Breast health a yearlong concern

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but the providers at Divine Savior Healthcare are passionate about breast health all year long. “We highly recommend getting a mammogram annually if you are a woman over the age of forty,” Dr. Joshua Pogorelec said, “and we recommend talking with your physician about starting them even sooner if you have a strong family history of breast cancer.”

Dr. Eric Anderson added, “Early detection really is the best protection. We are very committed to reducing the anxiety associated with breast exams at Divine Savior and want you to feel comfortable coming to see us regularly.”

To help combat that anxiety, Divine Savior offers 3-D mammography, which offers earlier detection and better imaging results, meaning fewer callback exams and improved outcomes for women with all types of breast tissue. 3-D mammography reduces the risk of callback exams by 40 percent and can find 20 -65 percent more invasive cancers than standard 2-D mammography.

“Dr. Anderson and I both have a special interest in women’s health,” Pogorelec said. “We do all that we can to accurately describe procedures, minimize pain, and provide comfort for all breast health treatments.”

In addition to advanced technology, Divine Savior provides MammoPads to make breast compression less painful, softer, and more comfortable during medical imaging procedures, and offers comfortable suites for breast care patients offering snacks, reading materials and privacy.

“We really want women to feel confident about breast health because we know so many people love and depend on them,” Anderson said. “If your scan reveals any abnormalities, our team will do everything possible to educate you about next steps to help you choose the best path forward.”

Dr. Pogorelec concluded, “Even if you’re not due for a mammogram, come see us immediately if you detect a palpable mass during your regular self-breast checks, are experiencing nipple retraction or discharge, or inflammation with or without tenderness.”
Divine Savior strives to keep care local and convenient and has contracts with all major insurance providers. Its team of professionals helps patients understand their coverage and handles authorizations.

Divine Savior will commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a Pink Out day on Thursday, Oct. 18. It will feature a pink themed lunch and rock painting. Complimentary pink breast cancer ribbon pins are available at all Divine Savior main entrances and can be worn throughout the month of October.

All are encouraged to contribute to The Cancer Fund at Divine Savior, which is dedicated to impacting cancer treatment, detection, prevention, awareness and education in Portage and surrounding communities. For information, contact Haley Gilman at (608)745-5165 or hgilman@dshealthcare.com.

To schedule a mammogram, call 608-745-6295.

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Experiencing a dull pain in the pit of your stomach

Stomach PainGastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and gallbladder disease are two very common disorders. Knowing which one you have may be trickier than you think. Symptoms may be vague, such as a “dull pain in the pit of your stomach”, making it hard for you to explain to your doctor what’s exactly going on.

At Divine Savior Healthcare, General Surgeons, Dr. Eric Anderson and Dr. Joshua Pogorelec, have seen many patients with these symptoms and after further examination are able to help  diagnose and treat both diseases.

What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD refers to stomach contents moving into the esophagus causing a burning sensation commonly referred to as heartburn. Other symptoms may occur as well, such as pain in the upper abdomen, bloating, nausea and an acid taste in your mouth.  If this continue, prolonged exposure of the esophagus to stomach contents can result in damage to the lining of the esophagus.  This in turn can result in difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing or permanent damage to the esophagus.

Although not all reflux results in symptoms or damage to the esophagus, common symptoms include:
• Heartburn
• Acid regurgitation
• Belching
• Difficulty or pain when swallowing
• Waterbrash sudden excess of saliva
• Dysphagia the sensation of food sticking in the esophagus
• Chronic sore throat
• Laryngitis
• Inflammation of the gums
• Erosion of the enamel of the teeth
• Chronic irritation in the throat
• Hoarseness in the morning
• A sour taste
• Bad breath
• Coughing at night

What is gallbladder disease?
The gallbladder is located below the liver on the upper right side of the abdomen. The main function of the gallbladder is to store bile, which is made in the liver and allows fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients to be easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Any condition that affects the gallbladder is considered a disease, and there are many different scenarios that fall under gallbladder disease:
• Inflammation
• Gallstones
• Common bile duct stones
• Biliary Dyskinesia
• Infection
• Perforated gallbladder
• Gallbladder polyps
• Porcelain gallbladders
• Gallbladder cancer

Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec share "the most common disease of the gallbladder is gallstones. Most people with gallstones do not even know they have them.  Once they cause problems, the gallbladder may need to be removed. Symptoms include pain below the right rib cage or in the “pit” of the stomach. This pain may radiate to the right upper back, chest, or shoulder. Other symptoms may include, bloating, nausea or vomiting, fever or chills, chronic diarrhea, jaundice yellow-tinted skin, or unusual lighter-colored stools or dark urine.”

After taking a closer look at GERD and gallbladder disease, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec are able to provide helpful insight on common distinguishing factors between the two diseases.

Common distinguishing factors:
• Location: Although both may feel like a “pit in your stomach”, if you experience symptoms located closer to your throat or in your chest it is more likely to be GERD related. Symptoms located near your right lower rib radiating into your right upper back, chest and shoulder are more likely to be associated to your gallbladder.
• Pain: Unlike GERD, gallbladder pain usually begins suddenly, and changing positions, belching, passing gas or taking medications rarely helps pain symptoms go away.
• Timing: With heartburn being the most common symptom of GERD, symptoms of reflux are likely to occur shortly after eating, where symptoms of gallbladder disease usually occurs several hours after eating and have more consistent patterns of reoccurrence the same time each day.

What does treatment look like?
The symptoms of GERD are commonly and effectively treated with over-the-counter medications such as anti-acids and proton pump inhibitors. However, if relief does not go away from these medications your provider may recommend you be evaluated by one of our surgeons at Divine Savior.

After a thorough history and physical, our surgeons may recommend further evaluation of the esophagus and stomach with endoscopy.  Similar to colonoscopy, but without the need for prep, upper endoscopy allows the surgeon to visualize the esophagus, stomach and intestine to evaluate for damage to the esophagus, infection and a hiatal hernia.  Depending on the findings, further testing may be indicated to evaluate the function of the esophagus. 

Patients with severe GERD benefit from surgery to prevent reflux from occurring.  This procedure is commonly performed by both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec, is minimally invasive, and very effective at treating GERD.  In fact, most patients no longer require any antacid medications after the procedure.

If you are found to have stones in the gallbladder causing symptoms, the best course of action is to have the gallbladder removed.  Leaving the stones in place will continue to cause pain and may result in serious infection of the gallbladder and bile ducts, jaundice or pancreatitis. 

Both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec routinely perform minimally invasive removal of the gallbladder.  This is most often an outpatient procedure and very successful.  After a short recovery, most patients will find their symptoms are gone and they are able to live a normal life. 

If you experience symptoms related to GERD or gallbladder disease, or have concerns about either, it is best to consult your provider for further examination. Treatment for either disease varies person to person, but taking action immediately and being properly treated can help you prevent problems from worsening.

To schedule an appointment with Divine Savior Healthcare General Surgeons, Dr. Anderson or Dr. Pogorelec, call 608-745-5176.

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