Placing a High Priority on Mammogram Screenings for Women

Second only to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women in the United States. One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

According to the American Cancer Society in 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. Most cases of breast cancer in women are found at 50 years of age or older; however, around 11 percent of new cases are found in women younger than 45 years of age.

There is currently no way to prevent breast cancer. The best option is to catch breast cancer early through screenings and exams. Furthermore, the earlier a patient is diagnosed, the more options they have available to them for minimally invasive treatment. Read more

Celiac Disease

What You Should Know About Celiac Disease

By: Meg Irish

Only a few years ago, if you requested “gluten-free” at a restaurant you received a blank stare. Today, one in five Americans choose a gluten-free lifestyle. Now you may ask yourself why eliminate foods like pastries, pasta, and bread out of your diet? Well, for some people this lifestyle is a choice, for those with celiac disease (CD), it is a necessity. Nearly one percent of the U.S. population is affected by CD, a severe condition that can lead to digestive problems and nutritional deficiencies.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease

For someone with Celiac Disease, eating foods containing gluten produces an immune response that attacks the villi in the small intestine, which are used for the absorption of nutrients into the body.

CD is a serious autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) leads to damage of the small intestine. When an individual with this disease eats food containing gluten, their body produces an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage of the villi, small finger-like structures inside the small intestine used for the absorption of nutrients into the body.

“Like any organ, if the intestine is ‘sick,’ it cannot perform its job optimally, and many nutrients are not properly absorbed. The dysfunction is not a permanent issue; with a strict gluten-free diet the bowel will return to normal function,” said Jonathan D. Eisner, MD, FACG of TPMG Gastroenterology in Newport News. Read more

TPMG Orthopedics Division Expands with New Spine Surgeon


TPMG is proud to announce the expansion of the Orthopedics division with the addition of fellowship trained spine surgeon, Shane M. McGowan, MD, in September 2019. This marks an exciting growth period for the Orthopedics division, as service offerings recently expanded with the joining of fellowship trained hand surgeon, Nicholas Smerlis, MD, FAAOS, CAQSH, in June 2019.

Shane M. McGowan, MD

Dr. McGowan earned his medical degree from Stony Brook University in New York and completed residency training at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He completed an orthopedic spine fellowship at the University of Maryland Medical Center/Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore; recognized as one of the top spine fellowship programs in the country.

Dr. McGowan utilizes various surgical techniques including open and minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery, decompression, and spinal fusion. His special interests include the correction of spinal deformities and treatment of arm and leg pain/numbness resulting from compression of the spinal cord.

The TPMG Orthopedics division provides comprehensive orthopedic care with specialists in orthopedics surgery, adult joint reconstruction, joint replacement, foot and ankle surgery, sports medicine, musculoskeletal medicine, surgical and non-surgical spine care, and hand surgery.

As part of the spine team at TPMG Orthopedics, Dr. McGowan will work alongside board certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Moore, a former spine surgeon with more than 25 years of experience, who now devotes his practice to the evaluation and management of patients with non-surgical spinal related problems. Read more

TPMG’s Dr. John E. Brady is Named Board Chair of American Board of Family Medicine


Newport News, VA, August 02, 2019 –  Local medical group, Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group (TPMG), a network of over 220 physicians and advanced clinicians in over 75 offices across the Tidewater area, is proud to announce the naming of John E. Brady, MD as Board Chair of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM)

The ABFM is a not for profit organization governed by a Board of Directors whose mission is to improve the health of the public by assuring that any family physician who holds their certification has met rigorous standards. The ABFM is the third-largest board of the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS).

John E. Brady, MD

John E. Brady, MD

The ABFM Board of Directors is composed of physicians and public members who are passionate about both family medicine and quality patient care and have exemplified themselves as leaders in the field. The naming of Dr. Brady as Board Chair is a great accomplishment and TPMG values all the work he does for his patients and community. 

“When I was elected to be on the board of the ABFM, I hoped to be able to articulate both the voice and the frustrations of the front line physician. Being named Board Chair four years later means the board appreciates my perspective and the work I have tried to accomplish. I am deeply honored to be given this opportunity,” said Dr. Brady of TPMG The Village Doctor

“We are very proud of Dr. Brady’s achievements at ABFM and the impacts he makes for other physicians around the country. He continues to be an astounding physician for TPMG and we look forward to seeing his career flourish,” said Scott J. Banning, MD of TPMG Hidenwood Family Medicine.

Currently, there are over 92,000 family physicians who hold the ABFM certification across the country. As Board Chair, Dr. Brady ensures that the policies adopted by the Board of Directors get prioritized and implemented by the ABFM organization.

“It’s an honor to know someone for many years who has worked so hard on the national level to improve healthcare. He is standing up for patients and physicians and working alongside them to make these beneficial improvements,” said TPMG Chief Medical Officer, Steven S. Leblang, MD. 

Low testosterone

What Men Need to Know About Low Testosterone

By: Meg Irish

Constant fatigue, unexplained muscle or hair loss? Most men don’t realize they have low testosterone, but these are just a few signals that could indicate your levels have dropped below normal. A gradual decline in testosterone is typical with age, but age isn’t always the determining factor with testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS).

