Free Community Presentation

Home and Community Services for the Veteran.

In honor of Veterans Day, we have a special event of particular interest to those who use veteran’s health benefits. Carmen Mohrbach, RN-­BC, is coordinator at the Walla Walla VA for Hospice and Palliative care as well as the VA Home and Community Based Services program. Come hear about new approaches to how these services are referred, coordinated and delivered for our veterans.

Please RSVP by November 16th. A complimentary lunch will be provided with RSVP. Call 737-­3427 to register or visit www.tccancer.org and click on our calendar of events page to register online.

The Tri-­Cities Cancer Center is able to offer programs like this, at no cost, thanks to community support through the Tri-­Cities Cancer Center Foundation. Donations to the Tri-­Cities Cancer Center Foundation stay local and provide valuable non-­reimbursed cancer programs and services for patients, their families, and the community.

The Tri-­Cities Cancer Center, a partnership of Kadlec Regional Medical Center, Lourdes Health Network, Trios Health and the Tri-­Cities Community, opened its doors in 1994 as a freestanding non-­profit cancer treatment facility. To learn more about the Tri-­Cities Cancer Center and how you might become involved, visit us online at www.tccancer.org.


Q&A with a Breast Patient Navigator

A Question/Answer Session with Cindy Miller, RN, CN-BN and Breast Patient Navigator at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center

Q: Should young women be screened for breast cancer?

A: Women of any age can be affected by breast cancer. I encourage women to do regular breast self-exams.  If you know how they normally feel, you are most likely to know if something has changed.  Women should begin screening mammograms at the age of 40 (or younger with a significant family history).  The good news is the majority of breast lumps are benign (non-cancerous). If you experience any changes in your breasts, make an appointment and have it checked out.  As we age, the risk of breast cancer increases.  However, approximately 25% of women being diagnosed are under the age of 50.

Q: Should men be screened for breast cancer?

A: I encourage men to do regular breast self-exams.  If you know how they normally feel, you are most likely to know if something has changed.  The good news is the majority of breast lumps are benign (non-cancerous). If you experience any changes in your breasts, make an appointment and have it checked out. Men of any age can be affected by breast cancer, however as we age, the risk of breast cancer increases. The risk for men is low and the primary symptom is a lump in the breast.

Q: Are young women at more risk than others in the general population?

A: Although younger women have a lower risk of getting breast cancer, studies have shown that cancer in young females can spread more quickly than in older populations.  Please don’t delay in getting care.  Breast cancer caught early generally has more treatment options and is likely to have a better outcome.

Q:  I’ve had a couple of friends diagnosed with breast cancer while they were pregnant.  Is that unusual?

A:  It is very rare. However, there are factors relevant to this condition.  First, women are having children later in life and second, there are significant hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy that promote changes in the breast.   Women should have a thorough examination from a provider early in pregnancy to determine the health of the mother and baby.

Q: Many people are often worried about the cost of exams and its effect on their family’s finances. Any suggestions?

A: Yes!  Thanks to generous donations to our Foundation, Tri-Cities Cancer Center offers a free breast and cervical cancer screening throughout the year. Additionally, with a provider’s order, we offer free mammogram and ultrasound coupons for men and women who are uninsured or underinsured.  Check our website at www.tccancer.org or call (509) 737-3420 for information about upcoming screenings.  Our Nurse Navigators can help men and women through every stage and aspect of their treatment, including support for medical needs, financial issues and simply learning how to cope with cancer.

Q: Where can women or men go to meet with and learn from others who have been in this situation?

A: The Cancer Center has two breast cancer support groups.  ‘Warrior Sisterhood’ is for women who were diagnosed with cancer under the age of 40.  Women with any type of cancer may attend (breast cancer is the primary focus).  They meet the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 5:30 to 7:00PM.  Please call 737-3400 before attending, as this group meets at alternate locations.  Our ‘Breast Cancer Support Group’ meets the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month, 9:00 to 11:00 AM, and is for women or men of any age needing support. This group meets at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center.  In addition, our Nurse Navigators and Chaplains are available to help breast cancer patients and their families.

Contact Cindy at (509) 737-3418 or CindyM@tccancer.org for additional information.


Tobacco Talk

Gretchen Saunders, RN, BSN, Nurse Navigator, Tri-Cities Cancer Center

Let’s talk tobacco. As a nurse navigator who specializes in lung cancer, I see the negative effects of tobacco use on a daily basis, particularly the damage cigarette smoking causes. The simple message for everyone is, don’t ever try tobacco products and if you are a tobacco user, the sooner you quit the better chance you have of avoiding a cancer diagnosis.

Consider the facts: According to the Centers for Disease Control:

In 2014, nearly 25 of every 100 high school students (24.6%) and nearly 8 of every 100 middle school students (7.7%) used some type of tobacco product. In 2013, nearly half (46.0%) of high school students and nearly 18 of every 100 middle school students (17.7%) said they had tried a tobacco product. 90% of all people start using tobacco in their teens.

These are staggering statistics. Especially when you consider these same individuals are more likely to continue to use tobacco products into adulthood. Did you know that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related death among men and women?

Active kids, those who turn out for sports, often view smokeless tobacco differently than cigarettes. The bottom line is, neither are safe.

A word for pregnant mothers: I strongly urge you to avoid tobacco use. Smoking by pregnant mothers can result in an increased death rate, premature birth, ear infections, asthma and respiratory infections for your little one.

Start talking with your children as soon as you can about making healthy choices. Of course, you need to temper the language in a way that is age appropriate. My husband and I began talking with our kids about how they can affect their own health with diet and exercise as soon as they were able to understand. It was an evolving conversation as they aged. When they were very young we would say things like, “Eww gross!” or “That’s yucky!” in reference to cigarette use.

I happen to teach a tobacco cessation class at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center on a monthly basis. The classes are free of charge. I often hear from participants that they wish they never started. It’s expensive from a health and lifestyle perspective. There are increased medical bills, dental issues, missed work due to health issues, social stigma and people often feel ashamed.

Moms, if you, your spouse or even your children are tobacco users who need help kicking the habit, call 737-3427 to sign up for our next Tobacco Cessation class. I promise you it will be one of the best decisions you or your loved ones will ever make!

Gretchen Saunders is a Nurse Navigator at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center and the proud mother of Camille (23), Drew (20) and Cecily (17).