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“The Wave of the Future for Cancer Care:” An Amazing Treatment

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in South Carolina. Our state ranks third in the nation for prostate cancer deaths. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.

Now, a new treatment is prolonging life for men who have prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Lexington Medical Center has begun using a first-of-its-kind treatment known as Provenge to treat these men.

Provenge works by using the patient’s own blood cells to help fight the cancer.

“It’s a way to stimulate the body’s immune system to fight cancer,” said Dr. Steve Madden, oncologist at Lexington Oncology Associates, a physician practice that’s part of Lexington Medical Center.

Here is a video from the Provenge website.

Provenge requires a several step process. First, clinicians withdraw some immune cells from the patient’s blood. Second, the cells undergo a process where white blood cells – which contain immunity cells – are incubated in a lab with antigens (proteins) that stimulate the cells to fight against prostate cancer. Finally, the cells are infused back into the patient.

So far, Provenge has been shown to be successful in prolonging life for patients with metastasized prostate cancer. Studies have shown that Provenge can extend the average life span to more than two years. That’s good news. Once prostate cancer has spread, it often goes to the bones and lymph nodes, which can be deadly.

In theory, doctors say you could use the same kind of process for other types of cancer in the future. Provenge is FDA approved and covered by Medicare.

LMC: A Green Giant Taking Care of Patients and Mother Earth

Lexington Medical Center is hosting several activities and events to commemorate Earth Day this Friday, April 22.

Pickney Produce, a local farm cooperative, will be on hand with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Nan Faile, a member of the hospital’s clinical staff, will lead an education session on the importance of earth worms in gardens and how to start an earth worm farm.

Accounting will sign up employees for electronic payroll vouchers, which will reduce the amount of paper the hospital uses.

There will be drawings for prizes ranging from fruit trees, flowers and hanging potted plants to memberships to environmentally friendly organizations.

Lexington Medical Center has always been a leader in environmentally friendly programs.

The hospital is home to the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certified medical office building. Lexington Medical Park 2 was built with eco friendly features. In addition, the hospital has an extensive recycling program, recycling more than 2 million pounds of municipal and construction debris each year, saving thousands of cubic yards of landfill space. Also, the hospital has about 80 employees who carpool and other employees telecommute from home.

The hospital has received accolades for an environmentally innovative program for wrapping surgical equipment. The Sterile Processing department eliminated paper blue wrap by replacing it with reusable containers. This project alone saved 63 trees in its first year.

Lexington Medical Center has also earned numerous honors for its environmental effors from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

For more information about our “Green Giants,” click here.

Blanket Study Receives Warm Welcome

Faye Baker and Lori Sutton

LMC Perianesthesia nurses Faye Baker and Lori Sutton have received prestigious recognition for a blanket study they completed in the PACU of the Perioperative department. The nurses were honored for Outstanding Podium Presentation at the Mary Ann Parsons Lectureship sponsored by the University of South Carolina and the Alpha Xi chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. Judges said their work was a perfect example of the excellent research that nurses can do.

Baker and Sutton’s research focused on the temperatures of blankets warmed for patients after surgery. Regulations from the Emergency Care Research Institute said the blankets had to be set at 110 degrees. But the nurses noticed that patients were still cold with 110 degree blankets, and that even at 110 degrees, the blankets felt like room temperature.

“Sometimes I would hear nurses tell patients ‘I’m sorry it’s not very warm’ before covering a patient with a 110 degree blanket,” Sutton said.

In comparison, clothes that are fresh out of a dryer are at 200 degrees.

Sutton and Baker wanted to see if blankets warmed to 155 degrees instead of 110 would provide more thermal comfort while still maintaining patient safety. After going through the proper channels to receive permission, they enrolled 156 consenting patients in a study. Over the course of six weeks, some of the patients received 110 degree blankets while others received 155 degree blankets.

The result? Patients with the 155 degree blankets had a 1 to 2 degree warmer skin temperature and reported a higher level of comfort than the patients with the 110 degree blankets.

“When you put a 155 blanket on a patient, they say ‘Oohhh, thank you so much,’” Baker said.

The nurses will present their study at the South Carolina Nursing Excellence Conference. And, they have been accepted for both podium and poster presentations at the national convention for the American Society of Perianesthesia Nurses in Seattle this month.

“We would love to see more nurses involved in research,” Baker said. “We researched and proved through testing that the warmer blankets are safe and more comforting to patients.”