Wellness clinic draws small crowd to mall

Judy Elze went to Carson City's Carson Mall on Wednesday to get a free flu shot.

As a bonus she found herself in the middle of a women's wellness fair.

"I feel really fortunate that we have this kind of thing in our community," Elze said. "Women need to be aware of the things that are out there for their health."

Carson-Tahoe Hospital hosted the wellness fair partially in observance of October as breast cancer awareness month. But there were several other local companies on hand to promote their tips on beauty, diet and rest.

Women - and men - relaxed in massage chairs as students from the Baum Healing Arts Center of Carson City practiced massage techniques. Representatives from Nikken health products let women try their magnetic and infrared sleep and relaxation technology. Vitamin Research Products offered a 25 percent discount on their products to locals. Osteoporosis tests were offered.

"Women's lives are so busy they don't know all that's available to them," said Nikken distributor Chris Burress.

People standing in line for a flu shot flipped through wellness fair information while waiting. The hospital had to order an extra 5,000 flu shots because the 10,000 it had ordered wasn't enough. The hospital scheduled all 240 appointments for each day of the free shots and has averaged 377 walk-in's at each clinic.

Despite the wealth of health care offerings, many women found themselves learning about one of the number one killers of women: breast cancer.

"I feel stupid doing this," Kathleen Sturgeon said as she felt a synthetic breast to see if she could find any lumps.

Sturgeon just turned 50 and has yet to have a mammogram. Despite warnings from the American Cancer Society that women should have a mammogram every two years after the age of 40 and every year after 50, Sturgeon is skeptical of having a mammogram.

"I've heard studies that say (mammograms) don't catch everything," Sturgeon said. "Am I just wasting my time? Why torture my breast if I don't have to?

Joyce Lund, education chairman of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation of Northern Nevada, said rather than trying to tell women about breast cancer, the foundation tries to promote breast health.

"When you talk about breast cancer, it scares people off," Lund said. "What if they (get a mammogram) and the diagnosis is positive? Years ago cancer was a death sentence. Now there are so many treatments. Women need to be responsible."

Lund said women need to be aware that breast cancer can strike anyone, even if breast cancer doesn't run in a family.

Neither Marian Yeoman and Melody Baxter of Dayton had ever had a breast exam. They joined Sturgeon in the ranks of women over 40 who shy away from mammograms for one reason or another. Both Baxter and Yeoman qualified for one of 50 free mammograms from Tahoe Carson Radiology Group. Not only did the duo make appointments for their breast exams, they received free osteoporosis testing as well.

"(The wellness fair) is great because it makes everything nicely available instead of going to the hospital," Yeoman said.

"People will come here when they won't go to the hospital," Baxter added.


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