Workforce Wellness – Bon Secours


Cycle Safely This Fall

If you’re thinking about trying something different from your normal gym routine, then cycling is a great exercise to try. While cycling bike paths in the Richmond area lets you enjoy a breath of fresh air, there are some guidelines you should keep in mind.


First off, safety is important no matter what exercise you’re doing. To avoid injuries, you want to make sure that you’re following all of the proper safety rules that go with cycling.

  • Wear a helmet. Some people might think they’re a little goofy, but they’re the only thing protecting that brain of yours from the ground. Be sure to wear one regardless of how far you ride.
  • Stay hydrated! Don’t let fatigue take over in the middle of your route. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
  • Plan your route ahead of time and avoid roads with heavy traffic. You may want to contact a local bike shop for recommendations on good routes suited to your level of expertise.
  • Know your hand signals so you’re able to communicate with vehicles and not take them by surprise.

Getting to the Right Route

Don’t rush into the most intense cycling route that you can possibly find. It’s important to build up your fitness with cycling and not dive headfirst into challenging courses.

  • Work your way up to the top. There’s no rush, and you don’t want to push yourself too much where the outcome will result in injury. Build up your mileage each week.
  • When you first start cycling, try to avoid taking on routes with huge hills and rough roads. These are the type of routes that you need to prepare yourself for instead of rushing into them like you’re a pro.
  • Taking a break is important! Ride several days a week and then take a recovery period. To become a better and stronger cyclist, taking the time to let your body recovery will be beneficial.


Having good posture is important, especially while cycling. Make sure you have the correct posture to benefit your cycling experience.

  • If your leg is straight or your knee is locked-out, then the seat is too high. Your knee shouldn’t be bent more than 20 degrees; if it is, then your bike seat is too low.
  • Make sure your knee is over the ball of your foot, not behind or in front of it.
  • When you sit on your seat, reach for the handlebars to ensure that your arms aren’t straight or locked-out. This could lead to discomfort in your back, neck, and shoulders.
  • Make sure your shoulders aren’t coming up to your ears. You want to elongate your torso, relax your shoulders and raise your chest slightly while cycling.

Cycling is a great exercise that can improve your heart, help with weight loss, reduce stress and just help you feel healthy. Don’t let mistakes deflect you from your cycling groove or keep you from feeling like the best version of you.

For more information about exercise and fitness, please visit us at

How Long Do Leftovers Really Last?

Especially after the holidays, when cooking more food than people can eat seems to be just as traditional as the foods we make, food safety for leftovers has to be on the brain.  So how long can that ham or turkey be kept?  The answer: seven days if it is stored at a maximum of 41oF (5oC). If you end up using that turkey in a casserole or soup, it still has a maximum of seven safe days.  This means that if you cook the bird on a Monday and make it into a stew on Thursday, it has until Sunday to be eaten safely if continuously stored in the fridge. Those foods you know you won’t eat in time should be frozen as soon as possible.  Try freezing leftovers in individual portions or individual meal containers. This way you only thaw and cook the amount you will eat next time. Follow these safety rules and your leftovers will last even longer than the month of holidays.

By Abby Forman, Registered Dietitian with Bon Secours Physical Therapy & Sports Performance

For more information about nutrition and choosing healthy foods, visit us at

Hepatitis C Cases Rising: Do You Need to Be Tested?

As the number of new hepatitis C virus infections keeps rising, federal health authorities are urging people at risk to get tested.

Nearly half of people living with the virus don’t know they’re infected. Many people don’t have any symptoms. Left untreated, people can develop liver cirrhosis, which can cause liver cancer. They can also spread the virus to other people and their children.

A simple blood test can tell whether someone has hepatitis C. Treatment calls for taking anti-viral drugs for 8 to 12 weeks.

“The treatment is incredibly effective,” said Mitchell Shiffman, MD, medical director of Bon Secours Liver Institute. “The cure rate is 97 to 99 percent.”

The rising number of hepatitis C infections is primarily a result of increasing injection drug use associated with America’s growing opioid epidemic, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over five years, the number of new infections has nearly tripled, reaching a 15-year high. The highest number of new infections is among 20- to 29-year-olds.

“If you’re a young adult who’s used IV drugs, you absolutely should be tested,” Shiffman said.

Still, most of the 3.5 million Americans living with hepatitis C are baby boomers born from 1945 to 1965. Baby boomers are six times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than any other age group. They also face greater health risks because they’ve had the virus since the 1960s or 1970s.

Chronic hepatitis C infection is the leading reason people need liver transplants in the United States.

While most people are asymptomatic, others might feel overly tired because, as the virus inflames the liver, it uses up energy. Liver cirrhosis increases fatigue and can cause internal bleeding and confusion.

If you have liver cirrhosis, the clock is ticking. Eventually, it can lead to liver cancer.

