Prostate Treatment Side Effects

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Tri-Cities Cancer Center Offers Procedure to Reduce Prostate Cancer Treatment Side Effects

The Tri-Cities Cancer Center is proud to share that we are offering a procedure that has been proven to minimize the side effects for prostate cancer patients being treated with radiation therapy.

The procedure involves SpaceOAR® hydrogel, which is an absorbable hydrogel that temporarily creates space between the prostate and the rectum, protecting the rectum from radiation exposure during prostate radiation therapy.

Why Should A Patient Have SpaceOAR Hydrogel?
The goal of radiation therapy is to maximize radiation to the prostate and to avoid radiating surrounding normal tissue. The prostate and rectum are very close and are only naturally separated by a small space. Due to this closeness, prostate radiation therapy can accidentally cause damage to the rectum. SpaceOAR hydrogel is a gel-like material that temporarily moves the rectal wall away from the prostate during radiotherapy. By separating the prostate from the rectum, SpaceOAR hydrogel reduces radiation dose delivered to the rectum and may eliminate or reduce damage to the rectum. It may also allow your doctor to enhance radiation treatment to your prostate to better target the cancer or to reduce the total number of treatment sessions1.

For more information regarding the SpaceOAR procedure, please visit or


1. Hydrogel Spacer Prospective Multicenter Randomized Controlled Pivotal Trial: Dosimetric and Clinical Effects of Perirectal Spacer Application in Men Undergoing Prostate Image Guided Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. Mariados, Neil et al. International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics , Volume 92 , Issue 5 , 971 – 977


Coping with Holiday Stress

By: Margaret Ley, TCCC Chaplain

No doubt you have started making your holiday lists. It is that time of year when many details and plans have to be put in place in order to make the magic holiday moments take shape. It really doesn’t happen by chance. There are lists for events, travel, decorations, food, presents, and so on. Pile all of that onto an already hectic lifestyle and that can easily add up to holiday stress that can feel overwhelming. Are you up for one more list?

I would invite you to take a few moments to set a timer for about three minutes, and turn your note pad to a fresh sheet and start writing as many answers as you can to this statement, “I am…” Try to avoid adjectives and stick with nouns such as: I am an adult, a mother, a sister, a worker….keep going and give yourself enough time to stretch your brain. Time’s up. How many identities are crowded into what makes you – you?

Our multiplicity of identities can be a source of stress. For example the phone flashes a text message from work in the middle of a holiday meal in which I am experiencing myself as a hostess, daughter, wife, aunt, and suddenly being called out as chaplain forces me to rethink my obligations at that moment. Suppose you are an artist and everyone on your gift list looks to you to supply some “over-the-moon” creative gift to top the one from last year. Harder still are those identities we may have to embrace that we did not choose. We may have on our list: I am divorced, widowed, orphaned, homeless, or sick. There are some who will say, “I don’t know who I am.”

When we start approaching this time of year when holidays make us more reflective about the meaning of our lives often people report experiencing more stress in their lives not from the stuff that has to get done, but from trying to please too many people. That stress has potential to work itself out often in destructive ways to our health, our relationships and regrets of things said and done. This little list I suggest you write might give you some insights into how you decide to cope with the coming holidays and decide what is most important.

I would invite all of us to take a breath. You are alive. Take another deep breath. You are inspired. Holidays are meant to bring us back to this moment of inspiration. When you start to feel overwhelmed, try saying this, “I am here.” Be present to each moment and know that it is okay to say no to obligations that wear you down and take your breath away. Accept each breath, let go of expectations and be open to those who share this moment with you especially those who feel isolated and alone. Each breath we take is a gift and may each breath be an inspiration of peace in the coming days.

25 Reasons!

By: Ken Gamboa, Director of Marketing and Business Development, TCCC

In 1994, the Tri-Cities Cancer Center opened its doors with the mission of bringing world-class cancer treatment and services to our very own community. This was the first joint venture of Kadlec Regional Medical Center, Lourdes Health and Trios Health (at the time Kennewick General Hospital).

As we head into 2019 and our 25th anniversary, we couldn’t be more proud and honored to be a part of our amazing Tri-Cities community. In our first 25 years, we’ve been through ups and downs, highs and lows, and a number of changes, but one thing has remained the same – our focus on providing comprehensive, world-class cancer care, treatment and support right here at home.

We would like to kick off our 25th anniversary by sharing 25 reasons we love caring for our community. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list and we look forward to sharing additional ways we love caring for our community in the year to come.

1. Our Patients – We are grateful that you put your trust in us while going through your cancer journey. You are our North Star and you are not in this battle alone! You guide us and show us every day your strength, courage and love. For that we are forever humbled and honored to be a part of your journey.

