In Great Health. An In Great Health eNewsletter.
Signup For Avera Newsletters
Avera Health Source
Find a Physician
Click here to donate.
Avera Medical Minute
Calendar of Events
Avera Jobs
Visit Avera
Cardiac Risk Assessment
Avera Health Plans

Thank you for subscribing to In Great Health, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with information to help you live a healthy lifestyle.  To learn more about what Avera can do to partner with you to improve your health, visit

To your health,

The Avera Staff


With more than 1-million Americans diagnosed with skin cancer each year, it's the most common cancer in the United States. Diagnosing cancer early can increase treatment options and survival rates.

Some Avera regional centers use advanced treatments, such as brachytherapy (a type of radiation treatment), in early stages of skin cancer. That's why it's important to report any changes in your skin to your doctor, says Stephen J. Dick, board-certified radiation oncologist at Avera Queen of Peace Cancer Center in Mitchell, S.D. "The main advantages of skin brachytherapy include a shorter treatment timeframe and fewer side effects because the radiation is targeted to a more specific area," he says.

If you spot a suspicious lesion on your skin, immediately make an appointment to see your doctor. The following ABCD guidelines are criteria for determining if a skin growth may be a skin cancer.

Asymmetry: One half of the abnormal area is different in shape or color.
Borders: The lesion or growth has irregular edges.
Color: Color changes from one area to another.
Diameter: The lesion or growth is larger than the size of a pencil eraser.

Prevention is important in reducing skin cancer risk. The best way to prevent many types of skin cancer is avoiding exposure to the sun, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun is most intense. Remember to wear sunscreen even in winter. Wear SPF 30 or higher for maximum sun protection. Also keep in mind that there is no such thing as a "healthy tan." A tan is your body's way of trying to protect itself from the sun's damaging rays.

Share: Facebook MySpaceGoogle Microsoft Yahoo! BookmarksLinkedIn

Back to top^


Did you know that people who make resolutions to maintain healthy lifestyles are 10 times more likely to reach their goals than people who don't? Whether your goal is to quit smoking, eat more fiber every day or to exercise four times a week, here are some tips to keep you on track.

Make realistic goals. Have a very specific goal with measurable landmarks and a deadline. Stick to just one resolution at a time, and break it down into small steps. The lifestyle and condition assessments here can help you identify a good resolution that can improve your health.

Rely on others. You'll be more accountable if family and friends are aware of your goals. Plus, they can help motivate you when you hit rough patches.

Move on if you make mistakes. It's OK if you have setbacks in reaching your goals. Look at what kept you from achieving your goals and see what you can do to avoid it in the future. Mistakes can be opportunities for learning.

Keep your goals in mind. Think about your resolution often, and visualize yourself reaching your goals. If it helps keep you motivated, keep a journal of your progress. Know that you can do anything that you set your mind to.

Share: Facebook MySpace GoogleMicrosoft Yahoo! Bookmarks LinkedIn

Back to top^


Stress and fatigue left over from the holiday season can leave your immune system vulnerable during the remaining winter months. Practice good health habits so your body gets the rest and nutrients it needs to stay well.

Regular exercise helps reduce illnesses by fighting off bacterial and viral infections. Exercise circulates the blood more rapidly, which sends antibodies and white blood cells faster. Try to exercise 30 minutes a day at least three days a week. Regular exercise also helps prevent long-term diseases, such as cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease.

While getting enough physical activity is essential to boost immunity, it's just as important to rest. People who get at least eight hours of sleep a night have improved immunity. People who get less than seven hours of sleep are much more susceptible to colds and other illnesses.

A healthy diet helps your whole body function better. Try not to overdo carbohydrates and sugar. Too much sugar, whether from carbonated beverages or from carbohydrates, can cause your blood sugar to rise, and that can stress your immune system. Drink a lot of water, and make sure you're getting enough protein in your diet.

If you haven't been vaccinated for the seasonal flu, there's still time to protect yourself. The flu season usually runs through February but can continue even later. The sooner you get the vaccine, the better. Keep viruses at bay, including flu and cold viruses, by washing your hands often.

Share: Facebook MySpaceGoogleMicrosoft Yahoo! BookmarksLinkedIn

Back to top^

In Great Health online archive.

In Great Health is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.