Category Archives: Cancer Care

Tips for weight loss

Kim McCorquodale RD at North Star Lodge

If you’re like me, and I think most of the US population, you overdid it during our recent holiday season and have added a few pounds. If you don’t want to be in the same place next January, make some of the changes below a part of your lifestyle. Remember, it’s not perfection but perseverance that wins the race!

•    Make small, permanent changes – they do make a big difference. Choose 1-2 small goals to start, such as writing down everything you eat or planning your dinners. After a month of success with those add in 1-2 more.

•    Weigh weekly.  Weighing more often can be discouraging, but never weighing can make it difficult to gauge the success of your changes.

•    Eat more veggies.  There are many reasons to do this that have nothing to do with weight loss, but veggies will fill you up without filling you out. Add at least 2 servings for dinner and include them in your snacks.

•    Snack wisely. Include a lean protein whenever you eat to increase satisfaction and reduce cravings. But don’t overdo portion size – your protein portion should only be about 1/4th of your plate.

•    Choose whole grain versions. Fiber, like protein, tends to increase a sense of fullness and to reduce those cravings.

•    Check restaurant menus online and plan what you’ll order before leaving home.  This will help you avoid the temptation to “live it up” when you arrive at the restaurant hungry.

•    Plan ahead. This is included in many of the suggestions above, but it can’t be encouraged enough. Start small with planning 7 dinners for the week, then make your grocery list and stick to it. Having the ingredients for a healthy dinner in the house is a huge part of success. Next plan a variety of healthy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks and have what you need for those on hand. This will make a big difference in your journey to wellness and weight loss.

I hope many of you will join me in making 2015 a healthier year!

Apple Valley Dental donates $850 to ‘Ohana

During the month of October, Apply Valley Dental donated $1 for every child who wore pink bands on their braces and $1 for every child who had a tooth sealant procedure – which means $850 was raised to help anyone in need of financial assistance with either their mammogram, breast ultrasound or biopsy at ‘Ohana.

We are so thankful for your support and so are the many women that will now have access to the services at ‘Ohana!

Do you need a mammogram or know someone who does? For more information or to schedule a screening click here.

Keep Support LocalApple Valley Dental 'Ohana

Digital mammography in Yakima

All mammograms start the same way—with an x-ray of the breast. But a newer type, called a digital mammogram, processes images differently. It records and stores images on a computer instead of on x-ray film.

Digital mammograms still require compressing the breasts to get good images. But according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), they have some advantages over film.

Viewing and sharing

After you have a mammogram, the images are analyzed by a specialist called a radiologist. With digital mammograms, the radiologist can adjust the images on the computer screen to get a better look. He or she can change the size, brightness or contrast to see certain areas more clearly. Some studies show that this reduces the number of women who need to return for extra tests.

If the radiologist wants to send the images to your doctor or show them to another specialist, this can easily be done electronically. Managing images this way is similar to how digital photos can be viewed and shared.

Both film and digital mammograms work well at finding breast cancer. However, several studies show that digital images may be more accurate in women younger than 50 and in women with dense breast tissue, reports the ACS.

Safe and effective

While all x-rays use radiation, the dose from both film and digital mammograms is very small. In fact, one mammogram delivers about the same amount of radiation as you would be exposed to flying on a commercial flight from New York to California.

If you only have access to film mammograms, don’t worry. Both types are very good at detecting breast changes early, when treatment works best.

According to the ACS, women should begin having yearly mammograms at age 40. To find out more, visit the ACS at

At ‘Ohana, Memorial’s Mammography Center, we offer a supportive and caring environment along with the most advanced digital technology available. Digital mammography allows us to provide our patients with the highest quality of care in the prevention and early detection of breast cancer.

Early detection remains a woman’s best defense in the battle against breast cancer. Like all cancers, breast cancer develops when abnormal cells in the body change and grow out of control. When problematic breast tissue cells are diagnosed early, the prognosis for cure is extremely high.

Although mammography services are the foundation of ‘Ohana, additional diagnostic and support services are offered in the same beautiful facility. ‘Ohana offers a communication linkage for women to access doctors, diagnosticians, counselors, and other health professionals.

Walk In Clinics

`Ohana offers walk-in clinic hours for screening mammograms on Fridays from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. No appointment in necessary—just bring the name of your primary care physician with you. Patients will be seen in the order of arrival. Spanish interpreters are available.

For more information or to schedule a mammogram call (509) 574-3863.

Many women missing vital step to prevent cervical cancer, says CDC

Nov. 13, 2014—Many women are not getting screened for cervical cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s concerning given the importance of the screening: It can allow doctors to detect abnormal cells before they turn into cancer and give women the opportunity to take steps to potentially prevent the disease.

About the study

CDC researchers reviewed national health data to determine the number of women who hadn’t been screened for cervical cancer in the past 5 years. They also analyzed cervical cancer cases and deaths that occurred between 2007 and 2011.

