Sunscreen basics


Protect your skin from damage: Know which sunscreen to choose and how to use it.

Using sunscreen is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your skin and your health.

The right sunscreen used properly can help protect your appearance by reducing your risk of sunburns, age spots and wrinkles. It can also protect your health by reducing your risk for skin cancer.

How sunscreen works

Sunscreen offers protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays in a few ways, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Among them:

  • Reflecting UV rays with ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium oxide and photo reflective polymer spheres.
  • Absorbing UV rays with substances such as oxybenzone, avobenzone and UV-altering pigments.
  • Counteracting damage caused by UV rays that make it through to the skin with antioxidants such as extract of green tea or candlewood plants.

Different types

Oils, creams, lotions, pastes, ointments, sticks and sprays—those are just a few of the sunscreen formulations you can choose from.

Zinc oxide and titanium oxide formulations may work better for children and those with sensitive skin. Creams are a good choice for the face, notes the AAD, while stick sunscreen works well around the eyes and gels are great for hairy areas like the scalp and men’s chests.

Ultimately, sunscreen will do no good if you don’t use it. So choose a formulation that you know you will pick up and apply again and again.

Check the label

Whatever type of sunscreen you pick, make sure to check the label for a few key indicators:

Broad spectrum. These words on the label mean the sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB rays.

Sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. No sunscreen blocks 100 percent of the sun’s rays, but a higher SPF means better protection.

Water-resistant for up to 40 or 80 minutes. This means your sunscreen will hang in there through heavy sweating and swimming—at least for a while. Follow the directions and reapply as recommended.

Apply every day

Sunscreen only does the trick if you use it properly. So the next time you slather on the sunscreen (something experts recommend you do every day), check the directions. In general, you’ll need to:

  • Use around an ounce of sunscreen to cover exposed areas. That’s about the amount that would fill a shot glass.
  • Apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before heading outdoors. That gives it time to take effect.
  • Reapply about every two hours.
  • Pay attention to coverage on those out-of-the-way areas: ears, backs of knees, tops of feet and the top of your head if your scalp shows.

While the sun may be elusive during the winter months, UV rays are always present. Keep using sunscreen, even on days that are overcast or cool. Sun can reflect off snow quite intensely. And even on cloudy days, up to 80% of UV rays can still penetrate skin, according to the AAD.



Cord Blood Awareness Month

Cord Blood Awareness Month


July is National Cord Blood Awareness Month.  Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is the only hospital in Eastern Washington that has a cord blood program.  We collect donated cord blood after a mother gives birth.


What is cord blood and why is it so important?

  • After a baby is born and the umbilical cord is cut, the remainder of the umbilical cord (the part that is discarded as medical waste) is rich with blood forming cells (stem cells) that can be collected and stored in a public cord blood bank and made available to patients with leukemia, lymphomas, some cancers and a variety of other diseases.
  • Because cord blood doesn’t have to match a patient’s tissue type as closely as donated marrow, more patients are able to get transplants.


What is the risk to mom or baby?

  • Umbilical cord blood donation poses little risk to donors.


How much does it cost?

  • There is no charge for donating to a public cord blood bank.


Who can be a cord blood donor?

  • Moms need to consent to be cord blood donors before giving birth and they must be 18 years of age.
  • We advise parents to talk to their provider or they can let the hospital staff know that they want to be a cord blood donor.


How is cord blood collected?

  • After the baby is born, and the doctor has cut the umbilical cord, if a mom has consented to be a cord blood donor, the staff will look at the remaining cord and collect the blood into a special bag that is forwarded to the lab.


What happens to the cord blood after it’s collected?

  • Umbilical cords come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes there just is no blood.  But, if it meets the criteria for banking (in terms of volume) then the labor and delivery staff pack the unit and send it to the cord blood bank where it is frozen and a remains available to patients in search of compatible cells.


What if I ever need my cord blood?

  • If you donate to a public cord blood bank, you agree to make it available to anybody who needs it.   If you should need it, we can’t guarantee that it will still be there, however, if it is, it is yours.


Who has access to my cord blood?

  • When a patient needs a transplant, his or her doctor will search the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be The Match registry for a cord blood unit or marrow donor.
  • Names of cord blood donors are not share with transplant centers.  The baby’s cord blood is never identified by name, only by a number.


Thank you.   We know this is a personal decision, we simply want moms delivering in Yakima to know that this is an option.   If it’s going to be thrown away, why not consider donating it?


Pickin’ your produce locally

farmers marketFarmers markets offer a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables that provide vitamins and minerals to help you stay healthy.

By Lena Gill, RD, CSO, CD
North Star Lodge Cancer Center

We have been singing the praises of eating more fruits and vegetables, and now that summer has arrived in the Yakima Valley, produce has become more abundant. This is the first year my family has grown a large vegetable and herb garden, but we find that we continue to rely on and enjoy visiting our local produce stands and farmers market to supplement what we aren’t growing. Farmers markets offer a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables that provide vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals—all of which help the body stay healthy, protect against the effects of aging and reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that over 1 million people visit a farmers market weekly. The average supermarket produce travels about 2,000 miles to its destination compared to 50 miles for farmers market produce. Freshly picked produce not only tastes better but keeps longer too! Buying from our farmers also helps support our local economy. Just think about how much would stay in our community if every household spent just $10 each week at our farmers market or neighborhood produce stands.

Enjoy picking a little color for your plate and use The New American Plate ( or MyPlate ( as your guide. Learn about new and old favorites, including how to prepare them and when they are ripe. Most farmers love to share what they know and may be able to give you cooking and recipe hints.

