• Are all types of skin cancer deadly?

    About one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. Some types are deadlier than others, but any type of cancer should be considered life-threatening. The best possible outcome for skin cancer patients is achievable with early detection and early treatment. Here at MountainView Hospital, we focus on putting our oncology patients first to give them the individualized attention they need.

    Types of skin cancer
    Basal cell carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed type. The growth may look like a pink patch on the skin, or it might look like a flesh-colored, pearly or waxy bump. This type of cancer isn’t often fatal, although failure to treat it can lead to the spread of cancer to other tissues.

    Squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most common type, and it’s more often fatal. Detecting and treating this cancer as early as possible is often successful. Squamous cell carcinoma might look like a recurrent sore, a scaly patch or a firm, reddish bump.

    The deadliest type of skin cancer is melanoma, which tends to develop suddenly in an existing mole or elsewhere. Since early detection is crucial for long-term survival, everyone should know the following ABCDEs of melanoma:

    • Asymmetrical appearance
    • Border of the growth is poorly defined
    • Color—multiple shades present
    • Diameter larger than a pencil eraser
    • Evolving or changing in appearance over time

    Statistics for skin cancer
    It’s common knowledge that protection from sun exposure is important, but many people still underestimate the serious threat that skin cancer poses. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, almost 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every single day in the U.S. alone. At any given time, about one million people in the U.S. are living with skin cancer.

    Oncology specialists have treated more cases of melanoma in recent years. In fact, the number of people diagnosed with melanoma has doubled from 1982 to 2011.

    When melanoma is treated before it can spread, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent. Melanomas that spread to nearby areas have a five-year survival rate of 62 percent. If melanoma is allowed to spread well beyond its point of origin, the five-year survival rate is just 18 percent.

    MountainView Hospital is committed to healthcare excellence across all of our service lines, including our inpatient Oncology Unit. Our team of cancer specialists in Las Vegas provides superior, patient-focused care within a supportive setting. Call (702) 962-5021 to request a physician referral.

  • Is it possible to prevent a high-risk pregnancy?

    When an expecting mother is said to have a high-risk pregnancy , it means that she or her baby have certain risk factors that may increase the likelihood of complications of pregnancy or childbirth. This does not mean that complications are bound to happen, and many women with high-risk pregnancies are able to give birth to healthy children without experiencing complications. Watch this featured video to hear an Ob/Gyn from MountainView Hospital explain why she prefers to avoid thinking of pregnancies in terms of high or low risk. Instead, she prefers a patient-centered approach that helps all expecting mothers minimize their risks.

    The unmodifiable risk factors of high-risk pregnancies
    Although making healthy choices will support a complication-free pregnancy, certain risk factors aren’t changeable. These factors include the following:

    • Advanced maternal age (35 and older)
    • Family history of genetic conditions
    • Personal history of miscarriage or stillbirth
    • Prior pregnancy complications (preterm, low birth weight or C-section)
    • Pregnancy with multiples

    The manageable medical risk factors of high-risk pregnancies
    Some risk factors may be manageable with a doctor’s care, although they can’t be completely reversed. These include medical conditions of the mother , such as these:

    • Anemia
    • Epilepsy
    • Diabetes
    • Lupus
    • Thyroid disease
    • Blood disorders
    • HIV/AIDS

    This list of medical conditions is not comprehensive. Women who have any medical conditions or take any medications may consider scheduling a preconception health check-up with their doctors before trying to become pregnant.

    The lifestyle risk factors of high-risk pregnancies
    The everyday choices women make before and during pregnancy can influence their baby’s health. Women can reduce their risk of pregnancy-related complications by taking the following steps:

    • Exercising regularly
    • Eating a balanced, nutritious diet
    • Maintaining a healthy weight
    • Managing stress
    • Taking prenatal vitamins
    • Avoiding smoke and secondhand smoke
    • Avoiding illicit substances
    • Avoiding alcohol
    • Getting prenatal care
    • Practicing food safety to prevent foodborne illnesses

    Expecting mothers will find the state-of-the-art medical services they need and the compassionate care they deserve at MountainView Hospital . Tour our birthing center in Las Vegas and ask us about our extensive parent education courses, family-centered amenities and Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). A registered nurse is available around the clock at (702) 962-5021 to answer your questions.

