Category Archives: Wellness

Wellness topics

9-5-2-1-0 Simple Choices for Better Health Video Distributed to CSRA Schools

More than thirty thousand students have seen the Breast Cancer Prevention Coalition’s 2012 educational video about healthy lifestyle choices to prevent breast cancer.   The BCPC is continuing its annual educational program with Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) schools in 2014 with a new video.  This year’s theme is healthy lifestyle choices to prevent many different diseases, including heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes.  This video is appropriate for any time of the year and especially for October which is Breast Cancer Awareness month and February, which is both Cancer Prevention Awareness month and American Heart month.

The video was distributed to 25 CSRA middle and high schools along with a student handout and a slideshow presentation to facilitate discussion.  Schools are encouraged to show the video to all students during homeroom or health classes. The video’s five healthy lifestyle choices are encapsulated in the title “9-5-2-1-0:  Simple Choices for Better Health.”


9    hours of sleep
5+  servings of fruits and vegetables
2    hours or less in front of a screen
1    hour of exercise
0    sugared drinks and snacks

The video is narrated by Dr. Robert Pendergrast.  He sees many teenagers in his medical practice and he consults with the GRU Cancer Center in Augusta about lifestyle choices to help patients fight cancer and prevent recurrence.


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Filed under Breast Cancer Awareness, Wellness

BCPC Donates Funds For Livestrong at the YMCA

The BCPC has donated funds to begin research on the impact that moderate physical activity, supportive relationships and stress reduction techniques have on quality of life for breast cancer survivors.  The research includes whether recurrence rates can be reduced through lifestyle changes five to ten years after the program  The BCPC funds will be used to offer a program called LIVESTRONG at the YMCA in the Georgia Regents University (GRU) Wellness Center.  This is a twelve-week, small group physical fitness program designed for adult cancer survivors.

In the past, breast cancer survivors have usually been told “see you in six months or a year”. It has been up to each individual to  decide if there is anything she or he can do to help prevent a recurrence.  LIVESTRONG at the YMCA  offers support to cancer survivors who find themselves in the transitional period between completing their cancer treatment and the shift to feeling physically and emotionally strong enough to attempt to return to their normal life.

“In my case, I googled ways to build my immune system and read about the importance of adding daily exercise to my schedule. I also made changes to my diet to add more nutritional foods. Praise God, I am 13 years cancer free! I am sad to say that many survivors don’t have the time or figure they have no means to improve their health. They just wait for the next visit to their Oncologist.”  Nita Zachow, BCPC President

Now, cancer survivors can be proactive regarding their health by participating in LIVESTRONG at the YMCA.  Doctors at GRU are supporting physical activity with qualified instructors. The program includes a pre- and post-test of aerobic endurance, muscle strength, balance and flexibility. Thus far, the average participant has seen up to 50 percent improvement!

The BCPC-funded program is targeted at breast cancer survivors.  It is free and includes a three month complimentary membership to the Family Y. Participation is by self-referral with physician permission.

We need partipcants!

If you are a breast cancer survivor, please consider joining LIVESTRONG at the YMCA offered at GRU.  Classes begin March 5th.   Contact Janet Thornburg at 803-349-8101, to enroll or ask questions.

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Filed under Breast Cancer Awareness, Research, Wellness

Hear Tamara Hill: “No More Resolutions — Make a Change, Once and For All”

Tamara Hill, former WJBF NewsChannel 6 “Fitness Expert”, and Host of “Fat Chat”, Augusta, GA, will present a free lecture on how to get off the diet roller coaster.  She will speak Saturday, January 26, 2013, at 11:30 am at the Breast Cancer Prevention Coalition’s luncheon at New Life Natural Foods, 2825 Washington Rd., Augusta.  This presentation is open to the public and lunch can be purchased from DiChickO’s to enjoy during the lecture.

Almost 19 years ago, I, Tamara Hill, was exactly where the average woman is right now. I was riding on that diet roller coaster year after year: LOSE-GAIN, LOSE-GAIN. Trying the latest diet, diet pill, shake, potion, or lotion I kept hearing about and seeing on TV. “Dieting” –what a Losing Game!! But, I’m happy to say that I won the war with my body and have kept 100 pounds off for almost nineteen years now. “If I can do it, so can you!”

