says. "They need to find the right program or activity so there is a sense of success in that critical time. Also, male coaches can be uncomfortable for girls. In our profession, golf is a very male-dominated sport, which is why we need more female role models and coaches."
Fortunately, women like Haley Chura, Atlanta's own professional triathlete competitor, are removing these roadblocks. "Girls have to work a bit harder to find strong female role models, but they're out there," she says. "Right now young women like gold medalist swimmers Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin, and runner Mary Cain are rewriting the record books and showcasing women's athletics like never before. These teenage women are deserving of rock star admiration!"

A Metaphor for Life
Cannizzo encourages girls to look at sports as part of their journey in life. "There are so many valuable lessons to learn from being involved in sports that you can carry into your profession or being a parent," she says. "From a business standpoint, it helps girls be better teammates, co-workers, and feel better in general. You learn discipline, hard work and time management – there is no downside to being involved in sports."
The Atlanta Rollergirls have a similar philosophy. "As a member of the league, we are also asked to take on a job, so we don't only skate, but we run the business," King says. "I'm currently ARG's head of marketing and serve on the board of directors. The experiences and knowledge I've gained for serving the league in that capacity bleed into my everyday job as a registered dietitian. I've learned how to market myself, my skills, and to lead a team."
And Chura is living proof that sports are an essential part of professional success. "Athletics have taken me to foreign countries, tropical islands and even to the White House to meet the President of the United States. I got my first job because of sports, and I feel better about myself both physically and mentally after every workout. There is truly no limit to what sports can teach you, where they can take you and who you might meet."
So if you see a girl in your life struggling to stay active, do whatever you can to prevent the lid of the "girl box" from slamming shut on her interests and her potential. Instead, help her deal with the obstacles she faces so she can enjoy a life of fitness and health.


Editorial Resources:
Jackie Cannizzo, JCI Foundation –
Haley Chura –
Laura Colbert, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta –,
Donnovant Dahunsi, Atlanta Public Schools –
Lacey King, Atlanta Rollergirls –, Tracey Pearson, Prissy Tomboy Athletics –
Lea Rolfes, Girls on the Run –
Marq Williams, Atlanta Heartbreakers –


How many times have you gotten the news from your dentist that you'll need a dental procedure that requires a significant out of pocket expense? In addition to the expense, you fear that the treatment is going to be painful and time consuming. It doesn't currently bother you, so why not wait until it starts to hurt or becomes too unsightly? Maybe you feel you're being sold something you don't really need. I call these barriers to receiving dental care the "The Three F's"; fear, finances and faulty thinking.
Fear is easily handled with the technological improvements that enhance how we render care. The dream of painless injections and dental procedures are reality for those who show up. I have seen patients who have endured very high levels pain while prolonging a visit; pain that far exceeds any discomfort felt during treatment. I have witnessed the results of delayed care leading to the development of life threating conditions. Amazing, the power of fear!
shutterstock 92525713For some, the issue of obtaining dental care is associated with the lack of insurance. Often, the patient allows the dental insurance company to dictate their decisions. The average treatment need usually exceeds the annual dental maximums, which haven't increased in over thirty years. Successful, healthy patients value their teeth over their insurance.
As a cancer survivor, I never considered asking my physician to remove only a portion of my tumor; leaving the rest until my insurance "re-ups" the following year. My overall health and survival were being threatened. My goal was to get rid of the source and adhere to a strict preventive schedule. It's really no different with dental care.
So, where does this leave the average patient? The average patient is left with the need to assume more personal responsibility for his own health. Fortunately, many dental practices offer in house or third party financing services to assist their patients in obtaining the care they need and deserve.
Understand that your oral health is directly related to your overall health; and due to the importance of this alone, every effort should be made to improve it. When decay and disease is taken care of, once and for all, you can adopt home care habits that will keep you in the preventive mode and out of the defensive mode.

Dr. Karen Mills
Advantage Dental
(770) 998-7344
123 Marble Mill Road, Suite A,
Marietta, Georgia 30060

Dr. Karen Mills practices general and cosmetic dentistry since 1992. She is a 1987 graduate of Howard University's College of Dentistry.


Thursday, 03 July 2014 19:37

Diva Half Marathon