Testosterone is produced in a circadian rhythm, meaning it ranges from 350 – 1100 ng/dL, typically being at its highest levels in the morning and lowest levels at night. Along with sperm production, testosterone regulates a number of functions, including muscle size and strength, sexual development, bone density, and fat distribution. Low testosterone levels mean the body does not produce enough of the male sex hormone, testosterone.

Symptoms and Risk Factors of Low Testosterone

There are numerous symptoms that men with low testosterone experience ranging from hot flashes and hair loss to reduced erectile function and depression.

Low testosterone

“I’ve had patients come in who’ve been on two, or even three, antidepressants and I check a testosterone level, and sure enough they come back with low testosterone levels, and we’re able to get them off antidepressants and they feel a million times better,” said Eric Darby, MD, FACS, urologist at TPMG Urology in Newport News, VA.

Having any one of these symptoms may not mean low testosterone, but if you have a combination of these symptoms, you may want to have your physician check your testosterone levels. Read more

TPMG Expands Primary Care Through Summer 2019

Local medical group, Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group (TPMG), a network of over 200 physicians and advanced practice clinicians in over 75 offices across the Tidewater area, is expanding primary care services this summer with the addition of multiple family medicine physicians. Three family medicine physicians will join on the Southside as well as two family medicine physicians in Newport News and Williamsburg. 

Caroline Han, MD, Matthew Backens, MD, and David Zelinskas, DO, MPH, join established primary care offices in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. Sinclair B. McCracken, MD, who brings established private practice of nearly 20 years, and Matthew Fenlason, DO, will be joining in Newport News and Williamsburg, respectively. 

“We are proud to expand our family of primary care provider offices to deliver patient-friendly, compassionate medical care. As our organization continues to grow we’re excited to welcome these physicians to the group,” said TPMG Chief Medical Officer Steven Leblang, MD.” Read more

When Should You Get an Eye Exam?

By: Meg Irish

Ever wonder how often you should get an eye exam, just for general good health?  According to TPMG board certified ophthalmologist Anthony DeRosa, MD, the guidelines vary dependent on age.

Eye Care during Childhood and Adolescence

For children, the recommended age for visits to an eye doctor include at birth, between six and twelve months, at three years of age, before the child is ready to enter school, and then again in their early teens.

Parents should place just as much importance on pediatric eye care as they do on routine vaccinations and pediatric development visits. Generally, infants need to have their first office eye exam at six months of age. During an exam, the eye doctor will check for a family history of eye disease, observe the child’s eye movements, and examine the child’s eyes to look for any discharge or signs of infection.

“Eye conditions can be corrected if caught early,” said DeRosa. “A few signs that your child should get an eye exam immediately include the child’s eyes do not move together, they have difficulty focusing on objects close up, or are exhibiting poor visual tracking,” said Dr. DeRosa. Read more

wrist pain

Are You at Risk for de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

wrist painBy: Meg Irish

Many of us do not expect to have aches and pains in our hands, but one condition, de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, commonly affects women more often than men. At times called “mommy’s wrist” as the condition frequently occurs in moms with newborns. However, this condition has been described widely across all genders and ages.

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a condition of the wrist where the tendons to the thumb, which cross the wrist, become inflamed and the soft tissue tunnel thickens. Initial signs of discomfort include radial sided, or thumb-sided, wrist pain, popping when moving the thumb, and numbness or swelling of the thumb. The pain often increases when gripping or rotating the wrist. Read more

teenager looking tired and stressed

The Importance of Adequate Sleep in Your Teen’s Health

By: Meg Irish

Ever wonder why your teenager is habitually grouchy when they come home from school? Rather than just a bad day, it could be a lack of sleep. Most teenagers are not getting an adequate amount of sleep each night, which can lead to many health and behavior problems.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends teenagers 13 to 18 years of age sleep eight to ten hours a night during this critical stage of growth and development. We know that there can be long-term impacts associated with poor sleep, which include a higher risk for obesity, diabetes, enlarged tonsils, injuries, poor mental health, and problems with attention and behavior. Read more

man sitting on ground holding foot

Common Foot and Ankle Injuries in Athletes

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, there’s no doubt you are more susceptible to injury, particularly foot and ankle injuries. This can be a hard pill to swallow for athletes limiting their ability to run, jump, and even walk.

When our feet aren’t able to effectively pick up the load, other structures and tissues are bound to compensate, which sets the stage for injury. Our feet serve as the foundation for the rest of our body. Ensuring they are functioning properly plays a vital role in performance and health. Often athletes unwittingly sacrifice their feet, setting themselves up for injury. Here are a few of the most common foot and ankle problems to watch for and preventative measures to keep you in the game.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury and is linked to athletes who perform sports with repetitive action or abrupt motion, such as tennis, soccer, or dance. This causes intense strain on the tendon and will result in inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Treatment for this condition varies depending on severity. For moderate injuries, Sara E. Zelinskas, DPM of TPMG Foot and Ankle in Virginia Beach recommends the following treatments: heel lift, night splint, and physical therapy to help reduce inflammation and strengthen the affected area. Read more