North Star Lodge Cancer Care Center hosts 30-40 active trials at a time

Yakima is considered a small town with a very robust clinical trials program.   The North Star Lodge Cancer Care Center hosts 30-40 active trials involving over 200 patients at any given time.  Clinical trials participation is 1-2% of patient base nationwide while North Star Lodge engages 6-8% of its patient base.

  • 15-20% percent of all patients served at North Star Lodge are Hematology patients.   Thirty percent of all clinical trials participants are hematology patients.
  • There are hematology patients here who don’t have cancer, some hematology patients have diseases that can progress to cancer, so it makes sense to see a specialist.
  • Hematology malignancies like leukemia and myeloma are cancers and are treated at North Star Lodge.
  • Thomas Boyd, MD, Lead Investigator at North Star Lodge was recognized in 2012 by U.S. Oncology as being among the top trial enrollers out of over 2,000 network physicians in the nation.  His Lead Research Coordinator, Beth Parker was also recognized as the second highest enrolling coordinator out of 210 US Oncology Network coordinators in the nation.


NSL offers clinical trials at every stage of cancer and provides patients with access to some of the latest and most effective drugs in the fight against and management of cancer.  George Harding, a patient at North Star Lodge was diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), a mild form of Leukemia in 2003.  He began treatments through the clinical trials program and is living an active life, “thanks to all the knowledge and resources at North Star Lodge,” claims Harding.  Take a look at the news story produced by KAPP-TV.

Transitioning to the New American Plate- Part 4

This week NSL Nutrition Services dietitians are emphasizing dairy and meat.

The fourth step to making the transition to AICR’s New American Plate is to focus on making healthier choices in the dairy and meat food groups.  The AICR encourages us to make animal sources of protein the smallest portion on our plates: 1/3 or less of our plate.  Below is a list of simple changes we can work toward to making the best choices in this area of our diet:



  • Choose fat-free or low fat milk and yogurt.  If you currently drink whole milk or 2% and find it difficult to accept the taste difference skim milk has, you can gradually transition to fat free milk by replacing half of whole milk with skim/fat free milk until you are drinking only fat free milk.
  • Choose reduced fat cheese or limit regular cheese to 1 ounce a few times a week.
  • When cooking or baking, substitute fat free dairy products (such as fat sour cream, skim milk, fat free condensed milk, etc).



  • Choose to eat fish, chicken and turkey more often than beef, pork and lamb.  Additionally, choose to prepare these foods using lower fat cooking methods such as baking, poaching and braising.
  • Limit red meat (specifically beef, pork and lamb) to 18 ounces or less per week.
  • Avoid processed meat (such as bacon, sausage and hot dogs) or Limit to special occasions.


For more information on ways to make the Transition to the New American Plate, visit

Spring Sports Conditioning and Concussion Awareness

Spring is here and the most popular spring sports are golf, softball and tennis.   These activities involve abrupt, explosive actions that place stress on the musculoskeletal system:

  • Driving a golf club
  • Swinging a bat and sprinting around the bases
  • Abruptly moving from side to side, forward and backward in tennis


Before you hit the golf course or playing fields, get your body in shape for these fun activities!


When is the time to start conditioning?

As soon as you you’re ready to swing a club, bat or racket, ideally, conditioning would begin 4-8 weeks prior to the activity.


What should I be doing?

  • Even if you work out during the winter months, running on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary cycle is a different motion than what we’re talking about here.  Good for your heart and cardiovascular health, but not enough to lower the risk of injury to your musculoskeletal system.
  • It’s important to do a dynamic warm up and work through a range of stretches before any activity and even during the activity (such as taking practice swings)
  • Strengthen the entire musculoskeletal system

How should I be conditioning my body for these spring sports?

  • Go for an overall strengthening and stretching approach.  Don’t just focus on shoulders or legs, but work on the entire body.  Weight lifting or resistance training is great for this.
  • Perform 8 to 12 reps using proper form and slow movement.  And use a full range of motion.
  • Eight weeks of training, two to three times a week, before you hit the field, course or court is ideal.
  • For stretching, use gentle movements that extend muscles until they are taut, but not hurting.  Hold for 10-30 seconds.

Where can I find information on exercises I can do or the proper form for these?

  • Talk to your health care provider about referring you to a consultation at Lakeview Spine and Sports with one of our physical therapists or athletic trainer.
  • Contact local gyms.  They have personal trainers on staff who could work with you.

Concussion evaluation

  • Know the signs and symptoms
    • Confused state, memory problems, headache, nausea dizziness, vomiting
    • Balance problems
    • Unusual behaviors
    • Slurred speech, incoherent speech
  • There is no such thing as ‘mild symptoms’, and by law, any athlete with concussive symptoms needs to be need by a medical professional experienced in the evaluation of concussions. This includes MD, DO, PA, ARNP, and ATCs.



For more information, call Lakeview Sports and Spine at 574-6050


Don’t miss the free Spa Night at North Star Lodge!

