• Ways to Manage Your Arthritis Pain and Discomfort


    Arthritis is debilitating musculoskeletal condition that affects over 21 million adults in the U.S.  Arthritis commonly results from a breakdown of cartilage, which often results in mild to severe joint inflammation.  Read through this brief guide from our team here at the West Hills Hospital & Medical Center Arthritis Program to learn more about your options for managing arthritis pain:


    There are over 100 different types of arthritis , and most of them are chronic conditions.  Fortunately, there are various medications available to mitigate joint discomfort.  Over-the-counter pain relief medicines such as aspirin or acetaminophen are traditionally recommended to manage minor pain, but these substances can cause harm if taken in large dosages over a prolonged period of time.  Prescription medications such as corticosteroids, biologics, and immunosuppressants can also help manage more severe cases of arthritis, but only a qualified doctor can determine which medication best fits your medical needs.

    Lifestyle Changes

    Although exercise may seem counterintuitive for treating joint pain, it is essential for maintaining healthy function.  Low-impact endurance exercises and stretching can help maintain optimal joint function while minimizing the reduced risk of injury or discomfort.  If joint pain persists even after administering medication, then rest, ice packs, and warm showers may help.  In some cases, a splint may be required to improve motor function and provide support.


    In severe cases of joint pain where conventional methods of pain management prove inadequate, surgery may be a viable option for rebuilding joints (arthroplasty) or replacing them.  However, only a medical professional can perform an accurate assessment of a patient’s medical history and compare the potential risks of surgery versus alternative means of arthritis pain management.

    West Hills Hospital & Medical Center has the resources, experience, and programs to help victims of arthritis manage joint pain and maintain functionality.  From diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation, our staff is committed to maintaining a standard of excellence in all of our medical services.  See what others have had to say about our facilities online and call (818) 676-4000 today.

  • Screening Guide for Colorectal Cancer

    Human Digestive System Illustration

    Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.  Fortunately, it is also one of the most preventable types of cancer with early diagnosis and treatment.  This article details the most common screening procedures for colorectal cancer available here at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center :

    Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

    Colorectal cancer affects both men and women equally, and the likelihood of developing this disease increases after the age of 50.  Other risk factors for colorectal cancer include:

    • Preexisting medical conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBI) and diabetes.
    • Hereditary conditions, such as familial adenomatous polypsosis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome.  
    • Race—African Americans have the highest rate of colorectal cancer in the U.S.  Regular screening is recommended to begin at age 45.

    The American Cancer Society reports that one in five people affected with colorectal cancer also have affected family members.  Only a qualified doctor can examine your medical and family history and determine your overall risk for developing colon cancer.

    Screening Techniques

    Regular medical screening is crucial, since most types of colorectal cancers produce no noticeable symptoms in the early stages of development.  Some of the most common colorectal cancer screening techniques are as follows:

    • Digital Rectal Exam:  A physical examination is one of the fastest and simplest ways for doctors to check for colon abnormalities; about half of all colon cancers can be detected this way.
    • Fecal Occult Blood Test: This method involves examining a stool sample for traces of blood, and it is often used in conjunction with a physical exam.
    • Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy involves using a thin, tube-like camera to probe the rectum for signs of colon cancer.  This common procedure allows doctors to examine gastrointestinal health more closely and perform more specific diagnoses.

    Regular colorectal cancer screenings are widely recommended for individuals over the age of 50.  Take advantage of the Consult-A-Nurse services here at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center to answer health-related queries, or to schedule an appointment with a doctor.  Call (818) 676-4000 today.

  • Nation’s Leader in Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery Now on Staff at West Hills Hospital

    West Hills Hospital & Medical Center has announced that Ramon E. Yera, MD, one of the leading minimally invasive surgeons in the United States, has officially joined the hospital’s prestigious medical staff, and has selected West Hills Hospital as his hospital of choice for all inpatient and outpatient procedures. Founder of the West Hills’ Yera Care for Women, Dr. Yera utilizes laparoscopic video technology, which results in significantly less pain, trauma and incision sizes, as well as faster healing times.

    In addition to founding the Yera Care for Women center, Dr. Yera has received his board certification from the American Board of OB/GYN and is a member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists. He was invited to perform live telesurgery at the 40th Global Congress of Minimally Invasive Gynecology in November of last year, and trains surgeons from across the country in advanced laparoscopic techniques.