“Many people who have cirrhosis and liver cancer are not aware they have had chronic HCV for decades,” Shiffman said. “If they had found out they had hepatitis C even five years ago, they could have been treated and cured and may not have cirrhosis or liver cancer today.”

CDC officials recommend Hepatitis C testing for the following groups of people:

  • People born from 1945 through 1965.
  • Anyone who has ever injected illegal drugs, including those who injected only once many years ago.
  • Recipients of clotting factor concentrates made before 1987.
  • People who had blood transfusions or solid organ transplants before July 1992.
  • Anyone who has ever received long-term hemodialysis treatment.
  • Anyone infected with HIV.
  • Patients who have signs or symptoms of liver disease such as abnormal liver enzymes.
  • Children born to mothers who have tested positive for hepatitis C.

For more information or to find a healthcare provider near you, call 804-359-WELL or visit

Start at 40!

by Mark Dixon, MD, Fellowship-Trained Breast Imager

Christian Shield, MS, MD/MHA, Fellowship-Trained Breast Imager

Directors of Breast Imaging, Bon Secours Richmond Health System, Commonwealth Radiology Associates

Annual screening mammography—beginning at age 40 and continuing yearly—delivers the greatest benefit to the most women.

Thankfully, there has been dramatic progress in the treatment of breast cancer over the past several decades. In fact, the mortality from breast cancer since 1975 has decreased approximately 35%. A woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is approximately 12%—one in eight. As one might expect, this risk varies by age. Approximately 20% of breast cancer is diagnosed in women 40–50 years of age.

Recently, controversy has been generated about when to begin screening mammograms. Some would argue that screening should start after 45–50 years of age and be performed less frequently. The interdisciplinary breast specialists at Bon Secours believe in optimizing the benefits of screening for breast cancer. Waiting until 50 years of age to begin mammography would miss the opportunity to diagnosis and treat 20% of breast cancer. Screening more frequently than 24 months reduces mortality. Therefore, we continue to support yearly screening mammograms starting at age 40. We are not unique in our viewpoint. The American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging continue to recommend screening at 40 years of age, as do leading cancer centers across the country, such as Memorial Sloan Kettering and MD Anderson.

The justification for the changes in screening mammography guidelines is not based on any scientific evidence. In fact, studies continue to show the benefits of screening mammography. The justifications for later and less frequent screening were based upon “efficiency” and over emphasized “harm” of screening and “overdiagnosis.”

Efficiency is simply the desire to minimize cost and maximize return on investment; it does not seek to maximize benefit. This is an economic decision that strives to minimize the cost to the system without consideration of the benefits to the individual.

Screening “harm” is the anxiety created when a woman is asked to return for additional images. In fact, only about 10% of women are asked to return, and the majority of these women are given reassurance that nothing is wrong. We feel the perceived “harm” from anxiety is overstated as compared to the very real harm of not detecting cancer. Additionally, cancers detected at a later stage may result in the need for more aggressive and extensive treatments, which can carry real consequences.

“Overdiagnosis” is simply the concept that some pre-invasive cancers, so-called Ductal Carcinoma in Situ or DCIS, may never evolve to be life-threatening. Unfortunately, we do not yet have the knowledge to predict which DCIS will harm the patient and which will not, so all DCIS is treated the same. We should always seek a cancer diagnosis where possible. Hopefully, in time, we will learn which cancers require treatment and which can be followed with surveillance.

We have dedicated our lives to detecting and fighting breast cancer. We feel passionately about women’s breast health and trust we have given you a good understanding of why you should begin getting yearly mammograms at age 40. Simply said: mammograms save lives. Start at 40!

Call 804‑627‑5660 to schedule your mammography appointment today!

Or, as part of your MyChart experience, you are now able to schedule your mammography appointment online at

Immune boosting Antioxidants – Flu Season Fighters

When flu season hits, immune function hits the brain.  Most people think of Vitamin C for flu or cold prevention, but why? The answer is “ROS.”  Reactive oxygen species, ROS, are the byproducts of natural metabolism of oxygen in the body.  The formation of ROS, while normal, can be increased by exposure to pollution, UV radiation, certain foods, and even exercise.  When produced in overabundance, ROS can cause damage to the cells leading to compromised immunity, inflammation, and disease.  Antioxidants are essentially ROS neutralizers, giving the ROS something else to react with so that they do not harm other cells. Vitamin C is one of the most commonly known antioxidants, but others that can be found in the diet include Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and polyphenols.  The easiest places to spot antioxidants are in the colors of your whole fruits and vegetables.  Get a variety of colors to maximize different nutrients and immune boosting antioxidants. Your body will thank you.

By Abby Forman, Registered Dietitian with Bon Secours Physical Therapy & Sports Performance

For more information about nutrition and choosing healthy foods, visit us at