• Get educated about ovarian cancer

    The ovaries play an essential role in human reproduction and female hormone regulation. Most often, ovarian cancer originates in the epithelial cells, which form a layer of tissue that covers the ovary. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer often goes undetected until it’s already spread beyond the ovary. This makes the prognosis less favorable. But at West Hills Hospital, our Cancer Care team is committed to giving our patients the superior care they deserve for the best possible outcome. Your quality of life is important to us.

    Know the risk factors for ovarian cancer
    It’s possible for any person who has ovaries to develop this type of cancer. Some factors might increase the likelihood of a diagnosis. Most women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are ages 50 and older.

    Other risk factors include:

    • Family history of ovarian cancer
    • Personal history of endometrial or breast cancer
    • Endometriosis
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome
    • Obesity
    • Certain gene mutations (BRCA1 and BRCA2)

    A woman’s menstrual history can also affect her risk of ovarian cancer. The risk is elevated for women who:

    • Had their first period before age 12
    • Experienced late menopause
    • Never had children
    • Had their first child after age 30

    Watch out for the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer
    It’s common for the symptoms to only develop once the cancer has already spread to other areas of the body. These symptoms can include:

    • Loss of appetite
    • Feeling of fullness, even after eating just a little
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation
    • Frequent urination
    • Abdominal pain, pressure, cramps or bloating
    • Indigestion
    • Unexplained weight loss or gain
    • Abnormal vaginal bleeding

    These symptoms can also be attributed to other causes. It’s important to discuss any unusual symptoms with your doctor, but try not to become unnecessarily alarmed or fearful.

    Explore the treatment options for ovarian cancer
    Cancer care professionals always develop personalized treatment recommendations because no two patients are alike. The treatment for any given patient will depend on her general health, cancer stage, maternal intentions and personal preferences.

    Often in cancer care, a combined approach is used, which may include two or more of the following:

    • Surgery (removal of ovaries and nearby tissues)
    • Chemotherapy
    • Radiation therapy
    • Hormone therapy
    • Targeted therapy

    West Hills Hospital understands how important it is for families affected by cancer to receive services and treatments right in their own communities. Our Cancer Care in West Hills brings together leading specialists in their field to put the latest, sophisticated medical technology to work for our patients. You can request a referral by calling (818) 676-4321.

  • Essential infant safety tips

    Infants are delicate, and new parents often feel overwhelmed with the immense responsibility of keeping their babies safe. We empathize with these challenges. At West Hills Hospital, our compassionate maternity team is committed to empowering families with the knowledge and resources they need to become confident caregivers for their babies.

    Crib safety
    Crib safety standards are updated from time to time, which is why many new parents prefer to purchase a new crib. If you do buy a used one, check that it meets the current safety standards. Drop-side cribs can no longer be sold in the U.S., due to serious safety risks.

    After selecting a safe crib, use the following tips to protect your baby from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

    • Always place your baby on his or her back
    • Use a firm, tight-fitting crib mattress
    • Do not use crib bumpers, pillows, sheepskins or blankets
    • Only use a fitted bottom sheet over the mattress
    • Do not place stuffed animals in the crib
    • Dress your baby in a sleeper outfit if it’s chilly

    You can put your newborn to sleep in a bassinet by the side of your own bed. This helps make breastfeeding more convenient at night. But never co-sleep with your baby in your own bed, as this can cause suffocation.

    Car seats
    All youngsters should only ride in a rear-facing car seat until at least the age of two, but preferably until they can no longer fit into the seat based on their height and weight. When your child outgrows an infant car seat, or is at least two years of age, he or she should be securely strapped into a five-point harness in a forward-facing car seat.

    Toy safety
    Not every toy on the shelf is safe for children. Always check the recommended age range, and look online to see if it’s been recalled, or whether safety issues have been reported. Avoid toys with the following hazards:

    • Small parts that children may choke on
    • Older toys that might have lead paint
    • Batteries that a child could remove
    • Projectiles that can cause eye injuries

    If you have any concerns about toys for your baby, your pediatrician will be happy to offer guidance.

    At West Hills Hospital , we are privileged to have helped so many families in our community welcome their children into the world. Our state-of-the-art hospital in West Hills brings together compassionate care with medical expertise to give every infant the healthiest possible start in life. Call a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321 and let us know how we can help your family.

