Healthy & Happy
September, 2017 - Issue #156
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courtesy of Shutterstock

Cancer care has come a long way. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation have traditionally been the three pillars of cancer care - and they are still important treatments. But in recent years, newer "targeted therapies" have come on the scene.
These fine-tuned treatments target cancer cells more specifically than traditional chemotherapy, explained George Hajjar, MD, an oncologist in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research at City of Hope Santa Clarita and Mission Hills.

Here's what you need to know about these promising new treatments.

What is Targeted Therapy?
Traditional chemotherapy is designed to kill cells that divide rapidly. That includes not only cancer cells, but also many healthy cells throughout the body. As a result, chemotherapy usually goes hand in hand with significant side effects such as nausea and hair loss.

Targeted therapies, on the other hand, are designed to target specific molecules that are unique to a certain type of tumor or cancer cell. Those molecules are essential for those cells to survive, grow and spread, Hajjar explained. Targeting those molecules can stop the tumor from growing.

"By identifying these molecules and then developing medications that specifically target them, we are working on blocking the function of these molecules, which are essential for the survival and growth of these tumors," Haj
jar said.

What Targeted Therapies are Available?
A variety of targeted therapies have emerged so far, Hajjar said. Those treatments include:
Hormonal therapies
Angiogenesis therapies
Apoptosis therapies
Immunotherapy treatments
Monoclonal antibody therapy
City of Hope Santa Clarita 799-1999
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock

Untreated Hearing Loss more Conspicuous than Today's Hearing Aids
Listen up! How many times a week do you or a loved one ask friends and family to repeat themselves? Turn up the TV even higher? Get frustrated that the phone volume is at its highest - and you can't hear?

The temptation to ignore these signs, chock them up to "normal aging" or hope they go unnoticed becomes less appealing when you realize that today's hearing devices are nearly imperceptible to the eye and can dramatically improve your quality of life. If you've struggled to hear a dining companion in a noisy restaurant, can't make out the words when someone whispers in your ear, or - most obvious of all - have had a loved one ask you to have your hearing tested, it's time to head to your friendly neighborhood hearing clinic, Advanced Audiology, for a complimentary hearing screening. After all, it could just be wax build up! You'll never know, though, until you make that appointment.
Nola Aronson's Advanced Audiology 425-9330

Senior Nutrition Worries? What to Look For
Home Instead Senior Care trains its caregivers to observe and report these warning signs that may signal a potential problem with your loved one's nutrition. Those issues could include...
Loss of Appetite: If your senior has always been a hearty eater but no longer eats as he or she used to, there could be an underlying medical problem.

Depression: Change in appetite is a classic sign of depression.
Sudden Weight Fluctuation: A weight change - losing or gaining 10 pounds in six months - is another sign something could be wrong.

Expired or Spoiled Food: Caregivers will check the refrigerator for expired or spoiled food. Seniors could be saving, then eating, food that's no longer safe.

Cognitive Problems: Seniors who live alone might forget to cook and eat. Seniors need easy access to prepared foods.
More than Three Medications: Medication not taken appropriately can influence both appetite and weight.
Home Instead Senior Care for Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys 254-8701

Honoring those who've Served with Covered Home-care Services
Did you know that veterans of the US Armed Services may qualify for a special disability pension benefit that can be used to cover some of the costs of home-care services? Veterans who served during wartime and have a non-service related disability that requires aid and attendance by another person may qualify. Additional benefits are available, too. A veteran or veteran's widow may be able to receive an increase if they are certified as housebound and in need of personal care. Once approved for housebound aid and assistance, veterans may qualify for free medications, medical equipment, hearing aids and incontinence supplies. There may also be special benefits available for veterans who served "in country," Vietnam, the Gulf War and for POWs. Certain requirements apply; check with the Department of Veterans' Affairs and Visiting Angels with questions.
Visiting Angels 263-2273
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courtesy of Shutterstock

SCV Senior Center Designated as "Cooling Station" by County, Still Raising Funds for New Building
"The SCV Senior Center has provided respite from heat waves for over 40 years," says Peggy Rasmussen, the Center's New Building Campaign co-chair. "When temperatures climb, the SCV Senior Center is the first responder for our local seniors, providing them with a safe, cool place to wait out the hottest part of the day. While they're at the Center, many enjoy a healthy, nutritious meal; take a fitness or art class; and visit with friends." Says Center Executive Director Kevin MacDonald: "When we experience increased demand like we are now, the need for the new SCV Senior Center becomes all the more obvious. The new building will have dedicated communal space - we're calling it 'the living room' - where seniors can casually relax and take respite from the weather while developing their social relationships. Instead of having seniors sitting in hallway chairs struggling to hear their conversational partners, we'll have couches, lounge chairs, tables and plenty of space to be comfortable and stay cool," says MacDonald. The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center New Building Campaign is currently soliciting donations and community partnerships. Log on to learn more and make your donation.

Get Rid of Fungus to have Healthy and Happy Toenails

No one likes fungus on their toenails, but oral antifungal medications have potential side effects, including possible liver enzyme elevation - and even potentially-permanent liver damage. Luckily, there's a laser for that! With the Lunula laser, there are no reported complications. The Lunula laser treats fungal toenails using two beam lasers of different wave lengths. The laser is a cold and completely painless. Plus, the overall success rate is 74 percent - with a range of 60 percent to 90 percent - and is on par with oral antifungal treatments, but without the risks. The treatment is simple and consists of a 12-minute treatment per affected foot. Easy, right? Your treatment is performed four weeks in a row, with an additional treatment performed at three months. Then, six months later, the nails are evaluated and additional treatments are performed, if needed. It's affordable, too; all treatments are included for one year for the same fee. Free screenings are available, so don't delay; find out if the Lunula laser is right for you... and then start shopping for open-toed shoes and flip flops!
The Foot Care Center of Santa Clarita 253-3668
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