Welcome to the GHS blog
Greenville Health System (GHS) has been advancing health care for generations. The stories below provide an inside look into GHS and how we’re transforming health care for the benefit of the people and communities we serve.
Greenville Health System (GHS) has been advancing health care for generations. The stories below provide an inside look into GHS and how we’re transforming health care for the benefit of the people and communities we serve.
Whole grains include all of the portions of a whole grain seed. This means that it contains the bran, germ and endosperm. Research shows that eating whole grains can reduce the risk of developing many chronic diseases and certain types of cancer.
The recommendations are to make half your grains whole grain. Whole grains contain many essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, zinc, copper and magnesium. Many types that we commonly see are wheat, rice, quinoa, oats and corn.
Listed below are some other types of whole grains to incorporate in a healthy well balanced diet:
Annie Anderson, a clinical nutrition specialist with the Center for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship, contributed to this blog.
Men, this article is written for you. It describes ten changes in your diet that can reduce you risk of prostate cancer. They are not difficult or painful. They are merely healthy. Sometimes women don’t think that we men pay enough attention to our health. I encourage you to read this article and to show it to the women in your life. This is your chance to demonstrate that you really are paying attention to your health and plan to be around a long time to be with them.
1. Eat tomatoes. Fruits and vegetables in the diet reduce the risk of cancer because they contain natural substances called phytochemicals. Phytochemicals give fruits and vegetables their color. Lycopene makes tomatoes red. Carotenoids make carrots orange. And so on. The lycopene in tomatoes is particularly good at inhibiting prostate cancer. A study in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention in August 2014 reported that men who eat over ten portions of tomatoes or tomato products each week have an 18% lower risk of getting prostate cancer. This is consistent with other studies and applies to cooked or pureed tomato products, such as tomato sauce and tomato juice. My advice is: be the tomato guy.
2. Eat broccoli. Broccoli, like cauliflower, is a cruciferous vegetable. It also has a protective effect against prostate cancer. Although the exact reason is not known, the phytochemical called sulphoraphane may be the beneficial ingredient. Again, studies of men’s eating habits have shown the men who ate more broccoli were less likely to get aggressive prostate cancer. Be the broccoli guy.
3. Eat beans. Beans, peanuts and lentils contain natural substances that inhibit prostate cancer. They are called phytoestrogens, one of which is called isoflavone. In the laboratory, isoflavone suppresses the growth of prostate cancer cells. They are also an excellent source of plant protein and an important part of a plant-based diet. Be the beans guy.
4. Eat tofu. Tofu is not a martial art practiced in Asia. It is a food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is high in protein and low in calories. Edamame is another popular soy food. Studies have consistently shown that men who eat diets rich in soy have a 30% reduced risk of getting prostate cancer. In a prospective study of men with prostate cancer, those who started eating a diet high in soy had a 12% decrease in their PSA values. There are some concerns about soy for women, but not for men. Be the tofu guy and put edamame beans on your salad.
5. Eat fish. Some fats are good for a person. Polyunsaturated fats are essential to the human diet and include the omega-3 fatty acids and the omega-6 fatty acids. Evidence from multiple sources indicates that a diet with a higher proportion of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is healthy and reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Fish are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially cold-water fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines or trout. Be the fish guy. When you are out at a nice restaurant, choose the salmon.
6. Drink pomegranate juice. Pomegranates are a fruit rich in phytochemicals, including tannin and flavonoid antioxidants. A study of men with prostate cancer who started drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice a day showed that pomegranate juice slowed the rise in the PSA and lengthened the PSA doubling time. It appears that something in the pomegranate juice slowed the progression of the prostate cancer. I encourage you to substitute pomegranate juice occasionally for tomato juice. Be the pomegranate guy.
7. Drink green tea. Green tea is common in the Asian diet, but not so much the American diet. Green tea is different from other kinds of teas because of the way the tea leaves are processed. Green tea is rich in phytochemicals called polyphenols. In a large Japanese study, men who drank five cups of green tea per day compared to men who did not had a 48% reduced risk of getting prostate cancer. I encourage you to set aside the soft drinks and drink green tea. Skip the sweet tea and drink green tea. Be the green tea guy.
