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Survivor’s Day – A Celebration of Life

You and your family are invited to enjoy lawn games, snacks, ice cream, live music and socializing in the company of fellow cancer survivors. A splash pad is available as well for kids to enjoy! We hope to see you there and look forward to celebrating YOU.

Sunday, June 4, 2017
1 – 3 p.m.
Guthridge Park – Red Pavilion
704 Emmons Street | Hiawatha, IA

RSVP by Wednesday, May 31 to

The Nassif Community Cancer Center offers alternative support groups

New offerings at the Community Cancer Center includes art events, horticultural sessions and survivor’s day. Click here to see an explanation of our alternative support groups explained by Kimberly Ivester on KCRG.

Cancer survivor finds time to relax with his daughter

Jakub enjoys the 1:1 art session the Nassif Community Cancer Center offers.

“We liked it very much. To me it was beyond just doing a new form of art, but being with great people. Petra loved it,” said Jakub.

Click here to the see his story on KCRG. Please contact if you are a cancer survivor and interested in a 1:1 art session.

Jakub and Petra work with Deb from DKW Art Gallery and Studios in Marion on learning how to basket weave.

Individual creative art session enhances quality of life for cancer patient

I had SO much fun yesterday!!! It was wonderful to just sit and let the creative part of my brain take over for awhile! And Deb and Cindy were absolutely delightful. I’m not a particularly good visual artist, but I had a great time and it was very relaxing. Definitely good for my mental health!  I really appreciate how much the Cancer Center does to enhance quality of life for cancer survivors.  Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this!



Details about the program:

An artist works with individuals according to their abilities. The artists assists the patient by selection of paints and suggestion as to what type of application to use. Subject matter was sometimes suggested but it all depended on the imagination and desire. Very little constraints were placed on what or how the painting/art medium progressed. The artist only stepped in if too many colors were being muddled. Music, live or recorded, was played during the creation process to further relax the patient and to encourage free thought and expression. The patient would then “sign” the painting, preferably in the lower right corner. It’s a unique opportunity to create something beautiful. Please call (319) 369-8100 (or email if you are a cancer survivor and interested in signing up for a 1 on 1 creative art session.

What can I do about my sleep problems?

What are caregiver sleep problems?

Sleep problems include insomnia (the inability to fall or stay asleep), hypersomnia (problems staying awake), and poor quality sleep. Sleep problems can change the way you think and feel. If you haven’t had a good night’s sleep, you may feel tired, irritable, and/or jittery. You may not feel like doing anything—even things that are usually enjoyable.

Caregivers often have sleep problems. You may be getting up during the night to help the patient. Or, you may be staying up late to get things done. Depression, anxiety or fatigue from caregiving can cause sleep problems.

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What can I do about my sleep problems?

Here are tips for getting a good night sleep:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  • Use your bed for sleeping only. Don’t watch TV, read, or pay bills in bed.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, comfortable, and at a consistent temperature. Try a radio, fan, or mood music to filter out noises.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal right before bed. If you are hungry at night, try a light snack with warm milk.
  • Get help with caregiving.
  • Get exercise during the day (but not right before bed).
  • Take a warm bath an hour before going to bed.
  • Try to deal with problems or worries during the day, and set them aside when you go to bed.
  • Avoid tobacco. Nicotine is a stimulant.
  • Avoid caffeine after 3 pm, including coffee, colas, black teas, and chocolate.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
  • Try relaxation exercises or meditation before bed.
  • Ask others to avoid calling when you’re usually asleep unless it’s an emergency.
  • Ask someone to give you a backrub or foot massage at the end of the day.
  • If sleep medications are prescribed, follow directions carefully.

Here are some additional tips if you are sleeping too much (more than 12 hours per day):

  • Avoid boredom. Distract yourself with hobbies or other activities when you feel sleepy during the day.
  • Avoid sweets.
  • Avoid peanuts and dairy products, which can make you sluggish.
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When should I talk to my doctor about my sleep problems?

Talk to your doctor if you have:

  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Confusion on waking
  • Depression
  • Frequent waking during the night
  • Inability to get back to sleep after waking
  • Inability to carry out daily activities
  • Sleep problems lasting longer than three weeks
  • Overuse of sleep medication

Complete article comes from Help for Cancer Caregivers.  

Grilled Portabella Sandwich


  • 4 (3-inch) portabella mushrooms, stems removed and cleaned with damp paper towel
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 focaccia rolls, split in half
  • 4 tablespoons soft spreadable herb-seasoned cheese such as Boursin (available in the fine cheese section of Walmart or Hy-Vee)
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/4 cup sliced roasted red peppers, drained (from a 12-ounce jar)


  1. Heat grill pan over medium heat.  Brush portabellas with olive oil.  Grill until tender, about 3 minutes per side.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon herb-seasoned spread on each focaccia roll. Place 1 grilled portabella mushroom, 1 slice mozzerella cheese and ¼ of the roasted red peppers inside each roll.  Serve immediately.


  • Recipe provided by Judy Barbe, R.D., and author of Your 6-Week Guide to Live Best, Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.

