Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Would You Know Thyroid Cancer If You Had It?

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let’s just start with the surprising truth—that thyroid cancer is becoming more prevalent and more deadly than ever before. So, what does this mean for you?

Well, if you’re a woman (of any age) and you have a thyroid condition (like 27 million Americans), thyroid cancer should be on your health radar.

Now, for the good news: thyroid cancer is generally easy to treat. But of course, like other types of cancer, early detection and routine screenings are essential. If you’re like most people, though, you may not know much about your thyroid—like where it’s even located. Not to worry, I-Wen Chang, MD, an oncologist affiliated with Gwinnett Medical Center, provides the 9 facts about thyroid cancer everyone should know:

   1. Cancer doesn’t stop your thyroid from working.

Your thyroid keeps your body’s systems in check. Thanks to the hormones it produces, your metabolism, heart rate and energy levels are all kept running smoothly.

Despite its small size, your thyroid is often able to function normally with cancer present. While this may seem like a good thing, a functioning thyroid may make cancer harder to detect, since there are no noticeable symptoms.

   2. The prevalence of thyroid cancer has tripled.

Even though the number of new diagnoses isn’t as high as breast cancer or colorectal cancer, thyroid cancer is actually the most rapidly-increasing cancer in the U.S. In fact, some experts estimate that the number of new diagnoses has tripled.

   3. Thyroid cancer is often diagnosed in women (of all ages).

75% of all thyroid cancer cases are women, but unfortunately, this isn’t surprising. For starters, women are twice as likely to have some of the most common thyroid conditions, like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. And these conditions, while treatable, do increase a woman’s risk of thyroid cancer.   

   4. You could have thyroid cancer and not know it.

Identifying thyroid cancer can be difficult. Not only does it typically present without symptoms, there also aren’t any routine screenings in place for thyroid cancer. So, because it’s able to develop under the radar, it often goes unchecked.

Yet another reason for this is the fact that nearly 80% of thyroid cancers are papillary, meaning they grow very slowly.

   5. Treatments are effective—if found early.

The success of thyroid cancer treatment is almost unheard of—nearly 100 percent of cases are cured. That’s because the surgical approach (typically used) is able to remove all of the cancerous growths, even if it’s spread to local lymph nodes. But let’s not forget—early detection is critical.  

Checking in on your thyroid.

The most common symptom of thyroid cancer is a lump. While it may sound like it’d be hard to miss, the lump isn’t always obvious. So, to check yourself for a lump in your thyroid, follow these simple steps:
  • Tip your chin up in the mirror and swallow.
  • Look for a lump that moves up and down. Focus on the notch between the base of your neck and the top of your breastbone.
  • If you notice something, it's always worth checking in with your doctor.
In the event that you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, you can count on the experts at GMC's Center for Cancer Care. With a new location opening in GMC Health Park-Hamilton Mill, you can receive nationally recognized cancer care, in a convenient location that's close to home. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Fall In Love With Your Health: February Classes at GMC

All of these classes and more will be offered by Gwinnett Medical Center. If a registration number is not listed, please call 678-312-5000 to register, or register online at

Scroll to the bottom of the list to see some of our support groups. A full list of support groups is available here.


If you’ve been told you have pre-diabetes, or are at high risk of developing diabetes, take charge of your health! Learn effective lifestyle strategies that can dramatically improve your overall health and reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Topics include healthy eating, reading food labels, importance of exercise, and weight management. Presented by a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, this class is for ages 18 years and older. All classes will be held 5 – 7:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.

For more information or to register, please call 678-312-6048.

Lawrenceville classes: 
Diabetes Education classroom, Suite 212
100 Medical Center Boulevard
Lawrenceville, GA 30046

Duluth classes: 
Glancy Education Classroom
Kiwi Room
Glancy Campus
3215 McClure Bridge Road
Duluth, GA 30096 

Please join us as we tour the Labor & Delivery and Maternal Infant Units. Our tour will familiarize you with the facility and what to expect when you arrive on delivery day. In addition to touring the facility, we will provide you with information on admissions paperwork, family waiting areas and services provided. Tours are given during the Healthy Childbirth - 3rd Trimester classes, so if you are signed up for one, you don't need to sign up for a separate tour.
  • February 6 (Tue.), 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • February 10 (Sat.), 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
  • February 13 (Tue.), 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • February 20 (Tue.), 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • February 27 (Tue.), 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