While rates of cervical cancer dropped by around 2 percent, other findings were less encouraging:

  • In 2012, nearly 8 million women ages 21 to 65 reported not being screened for cervical cancer within the past 5 years.
  • The percentage of women who had not been screened was largest among those without health insurance or a regular healthcare provider.
  • Older women and women living in the southern United States were less likely to be screened.

The numbers suggest that too many women are missing opportunities for cervical cancer screenings, which can help reduce the number of cervical cancer cases and deaths. According to CDC, more than half of all new cervical cancers occur in women who have never been screened or haven’t been screened in the last 5 years. You can read CDC’s findings here.

The take-home message
All women are at risk for cervical cancer, and getting tested can save lives. It’s essential for women to learn about their screening options and get the test that’s right for them:

  • Women ages 21 to 29, including those who have had the vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV), should have a Pap test—a way to screen for cervical cancer by testing for abnormal cells—every 3 years.
  • Women ages 30 to 65 should have either a Pap test every 3 years or a Pap test plus HPV test every 5 years.
  • Women over age 65 should ask their doctor if they need to continue screening.
  • All women should talk with their doctors and nurses to understand their screening results.

Health insurance plans that started on or after Sept. 23, 2010, are required to cover recommended cervical cancer screening tests—usually at no cost to you. If you don’t have health insurance, you can find a plan at Open enrollment starts Nov. 15, 2014.

In addition to cervical cancer screening, another good way to prevent cervical cancer is to get an HPV vaccine. Giving girls and boys ages 11 and 12 an HPV vaccine offers them the best protection against the HPV virus. Doing so can also help reduce a girl’s risk for developing cervical cancer later in life.

Read on to learn more about what you can do to identify and reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer.


Have your cake and eat it too

By Kim McCorquodale RD, North Star Lodge Nutrition Services

holiday inspiration kim blogThere is a lot of temptation to try all sorts of foods and desserts this time of year, but most of us can use some healthy inspiration with the holiday season fast approaching. It is possible to make lifestyle changes that reduce our risk for cancer, and still eat delicious foods.

I can’t say enough about the resource we have in the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) who brought us the New American Plate . Following their recipes will help you make choices in line with current recommendations to “choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat.”

They recently joined forces with the Careers through Culinary Arts Program for a recipe contest. While I haven’t tried any just yet, they all sound very good, and you can be assured they meet the guidelines set forth by the AICR.

Here is one I thought sounded especially good, but please check out the others too. I tend to start with the prize winners for obvious reasons.
Coconut and Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie
Developed by David Robinson of Hampton Roads, VA
First Place, 2013 AICR/C-CAP Healthy Dessert Contest Winner

Crumb Crust:
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup walnuts
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
2 Tbsp. wheat germ
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/4 cup light coconut milk

2 Tbsp. flaked coconut
2 Tbsp. sliced almonds

Sweet Potato Mixture:
2 large sweet potatoes (approx 2 lbs), peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
5 cups cold water
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. molasses
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 pinch cloves

Avocado Chocolate Pudding:
1/2 cup plain almond milk
6 Tbsp. honey
5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 medium avocados, seeded, peeled and mashed

Prepare crust:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In food processor, pulse and process all crumb ingredients except oil and coconut milk. Mixture should resemble fine crumbs. Add oil and coconut milk and process until mixture holds together. Lightly press into 9-inch spring form pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned; remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Prepare garnish:
Spread coconut and almonds on parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in oven as soon as crust comes out. Bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Prepare sweet potato filling:
Place sweet potatoes and cold water in saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are very tender. Drain completely and transfer to large mixing bowl. Mash potatoes completely. Add all remaining sweet potato mixture ingredients and mix until fully combined; spoon over cooled crust and return to refrigerator.

Prepare avocado chocolate pudding:
Blend coconut milk, honey, cocoa powder and vanilla in blender on low to medium speed. Once completely combined, gradually add avocado, a couple of spoonfuls at a time, blending until completely smooth; spoon over sweet potato filling and smooth with spatula. Chill pie for at least 12 hours.

Top with toasted coconut almond mixture and serve.

Makes 12 servings
Per Serving: Per Serving: 310 calories, 12 g fat, (2 g sat fat), 53 g carbohydrate,
5 g protein, 8 g fiber, 65 mg sodium

Schedule a group mammogram today!

Take care of what’s really important – your health.

A yearly mammogram could save your life!

Group Mammogram Events are being offered by ‘Ohana, Memorial’s Mammography center.    We can host groups of ladies from work, clubs/organizations, or family and friends.   Scheduling a group event will allow you to enjoy your annual screening mammogram in a fun, friendly, supportive environment.

Event guidelines:
Screening mammograms only – asymptomatic
Participants must be at least 40 years of age
Participants need to be established with a primary care provider

Door prizes and complimentary healthy snacks are provided for groups of ten (10) or more.

Appointment requirements are:
1 hour for 10 people
1.5 hours for 10-15 people
2.5 hours for 15-30 people

We welcome the opportunity to serve the mammogram needs of your group.

