New service may help cancer patients keep their hair

New service may help cancer patients keep their hair

Inner cooling cap (right) and outer cap cover (left).

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is proud to announce the newest addition to Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, the Paxman Scalp Cooling System. Available to patients receiving chemotherapy treatments for solid tumor cancer, our goal is to help our patients look and feel their best while fighting a difficult battle.

What is Paxman Scalp Cooling?

Chemotherapy drugs used to treat solid tumor cancer work by targeting all of the body’s rapidly dividing cells. Since hair is the second fastest dividing cell in the body, hair-loss is an inevitable side effect of chemotherapy. Paxman Scalp Cooling is a procedure that works to prevent hair-loss caused by certain chemotherapy drugs.


How does it work?

Administered through an inner and outer scalp cap during each chemotherapy treatment, Paxman technology lowers the temperature of the scalp by a few degrees before, during, and after treatment. As a result, the three-stage cooling process reduces the blood flow to the hair follicles, minimizing hair loss.

Three-stage scalp cooling process

Is scalp cooling right for me?

When considering a new treatment, patients should evaluate the risks and benefits with their doctor. Paxman Scalp Cooling is not recommended for patients with: 

  • An existing history or presence of scalp metastasis 
  • Cancers of the head and neck
  • CNS malignancies 
  • Cold sensitivity 
  • Hematological malignancies 
  • Imminent bone marrow ablation chemotherapy 
  • Previously received, scheduled, or imminent skull irradiation 
  • Severe liver or renal disease 
  • Skin cancers
  • Small cell carcinoma of the lung 
  • Solid tumors that have a high likelihood for metastasis in transit 
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the lung


How do I get started?

If you have questions or would like to learn more about Paxman Scalp Cooling treatments, call Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center at (828) 262-4332 or visit



Multiple agencies respond to Watauga Medical Center air conditioner outage

Multiple agencies respond to Watauga Medical Center air conditioner outage

Photo: Watauga Medical CenterAppalachian Regional Healthcare System would like to thank the following people and agencies for their help in restoring the air conditioning systems at Watauga Medical Center during the week of July 8. Through their heroic efforts we were able to resume normal operations within one day. We are so grateful for your expedient and thorough response!

Additionally, we are appreciative for the patients, visitors and family members who were so patient and understanding throughout the process.

Lastly, we are incredibly grateful to our employees, staff, clinicians and medical providers who stepped forward in a time of crisis to ensure the comfort and safety of patients.


Thank you!

  • Avery County Emergency Management
  • Caldwell County Emergency Management
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Emergency Management
  • Davie County Emergency Management
  • North Carolina Emergency Management
  • Watauga County Emergency Management
  • Blowing Rock Police Department
  • Boone Fire Department
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Fire Department
  • Triad State Medical Assistance Team (SMAT)
  • Wake Forest Baptist Health
  • Samaritan’s Purse
  • Hoffman & Hoffman
  • HTI Technology
  • Humphrey Masonry Supply
  • MSS Solutions
  • Patients, Visitors and Family Members
  • ARHS Healthcare Professionals
Frequently Asked Questions | Cannon Memorial Hospital Expansion

Frequently Asked Questions | Cannon Memorial Hospital Expansion

Photo: CMH Acute Care Addition Drawing 2ARHS-funded renovations are underway to create a new 8-bed medical acute care unit, followed by grant-funded renovations for an additional 27 behavioral health inpatient beds at Cannon Memorial Hospital (CMH). We want to keep the community informed during and after the renovations. Review the Frequently Asked Questions below, and if you have any further questions, feel free to contact us directly.


How does the lack of psychiatric beds affect the High Country?


Each year Cannon Memorial Hospital’s (CMH) 10-bed behavioral health unit receives over 5,000 referrals, but we are only able to admit approximately 500 patients.  While all of those referrals are not from the High Country exclusively, it clearly paints a picture of a gap across the state of North Carolina relative to inpatient psychiatric care.

How does the lack of psychiatric beds affect Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital?


A delay in accessing behavioral health treatment creates longer wait times in emergency departments for psychiatric and non-psychiatric patients alike. The average length of stay or wait time to find appropriate treatment options for behavioral health patients is 16 hours at Watauga Medical Center and 18 hours at Cannon Memorial Hospital.

The inpatient behavioral health unit at CMH is the only one within a 40 mile radius. Treatment options for behavioral health patients are often far from home, community resources and social supports which make the recovery process much more challenging.

How will the expansion of behavioral health beds at CMH help the community?