  • Women’s nutrition: Understanding your unique needs

    People are often confused by constantly evolving dietary information. One study might suggest that tofu is the healthiest protein, while another declares that salmon is best. The good news is that established nutritional guidelines are far more consistent, and your doctor can always provide trustworthy guidance that is personalized to meet your unique health concerns . The physicians at West Hills Hospital welcome your questions about nutrition and healthy living.

    Identifying the nutrients you need
    Balance is the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Steer clear of fad diets that offer drastic recommendations, and instead focus on getting a balanced blend of nutrient-dense foods. Every woman needs these nutrients:

    • Complex carbohydrates: From grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes
    • Heart-healthy fats: From nuts, fish and vegetable oils
    • Proteins: From poultry, fish, eggs, lean meats, soy, seeds and beans
    • Vitamins and minerals: From grains, vegetables and fruits

    Fish can also give you the vitamins and minerals you need. For instance, halibut contains potassium and salmon has vitamin D.

    Fiber is another important part of any diet. It supports digestion, helps you maintain your weight and even reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes. Boost your intake of fiber by eating oatmeal with fruit for breakfast and lentil soup with kale for dinner.

    Building a healthy plate
    The calories your body needs will change throughout your life, depending on your activity level, pregnancy status and age. Dietitians generally recommend having half of your plate devoted to vegetables and fruits, with smaller portions of whole grains and lean proteins.

    Making lifestyle changes effortlessly
    You don’t need to change your eating habits overnight. Make small changes gradually for long-term success. Write a list of the eating habits you’d like to change, and then focus on one change at a time.

    Your list might look something like this:

    • Avoid using sugar and creamer in coffee
    • Drink water with lunch instead of soda
    • Eat an apple for a snack instead of chips
    • Try one new, heart-healthy recipe per week

    Smaller modifications are more easily reachable, and you’re more likely to turn them into lifelong habits.

    For all of your healthcare concerns at every stage of life, West Hills Hospital is here for you. We’re committed to providing superior, patient-centered healthcare services because our patients are our neighbors in the West Hills-area communities. Call (818) 676-4321 to get in touch with a registered nurse at our hospital.

  • What is the role of genetic testing in cancer prevention and treatment?

    You’ve probably heard before that DNA is the blueprint for what makes you “you.” Your genes dictate your eye color, hair color and blood type. You can also inherit certain genetic diseases , such as sickle cell disease. And some genetic mutations may predispose you to cancer. Watch this featured video to hear a member of the Cancer Care team at West Hills Hospital explain familial cancer syndrome. It refers to the increased likelihood that multiple members of a family will be affected by one cancer or a group of cancers.

    How you can use your genetic testing results
    The oncology hematologist in the featured video emphasizes that genetic testing only reveals part of the picture. Having a genetic mutation doesn’t automatically mean that someone will get a certain type of cancer. Similarly, not having the genetic mutation doesn’t mean that a person won’t develop cancer.

    Genetic testing can be useful because you can use it to influence your lifestyle choices. Your doctor will help you understand your test results. He or she can discuss the changes you can make in your everyday life to lower your risk of cancer .

    How you can reduce your risk of cancer
    Making lifestyle changes isn’t a foolproof way to definitively prevent cancer, but they certainly can help reduce the risk. Depending on your current health status and lifestyle, and the results of your genetic testing, your doctor might recommend:

    • Eating a low-fat, low-sugar and high-fiber diet
    • Starting an exercise routine
    • Eliminating alcohol consumption
    • Being careful to avoid secondhand smoke
    • Losing weight
    • Getting frequent health screenings

    How genetic testing informs cancer treatment
    In recent years, scientists have discovered that the genetic makeup of individual tumors can be used to refine any given patient’s cancer care. Cancer cells have DNA, too, and this DNA is subject to various mutations. By analyzing the mutations of a tumor in a particular patient, an oncologist can recommend therapies that precisely target that exact tumor type.

    For example, genetic testing of the tumor may reveal that a cancer is associated with tyrosine kinase. This is an enzyme that supports cell growth. By prescribing drugs that inhibit tyrosine kinase, the oncologist can directly target the tumor more effectively.

    Cancer is a frightening diagnosis. At West Hills Hospital, our Cancer Care team will be by your side every step of the way to fight it with you. Call our nurse referral line in West Hills at (818) 676-4321.