If you want to make it a fun family event and get a little sun and exercise, some local farmers allow you to pick your own produce, such as cherries or blueberries.

“For optimum health, scientists say, eat a rainbow of colors. Your plate should look like a box of Crayolas.” Janice M. Horowitz


Central Washington Survivor’s Club at North Star Lodge

The Central Washington Survivors Club at North Star Lodge offers cancer survivors many ways to meet others with similar experiences.   Hear from one of the organizers at 8:10 this morning on KIT radio.

The Central Washington Survivors Club at North Star Lodge offers cancer survivors many ways to retain or regain strength while meeting others with similar experiences.   Our guest today is Donna Perrault, one of the organizers and volunteers with the Central Washington Survivors Club.


Who can join?

Cancer survivors and people currently in treatment are welcome to participate.


Does it cost anything?

No.  There is no cost to join, but if there’s an activity or event, that information is shared prior to the event.


How often do you meet and where?

  • The group meets every Wednesday.
  • The first Wednesday of the month we meet in the community room at North Star Lodge for a hosted lunch with a guest speaker.  The speaker presents on a variety of topics pertaining to survivorship and self care.
  • For the other Wednesdays, we have a walking group.


What types of activities do you do?

  • Last September, we did a midnight hike up the Naches Loop trail precededby dinner at Whistlin Jack’s.
  • We have a walking group that meets every Wednesday at 9 am at various locations.


In your own words, why do you feel this type of group is important to the members?   What are the benefits

to members who do join? 

  • The support you get from others who have travelled this path is so valuable. They “get it” when you share what you are experiencing, both physically and emotionally.
  • They encourage when you doubt yourself.
  • They simply are there to listen or give a hug if needed.


Where can I find more information:  Patient support tab, classes and support.  Or call 574-3490


Information about Donna’s journey:

  • Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2010.  Treated at North Star Lodge
  • Cancer reoccurred in November 2011.  Another surgery, chemo and radiation that concluded in July 2012
  • Cancer reoccurred in March 2013.  Second surgery scheduled for later this month.


Complementary Cancer Therapy at North Star Lodge

mindbody.jpgAt North Star Lodge, complementary therapies are used to enhance traditional treatment, giving the body additional ways to promote the healing process.

It’s important for our patients to have a sense of well-being and empowerment. To take care of all sides of healing, emotional, psychological and spiritual, The North Star Lodge Cancer Team incorporates complementary medicine into conventional treatment plans in order to serve our patients more completely.

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is the conscious use of the imagination to create positive images (“healing visualizations”) in order to bring about healthful changes in both the body and the mind.

The following titles are available to listen to while you are receiving treatment:

  • A Meditation to help Ease Pain Imagery and affirmations designed to reduce pain by elevating serotonin levels; teaching relaxation skills; refocusing the mind; encouraging feelings of love, gratitude, safety and peace; & marshaling courage and patience.
  • A Meditation to help with Bone Marrow & Stem Cell Transplantation Designed to promote feelings of safety & support; help with physical discomfort & fatigue; tolerate the temporary loss of identity; encourage patience with the healing process; envision a successful procedure & the body’s acceptance of healthy new cells.
  • A Meditation to help you with Radiation Therapy Designed to help listeners see radiation treatment in a positive light; reduce adverse side effects such as fatigue & nausea; help immune cells combat trouble spots; reduce anxiety.
  • A Meditation to help you with Chemotherapy Designed to show chemotherapy in a positive light; reduce aversive side effects such as fatigue & nausea; help the body’s immune cells fight cancer; encourage hope, safety and calm.
  • A Meditation to help you with Fatigue Guided imagery to help relieve tiredness from chemotherapy and radiation therapy; combat side effects from major cancer-fighting treatments.




Have A Healthy Pregnancy

pregnancySo, you’re having a baby! After the shock wears off it’s now time to think about your health habits during your pregnancy. You may not feel like a mother yet, but by following these guidelines you are already doing the right thing for your baby.

Make sure to go to all your prenatal appointments

Check with your doctor before taking any medications whether they are prescription or over the counter
Take your prenatal vitamins as directed by your doctor
Eat a nutritious and balanced diet – You’ll need extra protein, calcium, iron, and zinc during your pregnancy
Try to stay physically active unless your doctor suggests otherwise

If you experience any of the following symptoms you need to call or see your health care provider:

Excessive vomiting or diarrhea

Swelling in your face, fingers and feet
Strong cramps and bleeding

Active Living with Chronic Conditions Tool Kit Program and Research Study

Do you experience fatigue, frustration or pain? Take medications regularly? Have problems sleeping? Feel unhappy sometimes? Take advantage of a new free research study by participating in the Active Living with Chronic Conditions Tool Kit Program and Research Study. The Tool Kit will be mailed to you and the study occurs in your home! Use the Tool Kit and complete a survey 6 months after receiving the kit. For more information and to sign up for the study, please call 1-800-366-2624 to receive your free Took Kit.

The New (Ab)Normal

portion-sizeIf you had to take a guess about the biggest difference between food back in the 1950s and today, what would your answer be? Two words: Portion size. The CDC reports that restaurant portions have quadrupled since the 1950s—in fact, according to a new analysis from the RAND corporation and published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, 96% of restaurant portions exceed dietary guidelines for sodium and fat. Could this be contributing to the high rates of obesity in the US and in Yakima County? In Yakima County, 31% of adults are obese – higher than the state average of 26%. Check out this infographic from the CDC for a look at just how drastically things have changed.