By expanding the number of behavioral health beds available within the High Country, our healthcare system will provide more opportunity for High Country residents to receive treatment close to home. The additional beds will also streamline the referral process and decrease the wait time for behavioral health patients that visit our emergency rooms.

Will CMH still accept all types of hospital patients, or only accept behavioral health patients?


Although the expansion is focused on behavioral health, Cannon Memorial Hospital will meet the medical needs of the community by continuing to operate as a Critical Access Hospital. All services that are currently available will continue – inpatient medical care, Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Cardiovascular Services, Emergency Services, Imaging and Lab Services, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Surgical Services, and more.

What type of behavioral health patients will CMH accept? What measures are being taken to ensure the patients and community are safe? 


We will provide a wide array of Behavioral Health Services within our community. Our inpatient services will be housed in a secure setting where patients can receive high quality behavioral health care. Our behavioral health patients are also our community members – friends, neighbors, and family members who, at any given time, may be having a hard time coping with circumstances in their lives and need intervention. Cannon Memorial Hospital will provide a safe space for those who would otherwise have nowhere to go, or would have to travel a distance to find help. 

Why are there only 8 beds in the new inpatient medical wing? Will that meet the needs of our community for other things beside behavioral health?     


For the expansion, we based the number of inpatient beds on the average number of inpatients over the past 3-4 years. On any given day, we have an average of six patients in our medical beds. Eight is an optimal number based upon our admissions patterns.   

Latest Progress and News

Cannon Memorial Hospital Renovation and Expansion

Bladder Control Issues: A common problem that may be overlooked

Bladder Control Issues: A common problem that may be overlooked

Christopher Marinakis, MD, is a urologist at Boone Urology Center. His clinical focus includes complex stones, incontinence, pelvic floor therapy and BPH surgery. Learn more about Dr. Marinakis >

Bladder Control Issues ImageBladder control problems are more common than many realize. Many people assume that this is something they must live with, or is just a part of life. Even worse, many believe that nothing can be done to fix the problem except invasive, painful surgery. While it is true that incontinence predominantly impacts older adults, it is not a natural part of aging.  More women tend to be bothered by bladder control issues than men, but the underlying causes tend to be different. Your primary care provider (PCP) will often screen you for these conditions during your annual wellness visit, but occasionally this problem gets overlooked. There are solutions, and continual leakage is not something that one must live with.

Don’t suffer in silence. Discussing bladder control issues with your provider is the first step to regaining bladder control and improving your quality of life. Call Boone Urology at (828) 264-5150 and we can help answer any questions or concerns. 

What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)?

OAB is a constellation of symptoms that includes urinary frequency and urgency. Urge incontinence arises from being unable to control these factors and results in loss of bladder control. Factors that often go along with OAB include being female, post-menopausal, prior pelvic surgery, excessive fluid intake and caffeine intake. As with many health conditions, prevention is the best strategy. Maintaining a healthy weight and being active can help prevent bladder control issues.

Treatment options for overactive bladder

The first step in improving bladder control is to address this with your PCP. Often, symptoms can be controlled by changing behavior. Try reducing fluid intake, reducing or eliminating caffeine and doing “timed voiding,” which is a trick played on the bladder to empty it prior to the onset of “urgency.” For many, these steps are enough to regain bladder control.

If overactive bladder continues, there are several medications that can improve bladder control. For the patients that do not wish to take medication, or find them ineffective, more advanced treatments can dramatically improve bladder control and quality of life.

Your urologist may recommend sacral nerve stimulation, either with an implanted nerve stimulation device called Interstim, or with a noninvasive treatment called Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS). Interstim is an innovative technology that involves modulating nerve signals to and from the bladder. A simple office test can tell if you may benefit from the technology.

PTNS involves placing a tiny acupuncture needle adjacent to the ankle and connecting a small nerve stimulator to it for a 30-minute session. The treatments are done weekly for several months, and then performed periodically for maintenance of the treatment effect.

Botox is a drug that many associate with injections for facial wrinkles. The reason that it smooths out wrinkles is that it relaxes the muscle, smoothing out the overlying skin. Botox injections can be done in the Boone Urology Center office to relax the bladder muscle resulting in improved bladder control.

“I leak when I cough, sneeze, or exercise”

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is a condition that affects many women, particularly those that have had multiple vaginal child births. Women with SUI often void normally, but are bothered with the occasional loss of control with exertion. This robs many women of the ability to exercise, or to perform normal household activities. Occasionally, men are bothered with this condition following surgery for prostate cancer.

