Mills-Peninsula Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

A Team Approach to Tackling Addiction


When someone you care about is suffering from addiction, it can be emotionally wrenching because the addicted person will often blame his or her problem on the nearest people and situations, Philip Kolski, a licensed clinical social worker at the Mills-Peninsula Behavioral Health Center, says. This, of course, pushes the people who are trying to help away.

“The addict is not in control any longer,” he says. “The person’s sole focus is to relieve the pain inside. As a result, addiction is a very lonely disease because often the addict has no support  system left.” Read More

Healthy Holiday Meal Substitutions


Special holiday meals don’t have to be laden with fat, sugar and far too many calories.

“Create healthier holiday meals by letting the words ‘substitute, reduce and omit’ guide you when you are preparing a special holiday dish,” Carolyn McCune, a Mills-Peninsula registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, says. “Think of it as giving the gift of a healthier holiday season to yourself, your family and your guests.” Read More

Healthy Holiday Eating


The holiday season – it’s the most delicious time of the year! But all those tasty treats and traditional holiday foods can also mean lots of extra sugar, fat and calories.

According to the National Institutes of Health, American adults gain about one pound between Thanksgiving and the New Year. And people who are already overweight may gain up to five pounds. Although a single pound might not sound like much, most of us don’t lose the added weight. Over the years, the continuous weight gain can lead to serious health consequences including diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

“It’s definitely worth having strategies in place before the start of the holiday season to curb any potential weight gain,” says Carolyn McCune, R.D.,  a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Mills-Peninsula. “It’s not so much what you eat on a single holiday – it’s the accumulation of treats we consume between Halloween and the New Year that really adds up.”

McCune offers the following tips to help you enjoy your favorite holiday foods without sacrificing your waistline and good health.

Read More

Preventing Diabetes Without a Pill

HealthyFood“Lifestyle management is more powerful than taking a pill for preventing diabetes,” says Pauline Chau, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in Mills-Peninsula’s Diabetes and Nutrition Department.

Research shows that people with prediabetes who lose a modest amount of weight through dietary changes and increased activity can sharply reduce their chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Read More

A Team Effort Helps Breast Cancer Patient Celebrate a Night at the Opera

Caroline Hurtado, radiation therapist; Annie Noonan; Al Taira, M.D., radiation oncologist

Caroline Hurtado, radiation therapist; Annie Noonan; Al Taira, M.D., radiation oncologist

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are sharing one patient’s story of celebration during her fight against breast cancer.

Long before her breast cancer diagnosis, Annie Noonan and her husband had been invited to attend the opening night of the San Francisco Opera. She had never been to opening night and had been looking forward to it before the diagnosis.

Annie’s treatment at Mills-Peninsula’s Dorothy E. Schneider Cancer Center in San Mateo included a type of targeted radiation therapy called intracavitary brachytherapy, in which a device to deliver a high dose of radiation is inserted into the breast and left in place for the duration of the treatment. The device is attached to one end of a tube, and the other end of the tube sticks out of the skin with several protruding wires.

Annie chose this type of radiation for its short duration — twice a day for five days — so she could quickly return to her family and her busy professional life as president and co-founder of The Avalon Academy, a local school for children with cerebral palsy. Read More

3D Mammography Gives a Closer Look


It had been about 18 months since Susan Gray, a busy attorney in San Francisco, had her last mammogram. She knew the recommendation; starting at age 40, women should be screened annually for breast cancer. As it turned out, Gray’s visit to the Mills-Peninsula Women’s Center in May 2014 came at just the right time.

Susan Gray

Susan Gray

Using the newly installed digital breast tomosynthesis technology, also known as 3D mammography, Harriet Borofsky, M.D., medical director of the Mills-Peninsula Women’s Center, found an aggressive breast tumor that would likely have gone undetected with traditional mammography. Read More

Flu Season: Time to Get Vaccinated



The flu (influenza) is serious business. Worse than a cold, the flu is highly contagious and can result in a severe illness with a high fever, cough, achiness, fatigue and sore throat. Every year the flu results in many hospitalizations and deaths. It is especially dangerous for the elderly, people with weakened immune systems or chronic health issues, pregnant women and babies. Read More