2. Our Community – From the beginning, you have been nothing short of amazing! You’ve supported us, guided us, cheered us on and we are so thankful to be a member.

3. Our Foundation and Donors – Your hard work and dedication to raising and donating funds so that our patients and community can receive the very best care is beyond measurable. Thank you!

4. Our Owners – You have been with us since the beginning and our collaboration has strengthened us and allowed us to bring the very best support to our patients and community.

5. Our Providers – You take care of our patients with such warmth and compassion on a daily basis and we want you to know that we are so appreciative. We know our patients are in excellent hands.

6. Our Volunteers – We couldn’t do it without you! You continue to show us that there is no limit to your support. In 2018, you are well on track to ending the year sharing over 12,000 volunteer hours with the Cancer Center.

7. Our Staff – You show our patients every day that they are not in this journey alone with such grace, hard work and dedication. We are so thankful for you!

8. World-Class Technology – We work hard to ensure our patients receive the very best treatment utilizing top notch technology without having to travel. We will continue to bring the very best to our region.

9. Resource Center and Library – Our resource center and library have complimentary resources available to anyone needing additional information regarding cancer and related topics. Proudly these are provided at no cost to our community through the
hard work of our Foundation.

10. Prevention and Early Detection Efforts – It’s important that we continue to focus on our prevention and early detection efforts. Annually, we provide numerous free cancer screenings and partner with our hospital owners and area physicians to provide incredibly valuable services to our community.

11. Governing Board – Your continued guidance and support of our efforts is appreciated. We will continue to stay focused on providing world-class care and comprehensive resources for our patients.

12. Foundation Board – Thank you for continuing to guide our fundraising efforts so that we can continue to provide the very best in care to our patients.

13. Support Groups – The cancer journey is not an easy one, so we provide a number of different support groups available at our Cancer Center throughout every month.

14. Naturopathic Clinic – With a focus on oncology care, our Naturopathic Physician, Lindsey Josephson, ND, provides guidance on how to use vitamins and supplements to improve cancer treatment, minimize treatment side effects, recover from treatment earlier and to minimize overall cancer risk.

15. Survivorship Clinic – Led by Lisa C.S. Rootvik, ARNP, our Survivorship Clinic provides the bridge between a patient’s oncology team and their primary care provider by assisting patients in achieving their best life after treatment.

16. Chaplain Services – Our chaplain, Margaret Ley, provides emotional and spiritual support to patients and families during
difficult times. Please see her article on page four about holiday stress.

17. Cancer WellFit™ Program – This customized exercise program for cancer patients and cancer survivors is a collaborative program between the Tri-Cities Cancer Center and the Tri-City Court Club.

18. Benign Disease Treatment – Not only do we provide world-class cancer treatment, but we can also assist with common benign diseases treated with Radiation Therapy such as Dupuytren’s Disease, Ledderhose Disease, and Plantar Fasciitis to name a few.

19. Centers of Excellence – Our centers of excellence ensure world-class care right here in our community. Patients are provided comprehensive care including a multidisciplinary approach to care including nurse navigation, adherence to national guidelines of care, timely treatment and improved outcomes. Our patients deserve the very best!

20. Staying Local – We want to make sure your life stays as simple as possible when undergoing treatment and support, so we work hard to ensure you have all of the necessary resources right here in your backyard.

21. Navigating Treatment and Support – Our cancer nurse navigators help patients and their families to understand, access, and
coordinate necessary cancer care and services. Your support and passion for what you do is immeasurable.

22. Educational Classes – We know that there are many questions and topics you would like to learn more about, so that’s why we provide classes such as Ask a Pharmacist, Ask a Dietician, Gentle Yoga and Mindful Meditation to those that need them.

23. The Guild and Men’s Club – We are forever grateful for your continued dedication and support of the Tri-Cities Cancer Center and Foundation.

24. Warrior Sisterhood – This active group of women balances work, family and a busy life along with cancer treatments and recovery and we are proud of your continued hard work, efforts and support.

25. Our Approach – We understand that a cancer diagnosis is difficult enough without the added stress of leaving the community for treatment. This is why we have worked diligently to bring state-of-the-art technology, skilled oncology professionals, and an array of support groups and integrative oncology services here to our community.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to the Tri-Cities community for your ongoing support and to our patients, we are here for you every step of the way.