Mushroom Spinach Frittata

  • Makes: 8
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 1 hr. 28 mins
  • Start to Finish: less than 1 hour and 45 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 large baking potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Swiss cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt half the butter and half the oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in thyme. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  3. Return empty pan to heat; add remaining butter and oil. Cook potatoes and sauté them until cooked through, turning often, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
  4. Return mushrooms to pan.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, then stir in the ricotta, Swiss, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and basil. Sprinkle on the flour and baking powder and stir into the egg mixture.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and place the pan  in the center of the oven.
  7. Bake the frittata until it is browned and puffed, 50 minutes to 1 hour. It will be rounded and firm in the middle and a knife inserted in the frittata should come out clean.


  • Recipe provided by Judy Barbe, R.D., and author of Your 6-Week Guide to Live Best, Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.

Nutrition Information

Per serving: 218 kcal cal., 12 g fat (5 g sat. fat), 311 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 13 g protein

Mad for Mushrooms

There are probably not many fungi you can feel so good about munching as the humble mushroom. Often considered a vegetable, mushrooms can easily transition from a salad bowl to a hamburger bun. In recent years, scientists have taken a growing interest in the potential health benefits of mushrooms. Research is now revealing that familiar mushrooms contain compounds that may help treat and prevent cancer, along with other chronic diseases.

This article comes from the American Institute for Cancer Research. 

Not a Plant… not an animal…

For years mushrooms were categorized as a type of plant. With the discovery of the microscope, scientists discovered mushrooms share features of both animals and plants and a new kingdom was born: Fungi.

Mushrooms are a bountiful lot: there are an estimated 25,000 types. Some are poisonous, and others are simply not appetizing. Yet that leaves numerous edible and tasty varieties. The most popular mushroom by far in the United States is the white button (right), which accounts for almost 90 percent of all mushroom production. Much of the growth of mushroom consumption is in the more exotic varieties, such as portabella, shiitake and cremini. Then there are the mushrooms that are rare delicacies. The truffle (not the chocolate treat) is so prized it sells for between $300 and $500 per pound.

The Edible and Medical

Mushrooms are a good source of several B vitamins and essential minerals, such as potassium and selenium. Containing mostly water, they are low in calories and fat.

For thousands of years, Asian cultures have used mushrooms both as a food and medicine. Yet it is the common dietary varieties (see chart below) of mushrooms that have yielded intriguing health-related findings in recent years.

For example, mushrooms are relatively high in selenium, a mineral that studies have shown may help lower the risk of prostate cancer. One such long-term study found that men with the highest selenium levels were 48 percent less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer than men with the lowest levels. Preliminary research has also found associations between high selenium intake and reduced risk of colon and stomach cancer.

In 2005, researchers analyzing six mushroom varieties found they are rich in dietary fibers associated with lowering cholesterol and improving heart health. That same year, food scientists at Pennsylvania State University found that mushrooms are a better source of the antioxidant ergothioneine (pronounced erg-o-thigh-o-nine) than the two dietary sources previously evaluated as highest: chicken liver and wheat germ. Antioxidants can bind to reactive oxygen molecules and prevent the oxygen from inflicting DNA damage than can lead to cancer and other diseases. White button mushrooms contain about 12 times more ergothioneine than wheat germ and 4 times more than chicken liver. Portobello, crimini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms contain even more of the antioxidant.

White Buttons for Health

Recent research at the Beckman Research Institute’s City of has led to promising anti-cancer properties of the most popular mushroom, the white button. Funded by an AICR grant, researchers found the white button suppressed the production of aromatase, a substance that fuels production of the hormone estrogen. High levels of estrogen are associated with increased risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Follow-up lab research showed that shiitake, portabello, crimini and baby button mushrooms also inhibited aromatase activity.

In addition to the aromatase-inhibiting properties of the mushrooms, the researchers found that mushrooms lead to suppressing an enzyme that plays a role in the development of prostate cancer. With another grant from AICR, researchers are in the process of testing how different dosages of white buttons may slow prostate tumors in mice.

Ongoing Research

The numerous beneficial compounds in mushrooms are leading researchers down a variety of avenues. A major focus of past research that is under continued investigation relates to a type of carbohydrate in mushrooms, which studies have shown may slow growths that could become cancerous. Studies are looking into how mushrooms can aid cancer treatments by strengthening the immune system, lead to the death of cancerous cells and prevent these cells from forming in the first place.

As researchers continue to unravel the health benefits of these fungi, you can simply enjoy mushrooms for their taste and not focus on the hearty supply of nutrients and other protective compounds they contain.

Here is a chart from the NIH (National Institute of Health) with a list of more exotic mushrooms that have anticancer potential.

Where can you find these mushrooms?

They can be purchased online; usually in the dried form. Some local grocery stores will carry them fresh in season but may also carry the dried or jar form.  I have purchased dried mushrooms (variety pack) here in some of the Hy-Vee stores.

Dried Morel mushrooms deliciously pair with cream and white wine sauces. You can add them to veal, chicken, vegetarian, egg, and other gourmet dishes.

Morel mushrooms are excellent in wine, cream, and white sauces for pasta, chicken, veal, fish and vegetarian dishes. They’re also delicious in egg dishes, creamy soups, and other gourmet fare. Nutty, earthy, and smoky, dried Morel mushrooms have a more intense flavor than fresh.

Click here for some other recipe ideas that aren’t just for Spring!



GROW Happy – Horticultural Healing – Sign up!!

An endearing thank you to the Radiation staff from a grateful patient!

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