The cancer journey can cause stress, anxiety and physical pain for patients, caregivers and family members.  That’s why a team of caring volunteers have organized an evening of pampering on Thursday, 3/28 from 5:30 pm – 8 pm at North Star Lodge Cancer Center.  Imagine a calming massage by the waterfall, some healing touch therapy, nails, hair, makeup, sleep therapy and a huge dessert, beverage and wine bar.  This program is offered compliments of many generous donors to the cancer care fund at North Star Lodge.  Call 574-3541 to register.

Why You’re NOT Losing Weight: How to Get the Scale Moving!

When the scale won’t budge, your pants aren’t fitting any differently, and your waist measurement hasn’t changed at all despite changing your diet and adding exercise, it’s time to take an honest look at the little things that may be hindering your progress. You would assume that weight loss is a numbers game. Burn more than I take in, correct? Sort of.  Here are some of the sneaky things you’re doing that have you wondering, “Why am I not losing weight?”

  • Underestimating how many calories you are consuming. – Did you know that the FDA allows for a 20 percent margin on calorie counts? Think that meal you ate has 300 calories? Well it could be up to 360. It’s a good idea to overestimate when calculating calories when dining out or eating packaged foods.
  • You stick to all “fat free” products. – You’d assume this change would help you lose weight. Wrong. Many manufacturers will remove the fat from their product, but replace it with sugar and other fillers. Instead, go for the low fat version; the little fat you will be consuming is better than sugar, dextrose, or high fructose corn syrup.
  • You are eating too much. – Get out that food scale. Weighing your portions is the best way to insure that you are not over consuming. Your protein may be the size of your hand, but how thick is it? Rely on portion sizes in grams or ounces instead of tablespoons or cups for more accurate calorie counts.
  • You’re good all week, then splurge on the weekends.- You are not alone. Weekends bring the feeling of freedom, and that lack of schedule can send our diet into a downward spiral. Allow yourself 1 to 2 treats on the weekend, but stay within your calorie count. You can undue all your hard work during the week with just one day of complete indulgence.
  • You’re under eating.- Biologically, our bodies are made to hold fat during times of famine (think back to our ancestors living through harsh winters). If you are not feeding your body enough calories, your metabolism will fall into “survival” mode and you will hold on to body fat. For weight loss, women should multiply their bodyweight by 10-12 and men by 12-14 (these numbers depend on activity level, lean body mass, and genetics). And never drop your calories below 1200 (women) and 1500 (men).
  • You are too strict and end up binging on “off plan” foods.- Deprivation doesn’t work. Go cold turkey on all of the foods you enjoy and you may end up falling completely off the wagon. Instead, don’t blacklist foods. Think of them as “all the time” and “sometimes” foods. Enjoy a small portion of what you’re craving 1-2 times per week, then get right back on track. Trying to be perfect may set you up for failure.
  • You’ve cut out an entire food group.- First it was “low fat” then “low carb”, then 500 calories a day. The truth is these strategies don’t work in the long term. In order to keep your metabolism strong and lose weight at a healthy, maintainable pace, make sure you consume a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Keep your carbohydrates in the morning and around your workouts when your body will put them to good use.
  • You keep “starting over”.- “I blew it, I’ll start again Monday”. This mentality will keep you in the “diet prison”. You’re not dieting, you’re making a lifestyle change toward a healthier, more fit you. One bad meal does not need to spell diet disaster. Admit it happened, move on, and get right back on track.
  • You are eating 2-3 large meals a day. – This will work for some, but for most, over consuming at one meal then going hours without food will be bad news for both your metabolism and your blood sugar levels. Try to consume small meals every 2.5 to 3.5 hours, each with a small amount of protein. This will keep your blood sugar and energy levels even and make you less likely to eat more than you need because you are famished.
  • You expect results overnight. – How long did it take you to gain weight? Probably years. Why do we expect it to come off overnight? Be realistic and give yourself credit for all the positive things you are doing. The scale is NOT the only gauge of your success. Celebrate small victories and know that maintainable, healthy, safe weight loss takes time.
  • You are “Biting, Licking and Tasting” (BLT) yourself to death. – I’m talking about the calories we don’t register. The lick of the knife after making your child’s sandwich, the one peanut M&M at the office, or that handful of nuts as you pass the pantry. These items add up and can halt your weight loss progress. Commit to no “BLTs” this week and see how differently you feel!

Can you relate to some of these items? Devote to making small changes. Finally see the scale move, your pants get looser, and your outlook on weight loss turning positive. This summer will be your healthiest, most fit yet!


Lindsey Woodkey of Ellensburg is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor with bachelors’ degrees in exercise science and nutrition from Central Washington University.



Lymphedema Therapy Services Resuming

To better serve community need and to provide coordinated care for our patients, Christine Rice, Dana Zongas, Teresa Kennedy and Debby Morgan will be resuming lymphedema therapy services at North Star Lodge beginning March 21.  Maria Contreras and Amanda Sainsbury will be providing support services.

Contact info:

New referrals are currently being accepted by fax at 574-3325

  • The Lympedema registration desk number is 574-3409
  • Therapists’ phone numbers will stay the same

We will be accepting referrals for an oncology exercise group to begin in April.  More information to follow.

Questions?  Contact Celia Young, Rehab Clinic Coordinator, at 574-3333.