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

Pancreatic cancer is a very deadly cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, only 8.5% of those diagnosed will live longer than five years. Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3.2% of all cancers in the United States and 7.3% of all cancer deaths. Approximately 55,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018. The average lifetime risk of pancreatic cancer for both men and women is 1.6%. At institutions across the country, researchers are actively looking for pancreatic cancer biomarkers that can be used as a predictive, screening, or diagnostic test.

Your Tri-Cities Cancer Center can help. Visit us online at or at our Ralph R. Peterson Library for a wealth of information and resources on pancreatic cancer.

Bringing the Fight Home

By: Carl Berkowitz, TCCC Volunteer

Veteran Lewis Turner travelled a good deal while serving four years as a construction electrician in the United States Naval Construction Battalion, known as the CB’s, or ‘Seebees’. He spent time in Okinawa, Guam and Iwo Jima, along with several ports in the lower 48 states. But a diagnosis of cancer brought with it the prospect of having to make repeated trips for extended treatments in Seattle. This was a tour of duty he didn’t want.

Lewis’ battle with cancer began when a lump developed on the left side of his neck that extended down to his shoulder. He initially tried to ignore it but when the lump started to affect his nerves and muscles, Eva, his wife, issued orders for him to report to the Veterans Administration’s (VA) clinic in Richland. They, in turn, sent Lewis to the VA hospital in Walla Walla who then sent him to the VA Hospital in Seattle for a biopsy.

He had to return to Seattle for a second biopsy, and this was followed by another visit of four days so they could drain and remove the lump. When this was done, Lewis received a phone call from the Seattle VA. Could he return again, this time for eight weeks of radiation therapy, five days a week? To which Lewis responded “…we have a cancer center here in the Tri-Cities. Why can’t I get the treatment here, closer to home?”

This is when the Veterans Choice Program intervened. This agency helps vets receive care from a community provider. They contacted the Tri-Cities Cancer Center in Kennewick and shortly later Lewis received a phone call from the office of TCCC Radiation Oncologist Dr. Guy Jones. When could he start therapy and what time of day best fit his schedule?

He still had to drive from his home in Finley to the TCCC campus in Kennewick, “but it was a lot easier than spending 8 weeks in Seattle!” says Lewis. His treatment at the Center was set up for the early morning so he could continue working at Irrigation Specialists in Pasco. At one of his first appointments Lewis had a custom mask fitted to his head and shoulder. This helped direct the beam of radiation to the exact location determined by physicians. And then, with the mask on, he just lay there as “…the machine just went back and forth, and back and forth. It couldn’t have been easier”. Lewis said that “…the people at the radiation center were really great! I’d meet with Dr. Jones once a week when he’d ask how I was doing and how I felt.”

Today his health is good with no more therapy planned. He has follow-up checkups with Dr. Jones, but the future is bright. As Lewis notes, not only was the cancer cured, but “I saved myself a lot of travel by having the treatment done here in the Tri-Cities!”

The Tri-Cities Cancer Center is contracted with the VA and proud to take care of our Veterans. Thank you for your service!

Food Doesn’t Taste the Same

By: Audrey McGary RD, CD, Touchpoint Dietitian, Lourdes Health

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or the cancer itself may cause food to taste different to cancer patients.

Some people have a bitter or a metallic taste in their mouth. For others, food tastes “like nothing”. People frequently say they no longer enjoy red meat. For others, the desire for sweets is gone. Taste preferences can change from day to day.

General Suggestions

  • Many foods, including meat and poultry, taste better if they are served cold or at room temperature instead of hot.
  • Eggs often taste good when the taste for meat is lost.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables, pasta dishes, and milk products are often well tolerated.
  • Fruit sorbet, sherbet, and fruit smoothies usually taste good.
  • Tart foods with more distinctive tastes may be added to foods to help cover the metallic taste. Try adding orange, lime, or lemon juice or orange marmalade to fruit salad, salsa, sauces for pork or chicken, stir-fried or cooked vegetables, and oil-based salad dressing. Add vinegar, lemon juice, or pickles to creamy dressings for potato, macaroni, tuna, egg, or cole slaw salads. Lemon juice added to chicken broth, broth-based soup, gazpacho, or guacamole enhances the flavor.
  • Peel carrots before eating or cooking. This eliminates the bitterness that is quite noticeable to some people and makes them avoid eating carrots altogether. Try the “baby” carrots available in the produce section that are already peeled and cut.
  • If you do not have sores in your mouth, try using horseradish or any of the flavored mustards, such as Dijon, honey, sweet and sour, etc., to add flavor to your sandwiches and other foods.
  • Fruit juice popsicles often taste good. Make your own popsicles with your favorite juice flavors.
  • Rinse your mouth with fruit juice, wine, tea, ginger ale, club soda, or salted water before eating. This will help clear your
    taste buds.
  • You can sometimes get rid of the strange taste in your mouth by eating foods that leave their own taste in your mouth, such as fresh fruit or hard candy. Suck on lemon drops or mints or chew gum after eating to get rid of the undesirable tastes that linger.
  • Try marinating meat or poultry in fruit juice, wine, vinegar-based salad dressing, or other sauces for more taste.
  • Experiment with spices and herbs. Some people find they like spicier foods at this time.
  • Experiment with new foods. Try foods or cuisines you may not have tried before.
  • Eat out in restaurants that feature buffets. You can try small amounts of a variety of food without having to prepare it yourself.
  • Check with your dentist to rule out dental problems causing bad taste. Care for your mouth and teeth to prevent dental caries.

