Healthy & Happy
October, 2018 - Issue #169
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courtesy of Shutterstock

If you've received a breast cancer diagnosis, you're probably wondering what "personalized breast cancer care" really means. At City of Hope Santa Clarita and Mission Hills, your treatment team will use state-of-the-art breast imaging technologies and laboratory techniques to design a treatment that's tailored just for you.

Genetic testing is one of the major advances made in breast cancer treatment, said Dortha Chu, MD, PhD, an assistant clinical professor in the Division of Surgical Oncology in the Department of Surgery at City of Hope. Different breast tumors have their own unique genetic signatures. By testing for genetic markers in those cancers, doctors can determine what type of breast cancer is present and how a tumor might behave, Chu said. In some cases, doctors can even predict which chemotherapy medications will be effective for treating a tumor - and which won't work as well. "We can offer you therapy that would give you the maximum benefit, hopefully with the fewest side effects," Chu said.

For most patients with breast cancer, surgery is the first step. Surgical options include lumpectomies, in which a portion of the breast is removed, and mastectomies, in which the entire breast is removed. There are sometimes nipple- or skin-sparing options. Doctors will consider factors like the sizes of the breast and tumor, the cosmetic impact and each patient's goals.
To Chu, personalized medicine starts with helping the patient fully understand the disease and their test results. The next step is to discuss treatment options. That means talking about the science, but also personal factors such as how a patient feels about different therapies and how well they can tolerate potential side effects. Genetic advances have been a major step forward in providing customized treatment, Chu said. "And City of Hope has been on the forefront of helping to develop those kinds of treatments and establish their safety and efficacy."
City Of Hope 799-1999

The Best News Nola Aronson's Heard All Month
When you're Santa Clarita's largest, most well-respected audiology office, hearing good news is part of the job. "But this month," shares Advanced Audiology owner Nola Aronson, "something really exiting happened." The big news? California State Senator Scott Wilk named Nola Aronson's Advanced Audiology his Small Business of the Month, noting the company's commitment to philanthropy (10 percent of each month's sales is donated to a local nonprofit, so when you purchase a hearing aid, you not only get better hearing - you help give back to your community.), 30 years in business and exceptional staff. Aronson attributed her success in great part to her wonderful team of hearing specialists and doctors of audiology, as well as her loyal clients, whom she's begun rewarding with a new referral program. Right now, the office is offering a no-obligation trial of new Bluetooth hearing devices.
Nola Aronson's Advanced Audiology 425-9330
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courtesy of Shutterstock

Five Reasons Not to Skip Your Dental Cleanings
1. It's about more than your teeth. Some of the conditions that regular oral examinations may uncover include:
Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease

2. Dental Cleanings may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Gum disease increases inflammation throughout the body - and chronic inflammation can contribute to cardiovascular disease. Even though there currently isn't clear evidence showing that gum disease and cardiovascular disease are directly related, it's still a good idea to prevent gum disease.

3. Nutritional deficiencies could be exposed. During the examination part of your cleaning, your hygienist and dentist will look for indications that you're lacking in particular vitamins and other nutrients. For example, a pale tongue could mean that you aren't getting enough iron.

4. Preventing tooth decay and gum disease is easier than treating them. Getting regular cleanings may be the best way to prevent the need for other dental procedures. In addition to thoroughly cleaning your teeth, your dental pro educates you on the most efficient flossing and brushing techniques and they can answer any questions you may have regarding daily oral care.

5. Your appearance is important. Getting regular cleanings helps keep your teeth free of stains and tartar buildup. Once plaque is removed, your hygienist will polish your teeth to make them shine. As you age, plaque tends to build up more quickly, so regular cleanings become even more critical as the years go by. Although you may not associate dental hygiene with looking younger, having a bright, healthy smile can give you a more youthful appearance.
Santa Clarita Advanced Dentistry 200-0677

The Scoop on Platelet Rich Plasma Injection Therapy (PRP)
You may have read that Platelet Rich Plasma Injection Therapy is a cutting-edge treatment already being touted as a medical miracle, replacing cortisone shots, drug therapy and surgery. That makes sense; this amazing procedure is currently the rave in sports medicine with superstars like Kobe Bryant, Cliff Lee, Tiger Woods, Bartolo Colon and other professional athletes singing praises of dramatic results with this procedure. But how does it work? We spoke to Dr. Tony Avakian, DPM, of Valencia Foot & Ankle Center to find out.

