• Where Can You Find Reliable Cancer Information?

    Cancer patients must make many difficult decisions, such as which treatments to choose and how to support their general health. Making informed decisions for cancer care requires reliable cancer information. To explore your questions and concerns, you can always turn to your cancer care specialist. Your oncologist can help you understand the specific type of cancer you have, the treatment options available to you, and the potential side effects that may occur. Other reliable sources of cancer information include reputable organizations, such as the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.

    Watch this video to hear more about getting the information you need for your cancer care. You’ll see an interview with a cancer care expert at the National Cancer Information Center, which is run by the American Cancer Society. This expert encourages viewers to explore resources such as the Reach to Recovery program.

    West Hills Hospital is pleased to provide sophisticated and accessible cancer care to families throughout the West Hills area. To learn more about support services and treatments for cancer patients , call (818) 676-4000.

  • Why You Should Not Wait to Address GERD Symptoms

    man with indigestion

    It’s normal to suffer from heartburn on an occasional basis. However, if you experience frequent heartburn, you could have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition characterized by the persistent back flow of stomach acid and food up the esophagus. Millions of individuals suffer from chronic GERD and far too many of them dismiss the symptoms as minor annoyances. In fact, if you fail to seek treatment at your local hospital for GERD symptoms, you could increase your risk of serious complications.

    Esophagitis

    Receiving treatment for GERD at your community hospital may lower your risk of developing esophagitis. This condition involves inflammation, irritation, and swelling of the esophagus. Esophagitis can involve symptoms such as painful or difficult swallowing, food impaction, and chest pain. If left untreated, esophagitis can lead to further complications, such as the formation of scar tissue and stricture.

    Esophageal Stricture

    If a physician at your local hospital diagnoses you with esophageal stricture, it means that scar tissue has narrowed the esophagus , causing problems with swallowing. Esophageal stricture is also characterized by painful swallowing, food regurgitation, and unintentional weight loss.

    Esophageal Cancer

    Untreated GERD is not likely to lead to esophageal cancer right away. However, if you’ve experienced symptoms for years and still haven’t visited a physician at your local hospital, you could be at a higher risk of this type of cancer. Some possible signs of esophageal cancer could include unintentional weight loss, problems swallowing, and gastrointestinal bleeding.

    Pulmonary Complications

    Sometimes, stomach acid that is regurgitated can be inhaled. When this occurs, it can aggravate a pre-existing condition such as asthma or pneumonia. Even patients who do not have these medical conditions may experience pulmonary distress, such as difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.

    Residents of the West Hills area can find the comprehensive healthcare services they need at West Hills Hospital. Our hospital features advanced medical technology throughout our departments, including our Cancer Care department and Burn Center. For more helpful health information, you can explore our website or contact our Consult-A-Nurse referral line at (818) 676-4000.

  • Getting to Know the Cancer Physician Team at West Hills Hospital

    group of doctors in hospital

    The team of specialists at Cancer Care at West Hills Hospital understands the difficulty cancer patients and their families face when trying to coordinate care and arrange visits to multiple specialists. Our cancer physician team makes it easier for your family to focus on recovery. Each physician on our multidisciplinary panel is dedicated to seeing referred cancer patients within two business days of the referral. To make it even easier to juggle appointments, each panel physician maintains his or her office no further away than two miles from the West Hills Hospital Campus.

    Over the course of a patient’s treatment planning and care, the panel physicians regularly meet with other specialists. This panel pools its knowledge and expertise to determine the best possible cancer care options for patients. Some of the specialists you’ll find on our team include experts in surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, neurosurgery, and plastic surgery and reconstruction, just to name a few.

    If you would like a referral to a member of our Cancer Care team, call West Hills Hospital at (818) 676-4000. Our hospital in West Hills is dedicated to providing the utmost in compassionate care to cancer patients and their families.

  • What Is Lymphedema and How Is It Treated?

    Attractive Multi-ethnic Young Female Doctor Talking with Patient

    As part of your cancer care plan, your oncologist may advise the surgical removal of lymph nodes. This can lead to lymphedema, which refers to swelling of the arms or legs. Although lymphedema has no cure, there are many options available to manage the condition. Consider talking to your cancer care team about the treatment options available to you.

    Understanding Lymphedema

    You can ask your cancer care specialist to help you better understand lymphedema. Your body’s lymph system plays a critical role in defending you from illnesses. Lymph fluid travels through vessels and lymph nodes. If the lymph nodes or vessels sustain damage, become blocked, or are removed, the lymph fluid can accumulate. This causes swelling of the affected area . In addition to cancer surgery, lymphedema can occur as a result of radiation treatment, infection, blood vessel surgery, or trauma.