Things to Avoid
Do not force yourself to eat foods that taste bad. Instead, find substitutes for those foods. For example, if red meat doesn’t taste right, select chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, cheese, yogurt, or tofu.

Avoid eating no-salt-added or low-salt varieties of canned soups or vegetables (unless you have high blood pressure and are instructed to do so by your physician). Soup and vegetables tend to have a metallic taste when the salt is eliminated in the processing.

Do not drink citrus juices such as orange or grapefruit immediately after brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste. The chemical mixture of fluoride with citric acid makes a rather unpleasant taste in your mouth.

If a metallic taste in your mouth persists, avoid using metal dishes and utensils. Try using plastic eating utensils, chopsticks, or porcelain Chinese soup spoons.

Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcoholic beverages blunt and distort your ability to taste. Alcohol also makes your mouth dry.

Breast Cancer Screening

By: Laurie S Evans MD, PC, FACS

Recently, I have become more aware of patient’s interest in alternative imaging, a.k.a. “thermography” for breast cancer screening. As a physician who has dedicated her career to helping women (and men) fight and win the battle for breast cancer, I would like to remind you that mammography, a low-dose X-ray image of the breast, is still the most effective breast cancer screening tool, second to the human hand, with breast self-exam (BSE) being equally important. Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 women in my clinic when asked, report they DO NOT do self-exams for one reason or another.

Some health centers are providing information that can mislead patients into believing that thermography, a type of test that shows patterns of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body, is a proven alternative to mammography. But the Federal Drug Administration, the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the American College of Radiology all agree on one thing: there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.

Indeed, thermography has NOT been shown to be effective as a standalone test for either breast cancer screening or diagnosis in detecting early stage breast cancer. It is based on blood flow patterns and areas with increased flow are highlighted in a different color. Small lesions will not be seen and in point of fact, you want to find lesions BEFORE they require significant blood flow. In other words, early detection.

About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer sometime in their lifetime. I am happy to report there has been a decline in breast cancer deaths in recent years, and one reason is because cancers have been detected earlier through high quality mammograms. This fact is supported by the American Cancer Society and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. But please remember, even if your mammogram is “normal” and you are one of the few women who DO exams on themselves, if you feel a lump or mass in your breast, please go seek further evaluation. No test is perfect!

In fact, the greatest danger from thermography is that those who opt for this method instead of mammography may miss the chance to detect cancer at its earliest stage.

At this time thermography has only been cleared by the FDA as an “adjunctive” tool—meaning for use alongside a primary test like mammography. Patients who undergo thermography alone should not be reassured of the findings because the device was not cleared to be used other than with another testing method. The FDA has taken regulatory action (including issuing warning letters) against health care providers and thermography manufacturers who try to mislead patients into believing that thermograms can take the place of mammograms.

The FDA regulates the medical devices used for breast cancer screening. Modern mammography has a very stringent quality control regimen set forth by the FDA and the American College of Radiology in order to ensure that the best possible images are used for this important diagnostic test. In fact, mammography has more quality control than many other imaging techniques.

“Plenty of evidence shows that mammography is still the most effective screening method for detecting breast cancer in its early, most treatable stages. You should not rely solely on thermography for the screening or diagnosis of breast cancer.” Helen J. Barr, M.D., director of the Division of Mammography Quality Standards in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

So, before you choose thermography over mammography, do two things. First, a breast self-exam and then ask yourself what is more important, my life or my breast? It breaks down to a very simple question. Thermography is vague at best and is not specific enough to provide quality information. If you want to keep your head in the clouds and pretend there is no problem then perhaps thermography is the test for you. But if you want answers and hope to achieve assurance that all is well, then you want a high quality, proven test such as 3D mammography. And I would add, that even if the mammogram is negative and you feel something abnormal, pursue ultrasound or other imaging with a breast specialist. – Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, Feb 2012