There is “no perfect” way to lose weight or to good health, but I know for certain that quick fix remedies don’t work. Let me feed your head full of the good stuff. I’ve learned a few important lessons along the way. Small adjustments in routines, habits, attitudes, and behaviors in your lifestyle can and will reduce the risk of health problems and help you gain control of your weight. I’m living proof that my approach works. Let me help you get healthier, so that you can lead a healthier lifestyle.

So, if you are truly tired, frustrated, and discouraged from being on that diet roller coaster year after year and want to make a change once and for all, then please come hear me speak at the Breast Cancer Prevention Coalition luncheon.

More About Tamara:

Guest on the Montel Williams Show in February 1996

Featured in: First for Women magazine – February 11, 2002

American Fitness magazine – Nov/Dec 2000

Successful Slimming magazine – March1998

McCall’s magazine – October 1997

Ms. Fitness magazine – Summer 1996

Prevention’s Guide to Weight Loss – June 1996

Radio Fitness Personality on James Brown Radio “Chit Chat” program, FOXIE 103, WTHB 1550AM in Augusta, GA and JOY 102 in Aiken, SC.

Health/Wellness guest on Christian TV Channel WBPI 49 with Dorothy Spaulding

One of 100 Regional Winners of the 1995 Milk Fit Woman Award

Motivational/Fitness Speaker at Health Fairs, Organizations, Church groups, and Corporations

Wellness Coordinator and Fitness Instructor for six years for Aiken Regional Medical Centers, Aiken SC

Aiken Standard Newspaper Column entitled “Fat Chat” in 1997


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Filed under Meetings, Wellness

Check ’em Out!

It’s October and, by now, everyone knows this is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  The Breast Cancer Prevention Coalition (BCPC) reminds everyone that Breast Self Exam (BSE) is an important factor in early detection.

Make sure you check yours out every month!

For more info, see the articles Most Women Find Their Own Breast Cancers and Reducing your Risk of Developing Breast Cancer.

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Dr. Edmond Ritter to Speak on Reconstructive Breast Surgery

Reconstructive Breast Surgery
Following Mastectomy

presented by Dr. Edmond Ritter

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

First Floor Conference Room
GHSU Cancer Center
1411 Laney Walker Blvd., Augusta, GA

5:00 pm till 6:00 pm

Please invite anyone interested in hearing Dr. Ritter.  He will answer all questions dealing with reconstructive breast surgery and cosmetic surgery as well.

BCPC President Nita Zachow recently completed breast reconstructive surgery with Dr. Ritter .  She is very pleased with the results and highly recommends him.

Save the Date: May 10, 2012

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Filed under Breast Cancer Awareness, Events, News and Issues, Wellness

Reducing your Risk of Developing Breast Cancer

Contributed by Brenda Rosson

There is no way to prevent breast cancer 100% of the time for 100% of the population. For a woman in the United States, the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer at current rates is 1 in 8. Although being female and getting older are the two greatest risk factors in developing breast cancer, there are things that you can do to help reduce your risk. This means taking an active role in your health and health care.

Taking an active role in your health and health care involves the following:

  • Knowing your risk factors
  • Making healthy lifestyle choices
  • Performing monthly breast self-exams

Know your family health history and personal risk factors

About 20% of breast cancers are due to genetic causes. Talk to your family to learn about your family health history. It is important to know of any breast, ovarian or prostate cancer history in both your mother’s and father’s families.

Next, talk to your health care provider about your personal risk factors for developing breast cancer, such as dense breast tissue, certain benign breast conditions, onset of menstruation before age 12 and menopause after age 55.

For women who are at higher risk of breast cancer, a healthy lifestyle, as described in the next section, is especially important. Also, additional breast screenings may be necessary. Only a healthcare provider can make the decision to recommend additional breast screening for a woman at higher risk of breast cancer. These additional screenings may include regular mammograms before age 40, MRI or contrast-enhanced MRI in addition to mammogram, more frequent clinical breast exams by a qualified health care professional and regular monthly breast self-exams.