8. Less red meat. Red meat is high is saturated fats, which studies have linked to an increased risk of cancer in general and of prostate cancer in particular. Char broiling makes the red meat more carcinogenic. Since you have already decided to eat more fish and more plant proteins such as beans, peanuts and lentils, you can make room in your diet by cutting back on red meat. I encourage you to order a salad with a meat or fish topping instead of a hamburger the next time you dine out in that kind of restaurant. Be the green salad guy.
9. Less dairy products. Dairy products like cheese, yogurt and milk are excellent sources of calcium and protein. Unfortunately, dairy products have been associated with a slight increased risk of prostate cancer and organizations like the American Cancer Society recommend limiting dairy. I agree.
10. Avoid folic acid in vitamins. In 2013, the United State Preventative Services Task Force recommended that Americans not routinely take multivitamins. Study after study has shown no benefit to multivitamins and no benefits for supplements like selenium and vitamin E. In the large prostate cancer prevention trial, men who took the vitamin E and selenium got prostate cancer more often than those who took the placebo. Folic acid, also known as folate, may be similarly harmful because it “fuels the cancer.” Be the no vitamins and no supplements guy. Get your vitamins from five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Let you kitchen be your medicine cabinet.
Following these 10 recommendations will not guarantee that you don’t get prostate cancer. It will, however, make you healthier in general. In addition to watching your weight and exercising regularly, follow the above diet tips. A real man eats as if his life depends on it. It does.
For more information on nutrition and prostate cancer, call the Center for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship at (864) 455-1346.
Where will you be spending this holiday season? Will you celebrate at home with your children? Will you celebrate at extended family’s home? Or will you celebrate somewhere far from Greenville on your holiday vacation? While many will be spending the holidays at home with their families, many families, like those served at our Children’s Hospital may celebrate the holidays in their child’s hospital room.
This time of year we see more people give back to the community. Because of this, each December our Children’s Hospital would see an influx of donations. Community members would donate everything from board games to iPads. While the staff loved that the gifts poured in, there wasn’t enough storage for all of these items, they received many duplicate items and they lacked the funds for critical items the staff believed they really needed to provide the best care for children.
So in an age where everything is virtually a click away, Virtual Toy Drive was born. This solved the issue of storage and duplicate items while also providing a way for staff to purchase the items they truly needed.
There are over 1,000 items on the Virtual Toy Drive website ranging in price from $5 to $5,000 dollars and include everything from crayons to medical play materials to video gaming systems. We have even identified our most needed items to make it even easier for donors to give. To many people, these items may not seem like a big deal, but to a child at the hospital, these items help them feel like a kid. Life doesn’t stop when a child is hospitalized, but we believe that these items help provide normalcy, which alleviates stress and helps them get better faster. To see the impact you have on the children we serve, take a look at Donations In Action or watch this Virtual Toy Drive segment from WYFF4.
So, how can you help?
The easiest way, is to make a secure gift online at www.virtualtoydrive.org. Then, select an item that fits your price range and that has meaning for you. Too many items to choose from? Select one of our most needed items or make a cash gift on our website.
GIVE VIA CHECK:
You can also make gifts by mailing a check to:
Greenville Health System
300 E. McBee Ave., Suite 503
ATTN: Yvonne Hyma
Greenville, SC 29601
Make sure to include in the memo: Virtual Toy Drive, the specific item you wish to purchase, toy drive you want to support and/or if the gift is being made in honor of or in memory of someone.
START YOUR OWN TOY DRIVE
It’s easy to set up! On the Virtual Toy Drive website, select start a toy drive, create a log in and set a fundraising goal. Then you can begin sharing your Virtual Toy Drive with friends and family. Our website includes tools such as posters, website banners and a video to help you raise money.
It’s that simple. Each of these options is an easy way for you to give back not just this holiday season, but the entire year! Virtual giving brings real joy. To learn more about Virtual Toy Drive visit our website.
The Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) is an organization of medical professionals dedicated to advancing evidence-based integrative medicine treatments for people affected by cancer. Since 2004, the SIO has promoted research and educated health care professionals about integrative medicine in the care of cancer survivors. They have published guides that list which integrative therapies have been shown to be beneficial in valid clinical studies. The guidelines help doctors and other professionals sort out which integrative therapies are truly effective, which are not truly effective, and which are harmful. In October 2014, the SIO published clinical practice guidelines in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on the use of integrative therapies as supportive care in patients treated for breast cancer. This article will highlight some of the integrative therapies endorsed by the guidelines.
A few definitions are in order. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies are generally defined as treatments or practices that are not part of conventional medical care. CAM includes a variety of therapies listed below.
Alternative medicine is therapy in place of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is therapy along with conventional medicine. Integrative medicine is complementary medicine that uses those CAM treatments for which there is good medical evidence of benefit in coordination with conventional medicine. This is sometimes called “evidence-based.” The guidelines published by SIO are evidence-based integrative therapies recommended for people living with cancer.
The strongest recommendations in the SIO integrative therapy guidelines for breast cancer survivors are for meditation, relaxation and yoga to help with low moods, anxiety and overall quality of life. Yoga is no surprise. It is popular everywhere and is widely available. I encourage everyone to consider yoga as part of an overall exercise program. It really is good for both body and mind. I also agree that meditation and relaxation techniques are helpful. Psychologists and social workers use these stress management techniques to help cancer survivors cope with stress related to their illness and circumstances. I have found them to be quite helpful for cancer survivors.
Acupuncture, massage and music therapy are also endorsed by the SIO guidelines. My favorite herbal supplement, ginger, was endorsed for nausea. I have found it helpful as a tea, a direct additive to food and in capsules. The full guidelines are available online for the interested reader by clicking here.
Free yoga classes are offered at the Center for Integrative Oncology at 900 West Faris Road, (864) 455-1346, and at the Greenville County Cancer Society at 113 Mills Avenue, (864) 232-8439.
For more information about integrative therapies in oncology or an integrative oncology medical consultation, call the Center for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship at (864) 455-1346.
Did you know that a large movie theater popcorn is 1,200 calories? And a personal size pizza is about 800 calories? Wondering about calorie content of a meal while eating out will soon be a thing of the past. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has been lobbying for restaurant menu labeling since 2010, and last week, final rules were issued for restaurant and vending machine labeling.
Americans consume on average a third of their calories outside of their home, and often times they are not aware of the nutritional value of these food choices. The new rules require that chain restaurants (with 20 or more locations), movie theaters, amusement parks, coffee shops and vending machines clearly display calorie information for all food and beverages.
Restaurants will be required to post not only calorie content but a reminder that the average person should consume no more than 2,000 calories daily. It is important to remember individual nutrition needs vary greatly and someone working on weight loss would likely require fewer calories daily. Consumers are also able to request additional information regarding the fat, cholesterol, and sodium content of menu items.
As with any new policy, it takes time to implement changes. The new rules will be implemented in December 2015 for chain restaurants and in December 2016 for vending machines. While these rules are not required until late 2015, many large chain restaurants already have these available. New York City has required chain restaurants to post calories on their menus since 2008.
Studies have shown the effectiveness of posting calorie counts with one study showing 6% fewer calorie consumption from Starbucks when nutrition information was visible. Even for those that do not calorie count, I think the nutrition postings will help guide decisions. For example, seeing the calorie content of a small versus a large size drink may persuade a consumer to go for the smaller option.
Do you think calorie postings will help you make better decisions?
Many of you may have heard that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent a heart catheterization after developing chest pain and subsequently had a stent placed recently. This may have prompted some questions. For example, what exactly is a stent? What is the purpose of a stent? Who needs a stent? All of these are good questions. Here are some basics about stents.
A stent is a metal mesh tube that is used to treat a blocked or severely narrowed heart (coronary) artery. Narrowed or blocked heart arteries prevent adequate blood flow to the heart muscle which can cause chest pain or damage to the heart. Often an angioplasty (balloon dilation of the artery) is performed to restore adequate blood flow before placing a stent. The stent, which is mounted on a balloon, is then positioned across the area of blockage and deployed by inflating the balloon. The balloon is removed and the stent remains in place permanently. Over time the stent becomes part of the wall of the artery. A stent reduces the risk of the artery narrowing down again compared to angioplasty alone. You can think of a stent as a metal scaffold that props the artery open to help prevent future problems.
