Meet Your Team: Heather Wood, RN, BSN, OCN

“The most important thing our patients need to know is they are going to be taken care of. We’re their team. We’re their people and we’re going to get them through this.”

Heather Wood has been an oncology nurse since 2009. She knows firsthand the life-changing impact of cancer on both patients and their families, having gone through treatment with her mom, a breast cancer survivor.

Read More

Categories: Meet Your Team

What is Inflammatory Breast Cancer?

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer. Accounting for less than 5% of all breast cancer diagnoses, the cancer forms in the cells that line the breasts’ milk ducts, but quickly spreads to nearby lymph nodes and sometimes other tissues in the body. The cancer is called “inflammatory” because the cancer cells usually block the lymph vessels in the breast. This causes fluid to build up, which leads to inflammation that is usually red and tender.

How is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Different than Typical Breast Cancers?

Compared to slower-growing forms of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer progresses and spreads through the body quickly – sometimes in a matter of weeks.

Read More

Categories: Breast Cancer

Compass Radiation Oncologist Co-authors Article

Compass Oncology's Dr. Ravi Chandra is co-author of a cancer research article about the enhancement of drug delivery to tumors.

The article is published on ScienceMag.org.

Culling cancer by vacating the vasculature

Although it is important for blood vessels to maintain barrier function under most conditions, in cancer therapy, vascular permeability enhances drug delivery to tumors. Miller et al. used intravital microscopy and computational modeling to show that a single, low dose of radiation therapy could induce transient, dynamic, and localized vascular “bursting”—increased permeability, coinciding with extravasation of fluid, cells, and nanoparticles from blood vessels in tumors. Along with vascular bursting, radiation enlarged blood vessel volume and the number of tumor-associated macrophages in mouse xenografts and patient tumor biopsies. These tumor-associated macrophages took up drug-laden nanoparticles, inducing greater drug delivery to tumors. This study demonstrates an alternative strategy for improving targeted nanotherapy delivery by modifying the local tumor microenvironment rather than the nanoparticle itself.

Read More

Categories: Cancer Research, Cancer Treatment

Radiation Oncology Questions Answered by Ravi Chandra, MD, PhD

In my first of an occasional series of Blog posts, I wanted to take a few moments to answer questions that frequently arise for patients referred for radiation therapy.

What is radiation and how does it work?
Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. Precisely focused X-rays damage the DNA inside cancer cells causing them to die, either right away or when they try to grow. There are even new data suggesting that radiation may help the body’s immune system (the same system that fights infections) attack cancers. Cancers in any part of the body can be treated, and in any age patient.

Read More

Categories: Radiation Oncology

Could Your Skincare Products Make You More Prone to Sunburns?

Male or female, young or young at heart, if you use skincare products it’s safe to assume you’re committed to keeping your skin healthy and attractive. However, some of the products you rely on to achieve those goals may actually increase your risk of sunburn – which can put you at a greater risk of developing skin cancer. It can also make your skin show more wrinkles, sunspots and other signs of premature aging.

Four Products That Can Cause Sun Sensitivity

Below are four types of products you may be using that are known to cause sun sensitivity and could increase your likelihood of sunburn, especially if you’re not using SPF.
Read More

Categories: Cancer Prevention, Skin Cancer

World No Tobacco Day - 5 Helpful Tips for Tobacco Users to Reduce Lung Cancer Risk

The Compass Oncology lung cancer specialists encourage everyone to take a moment on May 31st to observe the World Health Organization’s “World No Tobacco Day.” This day focuses on the health risks of tobacco use, including smoking, as a part of our practice’s efforts to reduce the number of lung cancer cases diagnosed each year. According to the National Cancer Institute, that’s close to 700 cases each year in the Portland-Vancouver area[1].

Read More

Categories: Cancer Prevention, Cancer Risk, Lung Cancer

What You Should Know About Participating in a Cancer Clinical Trial

Learning you have cancer, or that cancer has returned, is shocking news. After you begin to wrap your mind around it your main focus is probably, “How can I beat this?” In most situations your oncologist begins treatments using established, proven cancer treatment protocols based on the specific type of cancer you have been diagnosed with. For some people, the most commonly effective cancer treatments don't work as expected, and in these cases your cancer specialist may recommend enrolling in a cancer clinical trial. Should you do this? Find out more about cancer research done right in your community.

Read More

Categories: Cancer Research

Alcohol and Its Link to Cancer

It's fairly common knowledge that an occasional glass of red wine has been shown to boost heart health. Even beer has been linked to "some benefit against cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. And, at least one study from by the European Journal of Cancer Prevention suggests alcohol could reduce the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma.

Before you pop a cork or tab and say, "Cheers, I'll drink to that!" there are risks you should be aware of. A growing body of evidence suggests a worrisome link between alcohol consumption and certain types of cancers.

Read More

Categories: Cancer Prevention, Cancer Risk

Meet Your Team: Becky Clark, MS, CGC

“What I love about genetics is that it can be translated to help people. With what we now know about hereditary cancers, we can prevent, we can screen and we can be more empowered.”

Becky Clark is a genetic counselor with the Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing program. She strives to be a guide and educator to her patients, to collect information about their personal and family histories and help them understand how that information may contribute to their cancer risk.

Read More

Categories: Meet Your Team

Meet Your Team: Andrea Hamilton, MS, RDN, LD

“It’s so meaningful when a patient who is struggling leaves feeling happy and hopeful, empowered to try the strategies we’ve talked about. I’m honored to share these moments with them.”

Andrea Hamilton is a registered dietitian and an important part of Compass Oncology’s care team. Staying well nourished during treatment provides the energy needed to fight the cancer. Often that’s easier said than done. 

Read More

Categories: Meet Your Team