What do you see as the biggest advantage?
Simply put, this is a natural way to heal - not mask - acute or chronic conditions without any side effects. Ailments currently being treated in our office with the PRP therapy are arthritis, tendonitis, muscle sprains and tears, neuritis and ligament injuries. We have seen phenomenal results in our office with treatments for plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, joint pain, neuritis, neuromas and various other chronic conditions, too. It's a game changer.

How does it work?
PRP is blood plasma with concentrated platelets and other growth factors. The concentrated platelets found in PRP contain huge reservoirs of bioactive proteins, including growth factors and signaling proteins that are vital to initiate and accelerate tissue repair and regeneration. These growth factors number at least a dozen different factors. These bioactive proteins initiate connective tissue healing in tissues such as meniscus and rotator cuff tissue, bone and articular cartilage regeneration and repair, promote development of new blood vessels and stimulate the wound-healing process. The PRP signals the body to send in stem cells to repair the area of injury by generating new tissue and formation of new blood vessels. In summary, we enable the body to heal itself.

What's the procedure like?
The way this process works is a small amount of blood is taken from the patient's arm and the blood is then placed in a centrifuge, which spins and separates the platelets form the rest of the blood components. The specially-prepared platelets are taken and re-injected into the affected area. These platelets release special growth factors that lead to tissue healing. The entire process takes less than 15 minutes and increases the concentration of platelets and growth factors up to 600 percent. The healing process takes between four to eight weeks.
Valencia Foot & Ankle Center 288-2321

courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock

At-risk Babies
While human breast milk is beneficial for all babies, it is especially helpful for at-risk premature infants in the neonatal intensive care units. Because of its immunologic components, breast milk offers protection from potentially life-threatening infections. If mothers are not able to supply the amount of breast milk needed to support their baby in the NICU, outside sources like a milk bank become life-savers.

The BIG news: Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital was recently designated as a breast milk donation drop-off location, in partnership with The San Jose Milk Bank, a non-profit organization. Donated milk received at the milk bank is carefully screened and pasteurized before being shipped to a variety of NICU locations across California. "We are thrilled to be a designated milk depot, offering local moms the opportunity to donate their extra milk to babies in need," said May Beth Sweet, lactation program coordinator at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. "We are so grateful to our donors who are providing human milk to help nourish and support the tiniest NICU babies across our state. It really does take a village!" Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital is hoping to increase awareness about breast milk donation at their location. Interested donors must complete a screening process that includes a brief phone interview, paperwork and free lab testing.

Seniors & those with Medicare Advantage Plans
The BIG news: Beginning in 2019, those with Medicare Advantage plans could see new benefits added to cover at-home assistance with dressing, bathing, meal preparation and more. "This is a major shift in Medicare coverage and a huge boon to those who rely on non-medical homecare services to age in place," says Geneva Gray, owner of Visiting Angels. "It's not an exaggeration to say that this has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for seniors with the Advantage plans."
Visiting Angels 263-2273

Hip News in the Field of Outpatient Hip Replacements
Yes, you read that right: Outpatient hip replacements are not only a "thing," now... they actually correlate to faster recoveries with lower risk of infection. The trend isn't so much a fad as a fantastic development that started with anterior (front) hip replacements. Using a specialized surgical table, the specialist is able to perform a minimally-invasive procedure that affects less tissue, results in substantially-less scarring and has patients up and walking on their way out of the recovery room.

Think you might be a candidate? First, the facts. You might have a hip condition if you have joint pain in the area; pain in the groin or buttocks; swelling around the thigh and knee; joint inflammation or fluid in the hip joint; hip muscle spasms or throbbing; redness and warmth near the hip (Get to the doctor stat - this could be sign of infection.); discomfort when placing weight on the hip or inability to walk without limping.
Don't get ahead of yourself - you might not need a hip replacement, but you could be suffering with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fracture, labral tear, or femoral-acetabular impingement. The best bet is to be seen by a surgeon specializing in relieving hip pain.
Dr. Alon Antebi and Dr. Justin Sherfey of AVORS 705-5100
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