Numerous different stents available, but they are grouped into 2 large categories: bare metal and drug-eluting. Both types of stents effectively treat blocked arteries, however, the drug-eluting or medication coated stents are less likely to narrow down in the future. The trade-off is that medication coated stents require patients to be on a longer duration of an anti-platelet (blood thinning) medication. There are also new types of stents that are being studied such as bioabsorbable stents that do not leave any stent material behind long term.
Placement of a stent has become the standard of care for treating patients with an acute heart attack (myocardial infarction). In this setting it can be a life saving procedure. For example, this past year I helped care for a patient who had sudden cardiac death (his heart stopped) from a large heart attack due to a blocked heart artery. With the help of EMS and the entire heart team at GHS, he was stabilized, and I was able to quickly open the artery and restore blood flow to that area of heart muscle by placing a stent. He recovered well and walked out of the hospital. He is back at home with his family and exercising without any problems.
Stents are also used to treat patients who are not having a heart attack but have symptoms from a narrowed heart artery. This includes patients that have severe symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath that are not controlled with medications, or patients that have a narrowing that places them at a high risk of a heart attack or death in the future. I recently helped care for a patient who could not perform normal activities around the house or walk around the grocery store without significant chest discomfort or shortness of breath. After further testing, a cardiac catheterization was performed that identified a severely narrowed heart artery, which I treated with a stent. She is now exercising multiple times a week and feels great.
This has just been a brief overview of stents that only skims the surface of this complex procedure. Hopefully the above information has provided some insight into why cardiologists place stents and why they have become an integral part of caring for certain patients with coronary artery disease.
Baby, it’s cold outside! While it is not officially winter yet, the recent temperatures have surely brought out our winter clothing. As caregivers, we want to ensure that our children are dressed warmly for the cold weather, yet it is important to remember that extra clothing, such as a winter coat, snow suit, sleeping bag insert and any other extra soft items that did not originally come with the car seat, can be dangerous for children when they are buckled into their child safety restraints. How can a fluffy, warm winter coat pose a danger for children? In a motor vehicle accident, crash forces are extreme. They not only compress steel, they compress the bulky winter coat. This could cause the child restraint’s straps to become too loose; thereby increasing the child’s chances of being injured or ejected from his/her car seat.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that caregivers dress children in thinner layers, as opposed to a winter coat or snowsuit, and tuck a blanket around the child over the buckled harness straps if needed. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that bulky clothing or heavy coats can prevent a snug harness fit. Always buckle the child in the safety restraint and then place a coat or blanket over the harness.
Keep your children safe AND warm this winter! Dress them in layers, and place a blanket over their harness if needed. Most importantly, if you have questions or concerns about the installation of your child’s safety restraint, schedule an appointment to have it inspected today at ghschildrens.org/kohls.php.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a report stating that there was a partial mismatch between the influenza strains in this year’s influenza vaccine and the strains circulating in the United States during the early portion of this flu season.
During the first seven weeks of the season, 47% of the influenza viruses analyzed demonstrated a mutation that did not completely match the components of the vaccine. The mutated virus was first recognized in March after vaccine production for the year had begun. Vaccine production for the Northern Hemisphere must begin in February in order to produce the greater than 100 million doses needed every season. The mutated viruses affect the influenza A (H3N2) component of the vaccine. The other components of the vaccine are still well matched. Based on experience in past years, it is likely that this mutated strain will become the predominant strain for this season.
As a result of this mutation, there is a concern that this year’s flu shot may be less effective than anticipated. This does not mean that it will be completely ineffective.
