Meet Your Team: Virginia Hill, LCSW, LICSW, OSW-C

Virginia earned her masters degree in social work from Portland State University and has been a licensed clinical social worker for more than 20 years focusing on counseling and medical social work. Her goal is to ease her patients and their families’ journey through challenging times by providing them with both emotional and practical support. Virginia sees patients at the Compass Vancouver location. To schedule an appointment please call, 360.773.8630. 

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Categories: Meet Your Team

Meet Your Team: Michelle Vieira, MSW

Michelle has been in the medical social work field for over 4 years, with experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She earned her masters degree in social work with a clinical concentration in mental health from Boston College. Her goal is to provide support to patients, families, and caregivers as they navigate cancer by offering practical resources, referrals, and counseling. 

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Meet Your Team: Jamie Newell, MSW, LCSW

“I am so moved by the grace and strength, as well as the vulnerability, that people have in dealing with this foreign world of cancer treatment. It’s an honor to be able to support them through this time.”

Jamie Newell is an oncology social worker and helps lead program development of Compass palliative care services. The program’s goal is to help patients and their loved ones live well with cancer through additional symptom management and support.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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Categories: Cancer Prevention, Skin 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.

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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.

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Categories: Cancer Prevention, Cancer Risk