If you are interested in scheduling a group event, please contact Brenda at (509) 574-3874, or you can request additional information by email:

It’s not too late to participate in the breast cancer campaign – stop by ‘Ohana or visit throughout the month of October to make a donation. Your donation supports breast cancer screenings for women in need and helps to ensure our community has the latest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all Yakima Valley women. Donate today!

Celebrate National Breast Cancer Month with Pumpkin!

By Lena Gill, RD, CSO, CD – North Star Lodge

Fall has definitely arrived in the Yakima Valley!  One of my favorite vegetables in abundance this time of year is pumpkin.  There are countless varieties of this fun squash, each with a different purpose in mind:
•    Sugar – excellent for baking
•    Jack O’Lantern – most common for carving
•    White Lumina – unusual, medium-sized white pumpkin
•    Mini – great for decoration
•    Gourds – many varieties, used for decorations
Regardless of the size, shape and variety of pumpkin, there are many health benefits when eaten.
Pumpkins are full of beta-carotene which can help prevent heart disease and certain cancers.  Most specifically, pumpkins have been in the news for their benefits in preventing breast cancer.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and a newly founded organization, the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation, has commissioned farmers to grow pink pumpkins—a portion from every pink pumpkin sold goes to support breast cancer research.  Pumpkins also contain potassium (essential for the proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, muscles, nerves, and digestive system) and Vitamin A (which helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin).

Some other fun facts about pumpkins:
•    Pumpkins are actually a fruit (I know, I referred to it as a vegetable earlier!)
•    About 90-95% of pumpkins are grown in Illinois
•    Pumpkin flowers are edible
•    The Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for medicine and for food
•    Pumpkins range in size from under a pound to over 1,000 pounds

Here are some of my favorite pumpkin recipes—Check them out and feel free to share your comments on your favorites, too!

Preparing Fresh Pumpkins to Be Used in Recipes
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Chili –  When I made this, I didn’t have lentils, so I substituted a can of pinto beans-Delicious!
Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Pie  – Why mess with tradition?  The holidays are coming!
Peter Pumpkin Squares
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cups – I haven’t made these yet, but I thought they’d make a great addition to holiday baking!

Take steps to reduce your risk for breast cancer

As of yet, there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in this country. Even so, there are steps women can take to reduce their risk. And October, which is nationally recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is the ideal time to take them.

One key safeguard is for women to maintain a healthy weight, especially in midlife and later. After menopause, most of the hormone estrogen in a woman’s body comes from fat cells. Estrogen can spur the growth of many breast tumors, and being overweight or obese can raise breast cancer risk. Women may be especially vulnerable to breast cancer if extra pounds settle on their waist, rather than their hips and thighs.

These additional steps may help women reduce their risk for breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS):

• Avoid alcohol. Drinking is clearly tied to a heightened risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, your risk increases the more you drink.

• Be active. A growing body of research indicates that exercise lowers breast cancer risk. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week.

• Carefully weigh the pros and cons of hormone therapy. Hormone therapy that uses both estrogen and progesterone can increase breast cancer risk in as few as two years of use. The use of estrogen alone after menopause does not seem to raise the risk of developing breast cancer. If a woman and her doctor agree that hormone therapy is necessary to ease bothersome menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, it is best to take the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.

Since breast cancer can develop even with these precautions, the ACS advises women to have yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as they are in good health.

Regular mammograms (breast x-rays) can detect cancer in its early stages and give women a head start on potentially lifesaving treatment. If you have a heightened risk of breast cancer—for example, if you have very dense breasts—ask your doctor if you need additional screening tests, such as an MRI scan.

Nourish Yourself with Flavored Water

Nourish Yourself with Flavored Water
Kim McCorquodale RD

We all know that drinking more water is beneficial. Some of the many benefits include flushing out toxins, helping to keep your energy up, and reducing those feeling of “fake” hunger and food cravings. But, we also know that water can be pretty boring. Most of you have probably seen all those flavored waters at the grocery store, but you might also have noticed they are pretty high priced. So why not make flavored water yourself? No reason not to, and here’s some easy ideas to get you started.

Add water to a clean container and add any of the following. Try “muddling,” or slightly crushing, herb leaves to help release their flavor.

  • Watermelon
  • Cucumber
  • Cantaloupe
  • Lime
  • Basil, mint, rosemary, lavender
  • Berries
  • Kiwi
  • Fresh ginger

Or try some of these fun combos:

  • Watermelon and mint
  • Cucumber and mint
  • Lemon and mint
  • Cherry and lime
  • Watermelon and cucumber
  • Ginger and lemon
  • Lemon and lavender
  • Lime and mint
  • Cucumber and lime
  • Lemon and basil
  • Strawberry and mint
  • Blackberry and ginger
  • Lemon and blueberry
  • Thyme and blackberries
  • Cucumber and rosemary
  • Cantaloupe and watermelon
  • Cucumber, lemon, and mint
  • Lemon and lime
  • Strawberry and basil
  • Ginger and lime
  • Lemon and a pinch of cayenne

So, give some of these a try and get hydrated! For other great water recipes and ideas, check out the American Institute for Cancer Research web site.