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.

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.

PNWU Run for Your Life: 5k Fun Run and Health Fair

The osteopathic medical students of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU) are hosting the PNWU Run for Your Life, a 5k Fun Run and Health Fair to promote physical fitness and health in the Yakima Valley.

The 3rd annual event will be held April 13, 2013 in downtown Yakima, with a paved 5k course starting and ending at the intersection of South 2nd Street and East Yakima Avenue. The course will be clearly marked, and volunteers will be present along the race course. There will be a timing clock at the finish line, but because it is not a race, no individual timing equipment will be provided.

All ages are invited to attend and participate in the fun-run and/or health fair. The health fair will feature booth sponsored by various clubs at the medical school, with medical student educating participants on topics ranging from physical fitness and health, to preventative and osteopathic medicine.

Proceeds from this event will benefit Yakima’s Children Village. For more information about Children’s Village, visit their website:

General information:
To register, visit:
Registration: 7:30 a.m.–8:30 a.m.
5k starts: 9:00 a.m.
Course closes: 10:00 a.m.
Health Fair: 8:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Note: after March 15, 2013, day-of-registration t-shirts are available – while supplies last. Registrants after March 31 are not guaranteed a t-shirt.
$25 adults
$15 age 11 and under
$60 for a family of 4