    Identifying the Symptoms

    After undergoing cancer care, be alert to the possible signs of lymphedema. In addition to swelling, you may experience discomfort, aching, or loss of range of motion. The skin may harden, become red, become tight, or feel heavy.

    Exploring Treatment Options

    Your physician can recommend effective treatment options for you, which may include massage and specific exercises to encourage drainage of the lymph fluid. Sometimes, a physician might recommend an external pump for fluid drainage. Antibiotics can prevent or treat an infection and pain relievers can ease your discomfort. You might also take diuretics to relieve the swelling. Compression stockings, sleeves, and bandages are available to encourage the lymph fluid to flow out of the affected body part. Occasionally, surgery may be considered.

    At the Lymphedema Management program at West Hills Hospital , you’ll find specially trained and certified lymphedema specialists who provide individualized treatment planning, patient education, and sophisticated treatment options. Our community hospital in West Hills also provides exceptional services for cancer patients at our Cancer Care department. If you would like to obtain a referral to a specialist at our hospital, you can call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4000.

  • How Older Adults Can Prevent Burn Injuries

    Senior citizens are particularly prone to suffering burns in the kitchen. This is often because of impaired eyesight and mobility, and decreased sensation. To prevent burns related to meal preparation activities, older adults can remove throw rugs or area rugs from the kitchen. It’s easy to slip on throw rugs, which can result in burns if the individual grabs the stove to prevent a fall. Additionally, older adults can use light pots and pans for safer lifting, and use oven mitts before handling hot objects.

    You can learn more about burn prevention by watching this video presented by the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital. You’ll also hear a doctor explain what you should and shouldn’t do in the event of a burn.

    Residents of West Hills who have suffered burns can turn to the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital for a continuum of care, from acute care to reconstruction to rehabilitation. Call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4000 or visit our website for more information .

  • How Hyperbaric Medicine Improves Outcomes in Burn Treatment

    hyperbaric-chamber

    Hyperbaric medicine is an FDA-approved treatment that facilitates the body’s ability to heal itself. This type of treatment is frequently used in burn centers and for patients who have suffered other types of injuries, such as slow-healing wounds and bone infections. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves placing a patient inside a special hyperbaric chamber. The patient is monitored by medical staff at all times. Inside the pressurized chamber, the patient breathes in a higher-than-normal concentration of oxygen.

    A high level of oxygen within the body is beneficial for healing burns. The increased oxygen stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, improves circulation of blood to bring nutrients to tissues, and helps fight off infections. In addition, increased oxygen to the damaged tissues reduces swelling.

    At the Grossman Burn Center of West Hills Hospital, burn patients have access to our comfortable, state-of-the-art hyperbaric oxygen chambers. Please direct general questions about our Burn Center in West Hills to our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4000.

  • Are You at Risk for Colorectal Cancer?

    Medical exam

    When cancer cells grow in the colon or rectum, it is referred to as colorectal cancer. Cancer cells may also enter the bloodstream, which enables them to spread to other areas. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the U.S. However, when the disease is detected and treated in its early stages, cancer care is more likely to be effective. Consider visiting your local hospital to ask your physician about screenings for colorectal cancer.

    Uncontrollable Risk Factors

    Some factors that may place you at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer are not controllable with lifestyle changes or medical management. These include your age and gender. Men are more likely to develop colorectal cancer, as are individuals over the age of 50. Additionally, heredity is a significant risk factor of colorectal cancer. You may have a higher risk if you have a parent, child, or sibling who is diagnosed with the disease. The two common types of inherited colorectal cancer are hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer and familial adenomatous polyposis.

    Medical Risk Factors

    Certain medical conditions may increase your risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer . These include previously having colorectal cancer and having polyps in the colon. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can also raise your risk.

    Lifestyle Risk Factors

    Many lifestyle choices can influence the development of colorectal cancer. For example, individuals who smoke and those who consume alcohol in excess have a higher risk. Additionally, smokers are more likely to die from colorectal cancer than nonsmokers. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is another risk factor. Exercising for just 30 minutes per day can decrease your risk. Another lifestyle risk factor is your diet. You may have a higher risk of colorectal cancer if you eat a high-fat, low-fiber diet.

    West Hills Hospital offers a range of health screenings and diagnostic tests, including colonoscopies, fecal occult blood tests, and double-contrast barium enemas. In addition to our exceptional Cancer Care team, our community hospital offers emergency care, maternity services, and burn care. West Hills residents may speak with a registered nurse by calling (818) 676-4000.