550 Medical Center Blvd.
Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046

Fee: Free

Please join us as we tour the Labor & Delivery and Maternal Infant Units. Our tour will familiarize you with the facility and what to expect when you arrive on delivery day. In addition to touring the facility, we will provide you with information on admissions paperwork, visitation policies, family waiting areas and services provided. Tours are given during the Healthy Childbirth - 3rd Trimester classes, so if you are signed up for one, you don't need to sign up for a separate tour.
  • February 13 (Tue.), 7:30 p.m.
  • February 27 (Tue.), 7:30 p.m.

550 Medical Center Blvd.
Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046

Fee: Free

This single-session class will help parents get started with breastfeeding, including discussion about how your body makes milk, how to position and latch the baby, how to tell if the baby is getting enough breast milk and how to avoid problems.
  • February 5 (Mon.), 7 p.m.

550 Medical Center Blvd.
Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046

Fee: $25

This single session class helps expectant parents prepare to care for a newborn. Topics include: newborn physical characteristics, calming a crying baby, bathing, umbilical cord care, circumcision care, illness, when to call a doctor, and diapering.
  • February 6 (Tue.), 7 p.m.
  • February 17 (Sat.), 9 a.m.

550 Medical Center Blvd.
Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046

Fee: $40

Please join us for our condensed weekend class series that is taken during your third trimester. You will learn signs of labor, breathing & relaxation techniques, medical interventions, and more. A tour of Gwinnett Women's Pavilion is included.
  • February 23 (Fri.), 6 – 9p.m. to February 24 (Sat.), 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

550 Medical Center Blvd.
Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046

Fee: $95 per couple

Smoking Cessation – Freshstart Program
Quitting smoking is hard and we want to help. Our smoking cessation programs are designed to provide counseling and support for those interested in quitting smoking. The Freshstart Program is a smoking cessation program created by the American Cancer Society. The program consists of four classes taught by trained facilitators with the goal of helping participants to stop smoking by educating them in a supportive group environment.

For more information, call the Gwinnett Medical Center Smokers Quit Line at 678-312-2053. We are happy to offer our smoking cessation program free of charge.

Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group
The third Tuesday of each month, 7– 8:30 p.m. and the first Saturday of each month, 10 –11a.m.
For more information, contact Randi Williams, Faith Community Nurse, 
at or call 770-476-3776 ext. 115.

Amputees Moving Forward Support Group
Second Tuesday each month, 6 p.m.
Gwinnett SportsRehab
500 Medical Center Blvd., Suite 130
Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046
For more information, call 678-312-4412
FREE. No registration required

Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and Ostomy
Second Tuesday every other month during the school year, 7 p.m.
GMC Resource Center
665 Duluth Highway
Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046
For more information, call 678-312-2607
FREE. No registration required

Jack Jacobs Aphasia Conversation Group
Second and Fourth Thursdays each month, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Mango Room
Glancy Rehabilitation Center
3215 McClure Bridge Road
Duluth, Ga. 30096
For more information, call 678-312-6167
FREE. No registration required

Memory PeopleTM Alzheimer's/Dementia & Memory Impairment Community Support Group
Fourth Friday of each month, 2 - 3:30 p.m.
Glancy Campus, Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center - Mango Room
For more information, contact Teri Evans at 770-851-0101.

New Beginnings Brain Injury Support Group
First Friday of each month

Annandale Village - Patricia Brown Center for Programs, 3500 Annandale Lane, Suwanee, GA 30024
For more information, contact Paige Havens at or 678-938-4279 or Vickie Thomas at or 770-945-8381.