Treatment Options for Stress Urinary Incontinence

SUI occurs because the muscles that are involved with holding urine tend to become weak. Like any other muscle, this can often be improved with conditioning. Performing Kegel exercises, which involves contracting the muscles that you would use if you wanted to interrupt your urine flow, can improve bladder control. Like any exercise program, this requires some commitment and dedication. Just as having a personal trainer can improve strength training, physical therapists at The Rehabilitation Center can often improve success on pelvic floor therapy to improve bladder control.

Modern surgery for stress incontinence has evolved to minimally invasive, outpatient procedures with quick recovery. It no longer involves large incisions and extended recovery times. The surgery for stress incontinence is done through a ½ inch incision, takes about thirty minutes, and is highly successful.

For some women, SUI can be treated with a simple injection procedure where a drug is injected through a scope to “bulk” up the urethra.

For men that are bothered with SUI following prostate cancer surgery, sometimes simply a “tincture of time” can allow the body to recover naturally from surgery and improve bladder control. For others, implantation of an artificial urinary sphincter can often eliminate pad use.

Do you have bladder control concerns?

Boone Urology Center can help! Call us at (828) 264-5150 today!

Summer Health and Safety (with infographic)

Summer Health and Safety (with infographic)

With the summer season in full swing, most of us want to find as many reasons as we can to spend time outside. More time spent outside though can often mean more risk to our health and wellbeing. Avoid any possible trouble this season by safely preparing for the most common summertime health risks. 




In 2017, the National Safety Council reported that excessive heat exposure was the third leading cause of death due to weather related events. When experiencing excessive heat or heat stroke, symptoms aren’t always obvious. It is important to check in with yourself and others if you feel you may be at risk. 

Signs of a heat stroke or overexposure can include rapid breathing, headaches, dizziness, confusion, irrational behavior, convulsions, unresponsiveness, or a temperature above 103 degrees. Sweating usually stops and is replaced by skin that is flushed, dry and hot to the touch. 

Take immediate action if you or anyone you are with is experiencing signs of a heat stroke or overexposure. Call 911 right away then move the victim to a cool place. Remove unnecessary clothing and cool the victim by immersing their body up to the neck in cold water. If complete immersion isn’t possible, place the victim in a cold shower or cover as much of the body as possible with cold, wet towels. Keep cooling until the victim’s body temperature drops to 101 degrees. Continue to monitor the victim’s breathing and be ready to give CPR if needed. 

People who have more risk of experiencing heat stroke include infants and young children, people ages 65 and older, individuals who are overweight, and people who are ill, have chronic health conditions or are on certain medications. 


Each poison ivy leaf has three leaflets with either smooth or notched edges.

Poison Ivy Dermatitis 


Many people can agree that at some point in their life they have experienced or have come close to experiencing the effects of physical contact with poison ivy. According to Makisha Stamper, Practice Manager at AppUrgent Care, poison ivy dermatitis is the most common reason patients visit during the summer months. 

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Poison ivy dermatitis is easier to prevent than it is to treat. Recognizing and avoiding urushiol, poison ivy sap oil, is the most effective way to reduce the risk of coming into contact. It is important to avoid direct contact with the plant, indirect contact such as touching clothing or objects with urushiol on them, and inhalation of particles if the plant is being burned. If you are exposed to poison ivy, immediately wash skin using antibacterials and lots of water. Be sure to also remove and wash all clothing that may have been exposed. 

Symptoms of poison ivy dermatitis can include a red rash, swelling, itching, bumps, patches, streaking or weeping blisters. Severe itching can be relieved by applying wet compresses, using calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream, taking oatmeal baths, or using an antihistamine. In severe cases or if the rash is on the face or genitals, seek professional medical attention.  




When participating in outdoor activities this summer, insect repellent is something to always have with you. Various bugs, especially ticks and mosquitoes, can carry and spread diseases that can have lasting consequences. 

Depending on your location, mosquitoes can carry diseases such as the West Nile Virus, dengue, Zika, and malaria. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these illnesses can have severe consequences such as body aches, rash, fever, and even death. The CDC suggests using insect repellent, covering exposed skin, and avoiding bugs where you are staying in order to prevent mosquito bites. 

Diseases caused by ticks are most often found in people returning from an outdoor activity. Although there is no vaccine in the United States to prevent illnesses spread by ticks, there are steps you can take to prevent the risk of being bitten. The CDC suggests people dress appropriately, use insect repellent that contains at least 20% DEET, treat clothing and gear in permethrin, and stay out of heavily wooded areas. Be sure to check your body for ticks after each outdoor adventure. 




