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Cancer care

Yakima Valley Memorial (YVM) has paved the way for cancer care in Central Washington for decades, offering the area's first cobalt therapy unit in 1968 and consistently adopting advancements in the diagnoses and treatment of cancer. We offer a wealth of ground-breaking technologies, leading clinical trials and complementary services, right here in Yakima.

Whether patients are receiving inpatient care at our hospital campus, oncology treatment at North Star Lodge, or women's health and mammography services at 'Ohana, our team of distinguished doctors and nurses is dedicated to providing treatment in a caring, comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.

Our physicians and staff understand that living with a chronic illness can be extremely difficult and challenging; our programs enable our staff to treat the whole person and their family, including emotional, spiritual, nutritional and pain management needs. Our progressive oncology team is continuously seeking innovative treatment opportunities to complement proven medical therapies.

Inpatient care

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. We understand this and have gone to great lengths to provide patients and their families with both the information and the treatment they need. We know how important it is for patients to understand what's happening to them, and our experienced staff is committed to helping patients and their families better understand their diagnosis and treatment options.

Our cancer care inpatient treatment includes a wide range of diagnostic, radiation, chemotherapy and surgical treatments for people with cancer, as well as radioactive seed implants and immunotherapy, when appropriate.

The inpatient oncology (cancer) unit is located on the second floor of the hospital and has 15 beds (private and semi-private). The unit also has heart monitors with telemetry support available, as well as pharmacy services.

Patients can have a visitor or visitors, providing that our current COVID-19 Visitor Policy allows it. Sleeper chairs are available for family members. The unit also offers music to enhance patient care. Home health, hospice and infusion therapy are available to our cancer patients when needed.

For the patient's convenience and well-being, YVM works together so that transfers or referrals can be easily made from inpatient care to North Star Lodge, 'Ohana or our hospice care team, should the need arise.

Combined, these services provide comprehensive cancer care that is among the finest in the nation. For cancer patients and their families, this offers hope indeed.

North Star Lodge

North Star Lodge offers comprehensive cancer care that is a step beyond many major medical centers in the United States, including well-known universities.

This leading cancer center provides complete outpatient oncology care, including a full complement of radiation therapy, medical oncology, chemotherapy and infusion care, in addition to imaging, laboratory and other diagnostic services. It offers an on-site pharmacy as well as physical therapy and psychosocial services, including counseling, consultative and education services. It is no wonder patients from across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and the entire West coast have opted to receive treatment at North Star Lodge.

Patient resources

FAQs

When should I call 911 for a cancer patient?

The following guidelines can help you decide what to do in case of an emergency.

  • Shortness of breath or chest pain. If you become short of breath suddenly or have shortness of breath that doesn't go away after resting for a few minutes, go to the nearest emergency room immediately or call 911. Chest pain could indicate many things, as can numbness or tingling in your arms or legs or difficulty thinking or walking. It is best to call 911 or go directly to an emergency room.
  • Nausea or vomiting. If your anti-nausea medications do not help, or if you cannot keep down at least two quarts of fluid a day, call your doctor as soon as possible.
  • External bleeding needs direct pressure applied until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding does not stop, consult your doctor or call 911. If you have new bruising or bleeding from around gums, bloody nose, black or red stools, or blood in urine or around any needle injection sites, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Fevers. If you have a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, contact your doctor. Call if you have chills, with or without a fever. Ask your doctor to tell you what temperature is considered serious for you. Fever can indicate an infection . If you are in doubt, call your doctor or 911.
  • Confusion or extreme sleepiness that can't be shaken could indicate several serious problems. Don't take any medications, food or water until you have received specific instructions from a doctor.
  • Other reasons to contact your doctor. If you have increased pain; sensitivity; or sores that develop in your mouth, on your lips, in your throat or in your rectal area, get help. If you have diarrhea 2 to 3 times daily for more than two days, or if you are constipated or have no bowel movement for 2 to 3 days, call your doctor. Increased pain or new pain may indicate a change is needed in your pain medications, so let your doctor know as soon as possible.

If anything happens that you weren't warned about, or if symptoms seem more worrisome than you were led to believe, call your doctor. If you are in doubt about the seriousness of what's happening, call 911 or proceed to the emergency room.

How can I tell if caregiving is putting too much stress on me?

Common signs of caregiver stress include the following:

  • Feeling sad or moody.
  • Crying more often than you used to.
  • Having low energy level.
  • Feeling like you don't have any time to yourself.
  • Having trouble sleeping, or not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.
  • Having trouble eating, or eating too much.
  • Seeing friends or relatives less often than you used to.
  • Losing interest in your hobbies or the things you used to do with friends or family.
  • Feeling angry at the person you are caring for or at other people or situations.

In addition, you may not get any thanks from the person you are caring for. This may add to your feelings of stress and frustration.

What should I do if I'm feeling overwhelmed and stressed?

These feelings are not wrong or strange. Caregiving can be very stressful. Because being a caregiver is so hard, some doctors think of caregivers as "hidden patients." If you don't take care of yourself and stay well, you won't be able to help anyone else.

Talk with your family doctor about your feelings. Stay in touch with your friends and family members. Ask them for help in giving care. Asking for help doesn't make you a failure.

Look for help in your community. You may start by asking your church or synagogue if they have services or volunteers who can help you. You can also ask for help from support organizations or take advantage of one of the North Star Lodge "Patient & Caregiver Support Groups."