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Walla Walla General Hospital has been offering its community service INK-OUT program for about a year-and-a-half to remove tattoos for people formerly involved in gangs or drugs who wanted to reverse their lifestyles.

Now, Q-Plus C laser technology is available for removing unwanted tattoos for anyone. The equipment uses a laser that passes through the surface of the skin and breaks up the ink to form tiny particles, which are then carried away by the skin’s own immune cells, leaving little to no scarring.

The number of treatments and the cost vary, depending on the size and color of the tattoo, but the hospital does offer free estimates and custom tattoo-removal plans. In general, if the tattoo fits within the size of a standard business card, each treatment will cost $50.

Other Medical Spa Procedures at WWGH include laser hair-removal and microdermabrasion.

Gift certificates are available, and if you would like to give the gift of tattoo removal this holiday, pick up a tattoo-removal gift card from the Walla Walla General Hospital Medical Pavilion, 19 Southpoint Lane in Walla Walla, or call 509-527-8356 for more information.

Genomic Testing

at Providence St. Mary

When tackling cancer, the focus of patients, as well as that of the treatments offered, usually tends to be on the location of the tumor — lung cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer — but research suggests the genetic makeup of a tumor may better indicate the best treatment.

Unfortunately, so far there has been no way to do genomic sequencing on a mass scale to build information about each specific type of tumor. Now there is, and Providence St. Mary is a part of it.

Providence Health and Services recently formed a relationship with the Can Soon-Shion Institute of Molecular Medicine to create a clinical network for whole genomic sequencing. The technology gives a comprehensive view of each patient’s disease and enables medical practitioners to base treatments on the exact type and genetic mapping of the tumor. One genomic sample can help inform treatment options for other patients with similar tumors.

In Walla Walla, the St. Mary Regional Cancer Center has begun offering the test to some patients with advanced-stage cancer. Officials said they believe they will eventually be able to expand offering the test to nearly every cancer patient.

The new test could mean reducing the “one-size-fits-all” treatment of a particular tumor — which led to treatments like chemotherapy that kills healthy and tumorous cells — and replacing it with targeted therapies and treatments.

WWGH Expands Cardiology Program

Walla Walla General Hospital has added an additional cardiologist to its cardiology program, which means it can now provide 24/7 local emergency-care for heart attacks. 

A previous expansion of the program allowed for 24-hour coverage five days a week, with patients transferring to the Tri-Cities during those coverage-gap periods. But, the problem was, the longer the wait between symptoms and treatment, the higher the risk of serious heart damage — or death.

WWGH’s cardiac-care program includes a cardiologist office on the hospital campus, the Chest Pain Center and Cardiac Cath Lab located in the emergency room, diagnostic testing services and a cardiac rehabilitation program.

The new cardiologist will start next month.

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