  • Should you have vaccinations during pregnancy?

    Vaccines cause your immune system to produce antibodies, which can identify and fight off these diseases the next time they are encountered. During pregnancy, what enters your body can also affect your growing baby. This applies to the nutrients you consume, medications you take and vaccines you receive. In other words, when your immune system produces antibodies to protect you from illnesses, your baby also receives this protection. At MountainView Hospital, our Ob/Gyns strongly recommend that expecting moms get vaccinated, as this can save the lives of their precious babies.

    Vaccines to receive before pregnancy
    If you would like to become pregnant but aren’t actively trying just yet, you can schedule a preconception visit with your doctor to discuss your immunization record. Some vaccines are only safe to receive before pregnancy, rather than during it.

    Depending on your immunization record, your doctor may recommend that you have the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at least one month before you try to become pregnant. The varicella or chickenpox vaccine can also be administered at this time.

    Vaccines to receive during pregnancy
    Watch this featured video to hear an Ob/Gyn at MountainView Hospital explain the two vaccines that she recommends to every expecting mother. The first is the annual flu shot, which can be administered from October through May each year.

    After your child is born, it’s important to continue getting an annual flu shot to protect your baby . Other people in your household, caregivers and grandparents should also receive an annual flu shot, and be up-to-date on other vaccinations.

    The second vaccine all women should have during pregnancy provides protection from tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. By getting this vaccine at the start of the third trimester, your body automatically passes on the immune benefits to your baby. This protects your baby from these serious illnesses before he or she is old enough to get the vaccine.

    It’s our mission to support healthy babies and healthy parents here at MountainView Hospital . Our friendly and knowledgeable team of obstetrics specialists welcomes your questions about vaccinations for you and your baby. Call (702) 962-5021 to speak with a registered nurse at our state-of-the-art hospital in Las Vegas.

  • Connect to your community during National Night Out

    Connected communities are stronger communities. Get better acquainted with your neighbors during National Night Out, which is held on the first Tuesday of every August. Its purpose is to forge relationships between police officers, community watch volunteers and the community residents they serve. This year, National Night Out fell on August 1 st . Las Vegas families took part in the event at the Multi-Purpose Center on Sackett Street. The emergency care physicians of MountainView Hospital often treat victims of preventable accidents and traumatic incidents and welcome every opportunity to help make Las Vegas safer for our patients.

    The purpose of National Night Out
    Each year, community organizers around the nation host National Night Out events for the primary purposes of making neighborhoods safer, and growing positive relationships between law enforcement officers and residents.

    Every community that celebrates National Night Out plans its own festivities. They generally include:

    • Block parties
    • Festivals
    • Cookouts
    • Parades
    • Safety demonstrations
    • Seminars
    • Emergency personnel talks and demonstrations
    • Youth events

    At National Night Out in Las Vegas, neighbors get to know each other while they enjoy the free music and food.

    The ways you can make your neighborhood safer
    National Night Out is a fun way to develop community camaraderie, but every day of the year is another opportunity to improve neighborhood safety.

    Take the initiative to introduce yourself to your neighbors. Discuss organizing a neighborhood watch or joining an existing neighborhood watch program . Invite law enforcement officers to give an informational talk to your neighborhood about safety.

    Find out who has surveillance cameras in the neighborhood, as these can help police officers solve crimes. Consider having your own security cameras installed—these are effective tools to stop crime before it occurs.

    For all of life’s medical emergencies, your family can count on the emergency care team at MountainView Hospital. We’re committed to making Las Vegas a safer, healthier and friendlier place to raise families. Life-threatening medical emergencies should be directed to a 911 dispatcher, but for non-emergent questions, you can speak with a registered nurse at any time by calling (702) 962-5021.

  • Understanding different types of UV rays and their effects on your skin

    The damage caused by unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays is a major risk factor of skin cancer . The sun emits three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB and UVC. You can learn about the differences of these rays when you watch this featured interview with a dermatologist who practices at MountainView Hospital. If you notice any skin abnormalities, you can count on our hospital in Las Vegas to get you an appointment right away.