During the summer months, there is in increase in the number of ATV, biking, horseback riding, motorcycle and car accidents according to Cindy Hinshaw, RN, Director of Emergency Services for Watauga Medical Center and Canon Memorial Hospital. When traveling or riding this summer, be sure to wear a helmet and appropriate gear, follow traffic rules, drive or ride defensively, be well rested and don’t drive or ride while impaired. 




Whether going for a swim in a pool or a nearby river, it is important to understand how to protect yourself and avoid injuries. According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 1-4 years old. In order to avoid any water related accidents, there are ten rules every swimmer should follow. 

  1. Learn to swim. 
  2. Swim with a friend. 
  3. Know your limits. 
  4. Swim in supervised areas only. 
  5. Wear a life jacket when boating. 
  6. Stay alert to currents. 
  7. Keep an eye on the weather. 
  8. Don’t play roughly while in the water. 
  9. Don’t dive into shallow water. 
  10. Don’t float where you can’t swim. 

When swimming outdoors, it is very important to wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn or skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, swimmers should apply a Broad Spectrum Water Resistant SPF of 30 or higher 30 minutes before getting in the water. Reapply every two hours after swimming or sweating.  

As always, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room. For emergencies that are non-life threatening, visit AppUrgent Care or Baker Center Walk-in Clinic. Happy Summer!

Click to download or print the infographic ▶︎

Infographic: Summer Health & Safety


Roger’s Reason: Finding purpose in volunteering

Roger’s Reason: Finding purpose in volunteering

By Kathryn Hackenholt-Wrenn

From the very beginning, Roger Mashke has always had a knack for interacting with and helping people. Whether it was running a successful television business or working as a volunteer firefighter, leaving a positive impact on another individual has always been his main source of motivation. That’s why when given the opportunity to volunteer for Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital, he knew it was what he wanted to do. Four years later, Mashke is still one of the most dedicated volunteers we have at Cannon Memorial Hospital and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) as a whole. 

Roger began his career as an employee for his father’s television servicing company, the first ever television company to be opened in western New York. At just sixteen years old, he was taking service calls and learning to fix TVs. From there, he went on to join the army and worked with electronics and in the lab at the Utah base where he was stationed. After his time in the army, he moved to Florida with his wife, Barbara, to continue his work in electronics and sales by opening his very own Radio Shack franchise which he would own for the next thirty years. 

Roger and Barbara met while in high school. After five years together, they tied the knot and began their sixty-year marriage. “She was a red-headed Irish girl. We got along great. We are lucky we never fought,” says Roger. 

Together the couple raised four kids, two boys and two girls. While raising four kids full time, Barbara also worked as a dental assistant. Between the two of them, Roger and Barbara were able to provide themselves and their kids with a comfortable and happy life full of adventures and worthwhile experiences. 

Six years ago though, Roger got the shock of his life. He was told his wife, Barbara, had suffered a stroke and was not expected to live. The providers at Cannon Memorial Hospital assured Roger that they were going to do everything they could to save Barbara’s life, and that is exactly what they did. Not only did they save Barbara’s life, Roger and Barbara enjoyed three more happy years of marriage they never expected they would have. After her severe stroke, Barbara spent three years in long-term care at Life Care Center before she passed.  

After being given the lifesaving care Roger’s wife needed, mixed with his love for interacting with others, volunteering for Cannon was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. 

“I was looking to volunteer and they had been saying they needed one here for about three months. I figured, ‘well, why not,’” says Mashke. 

To this day, you can find Roger volunteering at the Cannon Memorial Hospital gift shop. His volunteer position gives him the ability to continue doing what he loves while making a difference whether it be big or small. 

“I like being involved. I like meeting people. Volunteering gives me some purpose. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning and get my butt going,” says Mashke. 

Want to become an ARHS volunteer? 

Volunteers are valued members of the ARHS patient care team and are always welcome at Cannon Memorial Hospital, Watauga Medical Center and several administrative offices within the healthcare system. Schedules are flexible and there are a variety of work areas available including our pet therapy program (PAWS), our cancer center, human resources, and more. 

Volunteer Requirements

All volunteers must meet the following criteria before they are able to serve: 

  • Minimum age of 14
  • Attend hospital orientation
  • Receive a TB test 
  • Complete a competency test 

Click here for more information.