Healthy & Happy
January, 2019 - Issue #172


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 based at City of Hope's Santa Clarita location.

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.

A variety of targeted therapies have emerged so far, Hajjar said. Those treatments include:

Hormonal therapies. Some diseases, such as breast cancer, depend on hormones to grow.

Angiogenesis therapies. Tumors need a blood supply to grow and they are capable of making their own blood vessels through a process called angiogenesis. "If we target that capability, the tumors will not have enough blood and they eventually suffocate," he said.

Apoptosis therapies. Cancer cells can grow and divide indefinitely, instead of dying when they should. These medications can program "death sentences" into the cells.
Immunotherapy treatments. New immunotherapy treatments harness the body's own immune system to recognize and attack cancerous cells.

Monoclonal antibody therapy. Antibodies are proteins that circulate normally in the body, seeking out foreign substances like viruses or bacteria. Researchers are working to design monoclonal antibodies that will stick to cancer cells, delivering radioactive molecules or cell-killing toxins directly into the tumor.
City of Hope 799-1999

Why You Need the VELscope Vx Exam
Used for early discovery of oral abnormalities, the VELscope Vx helps your dentist identify oral disease early, while it's still easy to treat. The most powerful tool available of its kind, the VELscope Vx exam is quick, painless and effective. You are at risk of oral diseases if you smoke, use chewing tobacco, or drink alcohol - which means there's a pretty good chance you or someone you love needs to book an appointment now. Recently, HPV has also been connected to oral-cancer diseases. Since one in four people test positive for it, even more folks will now want to get their VELscope Vx exam on the calendar.
Santa Clarita Advanced Dentistry

courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock

What's holding you back from living your best life? Whether it's a relationship (You know what you gotta do. Rip off that bandaid already!), crummy job (Take that resume for a test drive!) or poor perspective (An attitude of gratitude works!), 2019 is the fresh start you need to make it your best year yet.

Pain can Hold You Back from more than Movement
Pain is a real... pain. And not just at the site of injury or damage. It can - and often does - affect your entire life.

"My patients tell me about how their pain has prevented them from doing the things they once loved to do. One patient talked to me about how he used to spend hours playing golf and now unable to play because he can't be stand or walk too long due to hip pain. Another patient was in tears as she spoke to me about how much she loves dancing and can't dance or wear heels anymore because of the pain. Pain affects people's entire lives," shares Dr. Alon Antebi, an orthopedic surgeon with AVORS.

"Pain isn't isolated to the area of the body that hurts; it affects our entire system, causing other areas to over or under compensate and strain - and it can also lead to depression," explains AVORS orthopedic surgeon Dr. Justin Sherfey. "When the pain is treated, it's like a veil is lifted for many of our patients. Plus, the fog that comes with use of pain meds dissipates, too. Patients don't just get their 'body' back when the pain is addressed - they get their brain and psychological health back, too."

Still, the fear of surgery prevents many from seeking treatment. "There's a presumption that surgery is the only answer for pain management, but that's just not true," says Dr. Antebi. "Breakthroughs in non-invasive and minimally-invasive treatments are changing lives without surgery - and we always want to try conservative methods first, when it's possible," says Dr. Sherfey. "And if surgery is necessary, new minimally-invasive methods have patients up and walking right after in most cases. Many cases do not even need a hospital stay. Of course, every case is different, but that's why a consult with a specialist can really put your mind at ease. So many of our patients wish they had 'bit the bullet' and come in sooner. That fear of the unknown held them back, but knowledge empowered them to take their lives back from pain."
AVORS 705-5100

The Unsung Benefits of a Straight Smile
Sure, you know that a straight, bright smile can boost your confidence - but there are other benefits to healthy, aligned rows.

Reduce jaw pain and headaches. An "off" bite can affect the way you chew, talk... even sleep. Have unexplained jaw or head pain? Check with your dentist. Your bite may be affecting more than your smile.

Slow the look of aging. When alignment is off, you'll feel - and see - improper wear of your teeth. Worn down surfaces don't just expose you to oral complications - they "age" your smile.
Get a better job. Studies have shown that the aesthetic quality of your smile can directly affect your career, as well as your income and whether or not you get that promotion. Put your best smile forward at work and reap the benefits!
Snow Orthodontics 799-0775

Give the Gift of Health, Fitness & Fun
Treat your friends or family to a gift that truly keeps on giving - good health! The Paseo Club is Santa Clarita's most affordable premier fitness and lifestyle club, featuring dozens and dozens of fitness classes, tennis, swim, social events, an award-winning kids club, day spa, steam/sauna, executive locker rooms, pickleball and more. Membership gift cards are available for luxurious gift giving and complimentary tours can be scheduled throughout the holiday season and beyond. The Paseo Club 257-0044

courtesy of Brienne Michelle
courtesy of Brienne Michelle

Resolve to do something good for yourself in 2019 - sing!
The Santa Clarita Encore Chorale, a nonprofit musical arts program for seniors, is affiliated with national Encore Creativity for Older Adults. Encore began over a decade ago in Washington, DC as a multi-year NIH study on aging and the arts, linking singing with better mental and physical health.
SC Encore invites adults 55 and over to join the Spring 2019 semester. For seniors looking to make music and have fun, plus exercise mental and physical muscles, nothing beats a choir. Repertoire is a fun mix of Beach Boys to Beatles to Queen, classics from the Great American Songbook, TV themes and more. No auditions are required.

The free check-it-out-first rehearsal is Friday, January 18, 2019 at 4pm. The 15-week semester includes rehearsals on Fridays from 4pm to 5:30pm, cumulating with a free public concert on Friday, May 3 at 7pm.

Rehearsals and the concert are held in Newhall. A modest semester "tuition" of $150 helps cover costs; the introductory rehearsal is free, with no obligation to join. For more details, contact conductor Cheri Walters. 347-3221

courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock

The Sweetest "I can Hear!" Story
"The sweetest 'I can Hear Again!' story of memory wasn't marked by a client being amazed by how his life changed, but by how his wife reacted to his newfound hearing. A couple married many, many years came in; the wife was complaining about her husband's hearing. The husband didn't think he had any issues, but said that he was trying hearing aids anyway because of how much he loved his wife - she had been begging him to get them. Even after his hearing test showed that he had hearing loss, he didn't believe it! When they came back for a hearing-aid check, the wife was in tears as she shared how her life had changed in those few weeks. She said, 'I feel like we just got married again. This is a new beginning for our relationship.' They had been together for decades, the majority of their lives! But the communication had been lost as his hearing diminished. It felt so good to be able to give something so precious back to them." ~Nola Aronson, of Nola Aronson's Advanced Audiology
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