    UVC rays
    UVC rays aren’t much of a concern for people, as they are absorbed by the atmosphere. Since the UVC rays emitted by the sun can’t reach people, they are an uncommon cause of skin cancer.

    It’s still possible to be exposed to UVC rays emitted from certain manmade objects, such as welding torches. UVC rays are also used in hospitals to sterilize medical equipment, as these rays are effective for inactivating viruses and bacteria.

    In past years, tanning beds emitted UVC rays. Although this is no longer the case, tanning beds aren’t any safer.

    UVA rays
    Ultraviolet A radiation is the primary type that reaches Earth’s surface. UVA rays have the longest wavelength, and they penetrate the skin effectively. They also penetrate through clouds and window glass, which is why it’s important to wear sunscreen even if it’s cloudy outdoors.

    UVA rays are capable of damaging keratinocytes, which are cells located in the epidermis. The epidermis is the outer layer of skin, where most skin cancers are found. In other words, UVA rays can cause life-threatening skin cancers.

    Since UVA rays are most responsible for tanning, they are the primary rays emitted by tanning beds and sunlamps. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation , people who use tanning beds are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, and 2.5 times more likely to be affected by squamous cell carcinoma. Furthermore, exposure to tanning beds in adolescence can raise the risk of deadly melanoma by up to 75 percent.

    UVB rays
    UVB rays have a shorter wavelength than UVA rays, which means they don’t penetrate the skin as deeply as UVA. Most of the damage inflicted by UVB rays is on the epidermis, which is why it’s the type primarily responsible for sunburn and skin reddening. Exposure to UVB rays is associated with a higher risk of skin cancer.

    The compassionate physicians and nurses at MountainView Hospital are your partners in health. We’re committed to building healthier families and communities in Las Vegas because our patients are also our neighbors. Call our nurse referral line at (702) 962-5021.

  • How does your diet affect your cancer care?

    Cancer affects virtually every aspect of a person’s life, including his or her diet. Cancer and cancer treatment can make it more difficult for you to eat the nutritious foods your body needs. It can also interfere with your body’s ability to use ingested nutrients. At MountainView Hospital, our oncology specialists are experts at finding creative solutions for each cancer patient’s unique challenges. We invite cancer patients, families and caregivers to attend our ongoing cancer education classes, and become empowered to live life well despite the diagnosis.

    Benefits of good nutrition during cancer care
    The side effects of cancer treatment can be difficult to cope with. Good nutrition might not banish side effects entirely, but it can help your body tolerate them more easily. Good nutrition during cancer care can also help you:

    • Maintain energy and fight fatigue
    • Feel better and stronger
    • Reduce your risk of infections
    • Support your body’s ability to heal

    Ways cancer can affect nutrition
    It’s possible for certain tumors to interfere with the way the body normally uses nutrients. Patients with tumors of the intestines or stomach are especially at risk of problems using proteins, carbohydrates and fats . When this happens, the patient can become malnourished, even if he or she thinks the food consumption is adequate.

    Other patients may find it difficult to maintain good nutrition because of the following:

    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Mouth sores
    • Dry mouth
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation
    • Pain
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Trouble swallowing
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Changes in taste or smell

    Tips for improving nutrition during cancer care
    You have a unique experience with cancer and its side effects. The most effective way to find solutions that work for you is to talk with your cancer care team. Treatments are available for many of the common symptoms of cancer and side effects of cancer treatments.

    Your doctor can also refer you to a nutritionist and give you some tips for maintaining good nutrition. These may include the following:

    • Choose high-calorie beverages
    • Eat smaller meals more frequently
    • Have nutritious, protein-packed snack foods readily available
    • Make meals with appealing smells and textures

    Remember that it’s possible for multivitamins and herbal supplements to interfere with your cancer treatment. Talk to your doctor before taking any dietary supplements during cancer treatment.

    MountainView Hospital is pleased to offer the superior cancer care and support services our patients deserve for the best possible outcome. Our hospital in Las Vegas maintains a serene, peaceful Oncology Unit, staffed by compassionate and highly trained specialists. Call (702) 962-5021 to request a referral.

  • How is the heat hard on your heart?