The Lactation Club (TLC)
Join other breastfeeding moms to discuss the joys and challenges of breastfeeding and beyond. Babies are welcome!
Every Monday, 11 a.m. – noon
Azalea Room
Gwinnett Women’s Pavilion
1000 Medical Center Blvd.
Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046
For more information call 678-312-4743
FREE. No registration required

Bereavement Support Group
Meetings are held the 2nd Monday of the month from 7 - 8:30 p.m. 
Duluth First United Methodist Church, Room B113, Counseling Room
Everyone who has had a loss is welcome to attend.
For more information, please contact Randi Williams, Faith Community Nurse, at or call 770-476-3776 ext. 115.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group
This support group offers an open environment in which bereaved parents can share their thoughts and feelings as well as recognize they are not alone.
Third Tuesday of every month, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Maple Room
GMC Resource Center
665 Duluth Highway
Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046
For more information call 678-312-4786
FREE. No registration required

Rainbow Support for Children
This is a support group for children who have lost a parent by death or divorce. It is a 12-week course.
For more information, please contact Randi Williams, Faith Community Nurse, at or call 770-476-3776, ext. 115.

Women’s Cancer Support Group
Second Tuesday each month, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Cancer Support Center
631 Professional Dr., Suite 220
Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046
For more information call 678-312-4010
FREE. No registration required

The Margaret Andrews Parkinson’s Support Group
For patients and caregivers.
Second Friday of each month, 1:30 p.m.
Glancy Campus – Kiwi Room
3215 McClure Bridge Road
Duluth, Ga. 30096
For more information call 678-312-6167
FREE. No registration required

Stroke Support Group
For survivors and caregivers.
Third Wednesday of each month, 1:30 p.m.
Kiwi Room.
Glancy Rehabilitation Center
3215 McClure Bridge Road
Duluth, Ga. 30096
For more information call 678-312-6167
FREE. No registration required

Caregiver Support Group
Designed to make it possible for families and loved ones to understand their feelings about the impact cancer has had on their daily lives.
Second Thursday of each month, 2 – 3 p.m.
For more information, contact Amy Stanitzke by calling 770-289-0887
FREE. No registration required

C.A.R.E. (Cancer Affects Really Everyone)
These meetings are designed for those with cancer, cancer survivors and family and friends.
The first Tuesday each month, 7 p.m.

Mount Zion Baptist Church-Genesis Building, 1525 Scenic Hwy, Snellville, GA 30078 770-972-5020

Friday, January 26, 2018

Do You Know The Truth About Sciatica?

Most of us have resigned to the fact that we’ll experience back pain at some point. Whether it’s the result of a pulled muscle, a slipped disc or just wear and tear—when it comes to back pain, it’s not about if it will happen, but when it will happen.

And because it can run the complete pain spectrum ranging from mild, dull and annoying to persistent, severe and disabling, it’s nearly impossible to know the exact cause behind your discomfort. Not to mention, knowing just what you should be doing to treat it.

So, if you have back pain, where should you start? Our recommendation is getting the low-down on some of the most common culprits. At the top of the list—sciatica. Despite it being a surprisingly common condition (more than 3 million cases per year) it’s often misunderstood. According to Robert Ayer, MD, a neurosurgeon with GMG's Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, this is what you need to know:

1. For starters, sciatica isn’t a medical condition.

Oftentimes, when people hear the term sciatica, they immediately assume that it’s a specific medical condition or illness, but this isn’t the case. Sciatica is actually an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms—pain, numbness or weakness in the back, buttocks and hip—that’s the result of a spinal condition (typically a herniated disc).

2. Sciatica doesn’t just cause leg pain; it causes back pain, too.

Fun fact—your sciatic nerve is actually the largest nerve in your entire body, as well as each of your legs. So, it makes sense that you would feel sciatic pain primarily in your leg(s)—right? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t also feel pain in your lower back, as well as your buttocks.

And just because you aren’t experiencing pain, doesn’t mean that it isn’t sciatica. Instead, you may feel numbness and weakness.

3. Physical activity doesn’t hurt—it helps.

The natural thing to do when you’re in pain is to rest, but that may only worsen your symptoms. That doesn’t mean you can’t take a few days to relax, but avoiding exercise for an extended period time may weaken muscles and intensify pain. So, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing, get some exercise. This will help to reduce inflammation and stress. And don’t skip talking with your doctor for safe and effective exercise ideas.

4. It’s not only serious conditions that cause sciatica.

While a herniated or bulging disk is the most common cause of sciatica, there are other conditions that may be to blame, these include:
·         Poor posture
·         Tumor
·         Abscess
·         Blood clot
·         Awkward sitting position
·         Any nerve disorders

          5. Sciatica will go away on its own.

The typical treatment plan for sciatica includes NSAIDS, hot or cold compresses, physical therapy, rest and TLC. And while this usually does the trick, it’s important to work with an expert to ensure you aren’t worsening your symptoms or ignoring an underlying medical condition.