In previous years in which there has been a similar partial mismatch, the observed decrease in effectiveness has been about 20-25%. The decreased effectiveness has been rather small because, despite the mutation, the virus in the vaccine is still very similar to the circulating flu virus. Therefore, the flu shot may still give you a 50% lower risk of catching the flu. So, the flu shot is still the most effective thing that you can do to keep from getting the flu. The main effect may be that, if you get flu symptoms, your doctor may be more likely to treat you with anti-viral medications, like Tamiflu or Relenza, even if you have had the flu shot.
If you do develop flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor immediately since antivirals are most effective when started within the first 48 hours.
Remember, a flu vaccine — even in years where there’s a partial mismatch — is still the single best protection we have against flu.
Choosing the type of surgery for breast cancer has been an emotional topic for women with breast cancer and their doctors. In the 1980’s, studies showed that lumpectomy (removal only of the tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it) has long-term survival results as good as mastectomy (removal of the entire breast). Lumpectomy for breast cancer was hailed as great news and a wonderful step forward for women with breast cancer. I was a medical student then and vividly recall the excitement. Many women and their doctors chose lumpectomy with radiation therapy instead of mastectomy.
Fast forward to 2014. Women today are much more aware of breast cancer than thirty years ago; information about breast cancer is more widely available; improved breast cancer screening is detecting cancers earlier and smaller; and lumpectomy surgery has improved with smaller scars and a more natural appearance of the breast. Despite all of this, the last few years have seen a trend away from lumpectomy and irradiation, in favor of mastectomy and even bilateral mastectomy.
An interesting study published in September in the Journal of the American Medical Association of 190,000 women in California undergoing surgery for breast cancer between 1998 and 2011 showed a trend of more women with breast cancer choosing to have both breasts removed (bilateral mastectomy). In 1998, 2% chose bilateral mastectomy. In 2011, bilateral mastectomy was chosen by 12%. The study went on to report that the survival rate was no better for bilateral mastectomy compared to lumpectomy. Other studies have indicated a similar trend and I have noticed more interest in bilateral mastectomy in recent years.
Why is there so much interest in bilateral mastectomy? One reason is the publicity from celebrity Angelina Jolie’s choice to have bilateral mastectomy after learning that she carried a BRCA gene mutation that put her at a high risk for a future breast cancer. Another reason is increasing use of MRI breast imaging, which frequently shows abnormalities in the other breast. A third reason is the incorrect belief that bilateral mastectomy is somehow better at preventing the cancer from coming back elsewhere in the body and causing death. The reality is, that, for most women with breast cancer, choosing mastectomy or bilateral mastectomy over lumpectomy does not improve the likelihood of cure and may actually lead to unanticipated problems and complications.
So, how does a woman diagnosed with breast cancer make the choice? I have a few suggestions. First, don’t make a quick decision. There are good reasons to choose bilateral mastectomy, including personal preferences, appearance and avoidance of mammograms. There are also good reasons to choose lumpectomy with radiation therapy, including personal preferences, appearance and avoiding extra surgery. Take your time and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Avoid making a rushed or emotional decision. A few weeks to think things over will not detract from successful surgery.
Second, get information from your physicians and nurse navigators that is specific to your personal situation. It is your choice, but input from the medical team can be very helpful. They can provide helpful facts at a time when emotions and too much advice from too many people can be overwhelming.
Third, take care of your own mental health and emotional state. One study has shown that the stress of being diagnosed with breast cancer causes post-traumatic stress disorder 25% of the time. Get support from family and friends and your medical team. You are going to be a cancer survivor for the rest of your hopefully long and healthy life. Know that good resources and good people are available to help you deal with and live with the breast cancer diagnosis.
For more information about breast cancer choices, call breast cancer nurse navigator Jo Weathers at the GHS Breast Health Center at (864) 455-1392.
Do you have comments, suggestions or questions regarding our site?
Search our database for a physician that fits your life.
Oconee Medical Center Joins Greenville Health System.
National Cancer Institute awards grant to GHS Cancer Institute.
Highlights from our milestone year of Advancing Health Care for Generations.
Greenville Memorial Receives Prestigious International Award
New center significantly expands options for cancer patients.
Learn about free shot clinics and how to prevent the spread of influenzea
Taking care of all of your eye care needs.
Greenville Memorial Hospital Receives Full Chest Pain Accreditation