    The sunny Las Vegas summers can be particularly challenging for patients who have heart conditions, such as heart failure . Consider talking to a heart care specialist about your unique risk factors of heat-related complications, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. You’ll find exceptionally compassionate and skillful heart care specialists at MountainView Hospital because we are firmly committed to putting our patients first.

    How heat affects the body
    Your body maintains a safe internal temperature through sweating and blood circulation. Heat always flows toward cooler areas, which means your body radiates its own heat out into the air when the air is cooler. When the temperature outdoors is comparable to your body temperature, the heart has to work harder to increase blood circulation near the skin to cool the body.

    Sweating is another effective way to manage body temperature, but this process isn’t as effective on very humid days. Additionally, while sweat does remove body heat, it also removes essential minerals like potassium. People who have heart disease have a harder time coping with these changes.

    Why heat is problematic for heart disease patients
    There are several reasons why excessive heat and heart disease don’t mix well.

    Firstly, some of the medications heart disease patients may take can interfere with the body’s ability to cool itself. Diuretics can raise the risk of dehydration, and beta blockers can inhibit blood circulation by slowing the heartbeat. Of course, it’s important to continue taking medications as prescribed unless otherwise directed by a doctor.

    People who have suffered a heart attack have damaged heart muscle, which can prevent the heart from effectively pumping blood to get rid of heat. This process can be further compromised by arteries that are narrow and clogged with plaque.

    Patients who have heart failure or are at risk of it are at a higher risk of dehydration in hot, humid weather. They can suffer sudden drops in blood pressure, which may lead to dizziness and falls.

    MountainView Hospital is an accredited Chest Pain Center—a designation that reflects our enduring commitment to quality of care. Patients in Las Vegas who think they need emergency care are urged to call 911 without delay. Non-emergent questions about our heart care services can be directed to a registered nurse at (702) 962-5021.

  • Is breastfeeding right for you?

    As an expecting mom, you’ll undoubtedly hear all sorts of well-intentioned advice from relatives and friends. But their experiences won’t be quite like yours, and only you can decide if breastfeeding is right for you and your baby. At MountainView Hospital, we offer the extensive support services that expecting and new mothers need, regardless of whether they choose breast or bottle feeding.

    Identifying the benefits of breastfeeding
    Consider the benefits of breastfeeding when deciding whether to give it a try. Breastfeeding may lower the risk of certain medical problems for both you and your baby, including your risk of breast cancer and your baby’s risk of asthma. In addition to these long-term health benefits, there are some short-term advantages to consider.

    Breast milk is:

    • Inexpensive compared to formula
    • Always available when baby is hungry
    • Already at the right temperature
    • Environmentally friendly—no discarded formula packaging
    • Easier than sterilizing countless bottles

    Your baby will grow up faster than you think. If you do choose to breastfeed, you’ll appreciate sharing this amazing bonding experience with him or her.

    Addressing common breastfeeding concerns and obstacles
    Some people are planners, and others prefer to figure things out as they go along. If you’re a planner, you may find it helpful to learn about common breastfeeding problems and solutions before you make your decision. Here’s a quick look at some of the issues breastfeeding moms encounter:

    • Clothes: Must be breastfeeding-friendly
    • Latching on: Must be done properly to prevent nipple pain
    • Milk composition: Changes throughout feeding. Offer both breasts each time. Alternate the breast the baby starts with.
    • Engorgement: Relieved with frequent feedings, sometimes manual expression as needed.
    • Medications: May pass into breast milk. Consult a doctor.
    • Illness: Can breastfeed while sick.
    • Leaky nipples: Use nursing pads.

    Giving breastfeeding a try
    It’s alright if you haven’t made your decision by the time your due date arrives. You can give breastfeeding a try, talk to the lactation consultant and then make your decision. It’s much easier to transition from breast to bottle than vice versa.

    MountainView Hospital firmly believes in giving new moms and their families the best of care, along with the support services they need to confidently welcome their babies into the world. We invite expecting parents to join us for a free, comprehensive breastfeeding class, which is offered at regular intervals at our hospital. We’re here for you, and you can speak with a registered nurse at any time by calling (702) 962-5021.