Furthermore, if the pain evolves into weakness or numbness, this may indicate additional damage to the nerve or spinal cord, which may be irreversible if urgent care is not pursued.

Getting back to healthy living.

The worst part of any health condition is not knowing—and back pain is no different. That’s why the experts at Gwinnett Medical Center’s Back Pain Center will provide comprehensive care to get to the bottom of what may be causing your back pain. Their expertise doesn’t stop there, you’ll also receive a customized treatment plan tailored to suit your unique needs and ensure lasting relief. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

5 Common Myths About Getting Pregnant

When you were younger, you wondered where babies came from. Was it some sort of magic? Were they delivered by storks? By now, though, you’ve left those childish fantasies in the past and you have a much better understanding of what it means to have a baby. Well—sort of.

The truth is most women still have a ton of questions when it comes to the whole baby-making process. And if you feel this way, you aren’t alone. In fact, several recent studies show that a majority of women still have misconceptions about fertility and pregnancy.

So, let’s get real about pregnancy. Here’s the inside scoop on some of the most common myths and the helpful information you actually need to know (and have always wondered about).

Myth #1: Your period is irrelevant.

While a regular menstrual cycle is typically 28 days, most cycles may not fit into this schedule—and that’s okay. It’s completely normal to start a few days early or last a few days longer. However, if you’re cycle varies and is somewhat unpredictable, this may make getting pregnant more difficult.

It’s not only about timing, though. The intensity of your period can shed some light into what’s going on. For instance, if you are experiencing a heavy menstrual flow, you may have high amounts of progesterone, and if it’s really light, you may not have enough estrogen. Both of which can impact pregnancy.

Myth #2: Your body clock isn’t ticking.

Now, this isn’t to say that you should rush to get pregnant before you reach a certain age, but it’s important to recognize that it does get harder as you get older. This applies to all women because you are born with all of the eggs you will ever have in your lifetime—1 to 2 million total—and every month you lose approximately 1,000 eggs. The older you get, the fewer viable eggs you have.

To give you an estimate of what this means—it is estimated that only 7% of women in their 20s have difficulty getting pregnant, where as 20% of women 35 and older have difficulty. That does not mean that getting pregnant in your late 30s and 40s is impossible, it means it can be a little more difficult. 

Myth #3: More sex makes conception more likely.

The old adage, “it only takes one,” is true in this case. While it may seem like simple math—more sex means a higher chance of conception—this isn’t the case. For example, men release millions of sperm in one sex session; however, more sessions per day decreases the amount of sperm released each time. So, more sessions doesn’t necessarily equal a higher chance of getting pregnant.

Instead of focusing on quantity each day, which can increase stress, focus on quality and timing in respect to ovulation. The ideal would be to have sex every few days starting 18 days before your next menstrual flow. Also, it is important to note that trying certain positions, crossing your legs or elevating your lower body to keep sperm in place longer, have no bearing on your chances of getting pregnant.

Myth #4: That past STI doesn’t matter.

When it comes to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), most women know that prevention is key, as well as regular screenings. Fact remains, even after being treated, STIs can still impact the reproductive system. Some of the most common infections, chlamydia, gonorrhea and pelvic inflammatory disease, can cause lasting damage to your fallopian tubes, impacting your fertility.

By getting routine pap tests, your doctor is able to visualize changes of the cervix and vagina and detect any inflammation, infection or abnormalities, all of which are key indicators of STIs.

Myth #5: Your doctor is focused on fertility.

While your OB/GYNcan help you understand your reproductive health, including fertility, they do not necessarily prioritize that above cervical cancer screening or identifying any abnormalities.

If you’re interested in learning more about your fertility, or addressing any concerns, talk with your OB/GYN. Even if you aren’t planning to have a baby for several years, it can still be beneficial to talk through your plans.

Conceiving expert care.

Whether having a baby is just a distant thought or in the near future, finding the right OB/GYNcan make all the difference.  With the personable, experienced providers at Gwinnett Physician’s Group OB/GYN, you will receive the customized care you deserve. Start your journey to better reproductive health with GPG OB/GYN.