    “We are thrilled to have Dr. Ramon Yera as part of our West Hills Hospital team,” says Beverly Gilmore, president of West Hills Hospital. “Our own advances in laparoscopic procedures make him a perfect fit for our hospital, and his reputation in the field and commitment to patients speaks for itself.”

    Dr. Yera spoke with equal excitement at joining the hospital’s team. “West Hills Hospital has the facilities and medical staff to perform some of the most unique and complex procedures in medicine today,” he said. “It’s an honor to be a part of this hospital, and I’m excited to bring our combined resources and expertise together to help our patients.”

    Dr. Yera graduated from the University of California, Irvine’s California College of Medicine and received his medical training at the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals at Los Angeles Medical Center. He has acted as lead and assistant investigator for gynecologic oncology and surgical oncology research studies. 

  • Yoga for Cancer Patients and Survivors

    Lotus Pose

    Cancer – and the treatments for the disease – can be challenging for both the body and mind. People who are battling cancer , and those who are surviving the disease after treatment, may feel fatigue, pain, anxiety, depression, and other symptoms.

    Yoga, however, may offer relief for many cancer-related symptoms. This ancient practice is designed to bring together the spirit, the body, and the mind so they work in unison. While practicing yoga, people hold their bodies in certain positions as they focus on breathing rhythmically.

    This provides physical activity – which is good for the body – and a welcome break from worries and stress that are weighing on the mind.

    Researchers have conducted a number of studies measuring the effects of yoga in people with cancer, especially breast cancer. This research has found that the possible benefits of the practice include:

    • Less fatigue
    • Better sleep
    • Less distress
    • Better appetite
    • More positive outlook
    • Less depression
    • Improved mental function
    • Better physical function

    It is important to talk to your doctor before beginning a yoga class to make sure that your body can handle the activity. Discuss whether you should avoid overexertion, excessive heat (a type of yoga called bikram yoga is done in an especially warm room), or any particular positions or postures.

    Before starting a class, tell the instructor about your illness and any limitations it has created. Make sure the instructor has experience working with people with chronic health problems. Your health care provider may be able to recommend a yoga class specifically designed for people with health issues.

    West Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers the latest advances in state-of-the-art cancer care . Our highly trained physicians and other providers diagnose and treat cancer in a caring, convenient setting. To learn more about our cancer treatment services, call (818) 676-4000. 

  • Stages of Burn Recovery

    Severe burns

    Americans make roughly 700,000 trips to the emergency room each year with burns. An estimated 45,000 will require hospitalization and treatment by a highly trained medical staff. A serious burn can be a frightening experience with both physical and psychological challenges for the patient and family.

    People with serious burns go through three stages of recovery :

    The acute stage. During this phase, doctors tend to the immediate effects of the burn and get it ready for healing. They make sure the person who has been burned is in stable condition and their breathing is secured. The individual may need fluids through an IV injection and pain medication. The burned tissue must be cleaned. This may require cutting away damaged tissue.

    This phase usually lasts two or three days, but people with milder burns may skip over it.

    The healing stage.  This phase, which may last weeks or even longer, is when the burn heals. Health care providers and individuals can help the wound heal by keeping clean dressings on the burned area and taking steps to prevent infection and control scarring. Skin grafts – moving healthy skin from other parts of the body to cover the wound – may also be necessary.

    The rehabilitation stage. This final stage can take a year or more. During this phase, scars may subside, becoming less red and pronounced. People who have been burned may need physical and occupational therapy to stretch the body parts that have been burned, since scars can contract and make mobility difficult.

    People may also need long-term psychological counseling after a serious burn to help them cope with changes in their appearance and any disability that lingers after the injury.

    When a burn strikes, the skilled and highly trained medical staff of the world-renowned Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital is available to provide the very best care possible. We offer comprehensive burn treatment, from acute care and reconstruction, to rehabilitation and psychological counseling. You can learn more about our advanced and comprehensive burn care by calling (818) 676-4000 today. 

  • Home Safety: Burn Prevention

    Burn injuries are very common in the home, especially in young children. Because of their curiosity and the potential hazards that are present in every home, many children suffer from scalds, contact burns, and electrical burns every year. Fortunately, there are ways that every parent can help to prevent these injuries from occurring.