Make healthy lifestyle choices

Make lifestyle choices that improve your overall health and reduce your risk for developing cancer:

  • Maintain a healthy weight throughout life
  • Be physically active (e.g., walk briskly 30 minutes 5 times per week)
  • Limit lifetime alcohol use
  • When ready to start a family, breastfeed the baby
  • Eat a healthy diet that emphasizes plant-based foods. Include 5 servings of fresh vegetables and fruit every day, especially cruciferous vegetables and dark-colored berries. Limit red meat and add cold-water fish, such as sardines, farm-raised trout and wild-caught salmon. Choose whole grains.

For more information about cancer prevention foods, see Dr. Robert Pendergrast’s cancer prevention diet.

Perform monthly breast self-exams

In addition to having the clinical breast exams and mammograms recommended by your healthcare provider, do a breast self-exam (BSE) every month. It is important that you learn the normal look and feel of your breasts so that you can detect changes.

If you notice any of these breast changes, contact your healthcare provider right away:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling-in of the nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that does not go away

Our December post, Most Women Find Their Own Breast Cancers, goes into much more detail about the importance of BSE.

The Bottom Line

Taking the above actions will not guarantee the prevention of breast cancer.  However, we owe it to ourselves and our families to try to reduce the risks while improving our overall lifestyle at the same time.


Filed under Breast Cancer Awareness, Wellness

Most Women Find Their Own Breast Cancers

This was “The headline” recently in an article in Spry’s online magazine.  The article went on to say:

The details: In a recent study, 57 percent of breast cancer survivors reported that their tumors had been found by a detection method other than mammography. Twenty-five percent had noticed the tumor during a breast self-exam and 18 percent by accident. Forty-three percent said their cancers had been found by a mammogram.

The take-away message: While regular mammograms are the gold standard for detecting breast cancer, “almost half of breast cancers are still found by women,” says study author Dr. Diana L. Miglioretti, of Group Health Research Institute in Seattle.

Why Is Breast Self Exam So Important?

Quite simply, it could save your life. Women need to examine their breasts regularly in order to increase the probability of detecting issues early.

Breasts Naturally Undergo Many Changes

Breasts are composed of fatty tissue and fibrous tissue, milk glands and milk ducts. That is why they feel lumpy to the touch. Breast tissue can extend from the collarbone to the middle of the breastbone. At the sides of the chest, breast tissue can extend into the armpit and reach as far to the back as the side seam of a typical bra.

Few organs in the body undergo as many changes as the breast: from puberty through childbirth, breastfeeding a baby, menopause and beyond. It is not surprising that all these changes can lead to a variety of symptoms, including swelling, pain, tenderness and lumps. Breast disorders are quite common and most are benign.

Perform a Breast Self-exams (BSE) Every Month

By performing monthly breast self-exams (BSE), you will become accustomed to the normal look and feel of your breasts and gain confidence in your ability to detect a change.

Although breast cancer is relatively rare in women under 40 years old, it is easier to establish a routine for examining yourself when you develop breast tissue. At this age you are establishing many healthy habits, such as brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. Adding a monthly breast self-exam when you are young will make the routine a part of your normal healthy lifestyle.

Do a breast self-exam four to five days after your period starts. That is the time when your breasts are least affected by hormones in your body. Checking yourself at this same time each month will minimize your mistaking hormonal influences that occur for an abnormality. If you have gone through menopause, do a breast self-exam on the same day each month. Keeping a diary is an excellent way to keep notes from month to month. An alternative is to use a calendar to keep track of menses and breast self-exams.

Ask your personal health care provider to recommend and instruct you on the techniques they recommend.

When to Call your Doctor

After a BSE, contact your healthcare provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling-in of the nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that does not go away

Even if you have had a mammogram, see your doctor if you notice anything suspicious. A tumor can be missed or start to grow after you have received the all-clear from a radiologist.

Good Reasons to Practice Breast Self-exams (BSE)

BSE is a great tool in the fight for Breast Cancer Prevention.

  • BSE is free
  • BSE requires no special equipment
  • BSE has no age limitations
  • BSE can be done frequently–monthly, not once every 1 or 2 years
  • Breast self-awareness is an important part of a healthy lifestyle
  • You know your body best

More Information and Sources

We encourage you to check out the following websites:

Georgia Health Sciences Health System’s Breast Self Exam

American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer’s Breast awareness and self-exam

Spry Living’s News You Can Use


Filed under Breast Cancer Awareness, Wellness