    This video is a brief introduction to some of the most common causes of burn injuries in the home and what your family can do to prevent children from getting burned. 

    If a burn or other medical emergency occurs in your home, consider visiting the healthcare experts at the West Hills Hospital Emergency Services department. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide the families in our community with excellent medical care when it is needed most. Call (818) 676-4000 to learn more about our comprehensive healthcare services.

  • Cancer: Diagnostic and Treatment Options

    Female doctor examining an x-ray image

    There are over one hundred types of cancer, but each one starts the same way—when abnormal cells in your body proliferate out of control. Even though all cancers start the same way, every different type of cancer behaves differently and responds to different treatments. Diagnosing cancer at its earliest stages with medical imaging tools can help to ensure effective, proper treatment for a specific type of cancer before it can spread to other tissues. Some of these diagnostic methods include: 

    • Nuclear medicine, such as the Miraluma scan
    • Digital mammography
    • Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI
    • Computed tomography, or CT scan

    Fortunately, recent advances in technology and medical knowledge have provided oncologists and cancer patients with many new treatment options. Therapies that have been utilized for some time have also become more effective with the use of more advanced technology.     

    Radiotherapy, when used alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy, can be used in the curative treatment of cancer in almost all parts of the body. This therapy delivers high doses of radiation to cancer cells while limiting doses to healthy cells, thereby yielding higher cure rates and lower side effects compared with other treatment options.

    Hyperthermia involves using heat to treat cancer. In the past, this therapy produced mixed results, but in recent years, new technology has allowed more precise delivery of heat. Using this technique to raise the temperature of part of the body can increase the effectiveness of other cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy. Very high temperatures can also be used to destroy a small area of abnormal cells in a process called thermal ablation .

    Targeted therapy is one of the newest types of cancer therapy. As scientists have learned more about the minute genetic changes that lead to cancer, they have been able to develop medications to specifically target them. These drugs are usually able to attack cancer cells and avoid doing damage to healthy cells. 

    The Cancer Center at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center provides state-of-the-art imaging and treatment options in all modalities. If you have any questions about cancer treatment or care, contact our staff at (818) 676-4000.

  • Helping Loved Ones After a Cancer Diagnosis

    When a parent or friend learns that he or she has cancer , you may be at a loss for how to help, but educating yourself on the disease and its treatment can reduce the burden on the patient. This beautiful video describes one woman’s journey to help her mother choose the best treatment option for her stage III ovarian cancer.

    The Cancer Care center at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is dedicated to helping patients learn about their options and providing cutting-edge treatment through radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and minimally-invasive surgery. Call (818) 676-4000 to learn more about our services or to receive answers to your treatment-related questions.

  • Protecting Your Child from Burns

    Child Burn Hazard

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 300 children and teenagers receive emergency burn treatment each day. You can help reduce your child’s risk of injury from burns by incorporating the following practices into your home:

    • Practice Stove Safety
      The stove and oven are a major source of injury, not only because the appliances themselves are hot, but also because the pans and food may burn or scald. Make sure your children know not to play within a three-foot area of the stove, and consider installing stove and oven locks to protect curious hands. While you are cooking, use the burners toward the back and turn pot handles so they do not overhang the edge of the stove.
    • Buy Flame-Resistant Sleepwear
      If a fire breaks out during the night, your children should be able to escape without the risk of their pajamas catching on fire. To this end, many manufacturers offer flame-resistant clothing that is labeled as such. These items are treated with certain chemicals to make them less likely to ignite and burn.
    • Keep Water Temperatures Low
      Children are more sensitive to temperature and can be scalded more easily with hot water, so turn your water heater to a low-medium setting with a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Always turn the cold water tap on before the hot one, and test water temperatures with the inside of your wrist or elbow before having your child bathe or wash hands.
    • Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms
      Your home should have one smoke alarm on each floor as well as one in each bedroom. Test the alarms every month to ensure that they are working properly, and change the batteries annually.
    • Have a Fire Escape Plan
      Gather all the members of your household and come up with a plan for escaping during a fire that includes multiple exit routes from each room and a meeting spot outside that everyone should head to. Practice the plan every six months so children remember what to do during an emergency.

    The Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers childhood burn prevention programs for parents. Call (818) 676-4000 to learn how you can attend.