Meet Your Team: Nora Larson, MSW, CSWA, LICSWA

“I truly think it is an honor to be with patients at such a vulnerable time and I hope I bring a little bit of ease to the experience.”

Nora Larson is an oncology social worker with a special interest in palliative care. Her approach to care is informed by her own personal experience with a loved one undergoing treatment. She strives to provide an open environment where patients can ask the tough questions, share their struggles and explore what they are hoping for.

Read More

Categories: Meet Your Team

Why Is Genetic Testing Important for Cancer Research?

It’s common for cancer patients and their families to feel helpless, as if their futures and those of their loved ones are entirely dependent on physicians and medications. Genetic testing is one way for cancer patients and their relatives to regain a sense of control over the disease, and make a valuable contribution toward improving its detection, treatment and prevention.

One of the most effective ways for cancer researchers to learn why a type of cancer occurs (an important step in discovering treatments) is to study the genes of patients and those who share their DNA profile.

Read More

Categories: Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Cancer Risk, Genetic Testing, Lung Cancer

How Can I Reduce My Risk of Cervical Cancer?

Each January is recognized as Cervical Health Awareness Month, spreading the knowledge about women’s health and how they can help prevent the development of cervical cancer and related diseases. Some aren’t as familiar with what cervical cancer is, or that there are precautions you can take to reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer. Here are a few facts to share with friends and family as we recognize Cervical Health Awareness Month.

Read More

Categories: Cancer Prevention, Cancer Risk, Cervical Cancer

A Better Understanding of Clinical Trials

Many have heard of clinical research in the medical industry, but what goes into researching diseases like cancer and how are the results determined? What are clinical trials and who do they involve?

What are Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are tests done by researchers to evaluate the safety of new therapies and how effective they are at treating certain diseases or conditions, such as cancer. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration), a government agency that regulates the use and testing of new drugs before they are released to the public, must evaluate and approve the safety of any new drugs. There are different types of clinical trials depending on the purpose of the drug or therapy:

Read More

Categories: Cancer Research

Exercise and Breast Cancer: The Benefits and How to Get Started

As a breast cancer patient or breast cancer survivor, it’s important to stay active – even if you don’t feel up to it.

In a recent study by Kerry Courneya, PhD, found that women with breast cancer that participated in a resistance training program during chemotherapy required less dosage and fewer delays in their chemotherapy treatments.  Of course, if you’re undergoing breast cancer treatment, you should first discuss exercise with your doctor. For most breast cancer patients, rigorous activity isn’t recommended, but regular moderate exercise, such as walking or strength training with light weights, can help you to feel better, and as strange as it may sound, you might even feel less tired than before you exercised.

Read More

Categories: Breast Cancer, Cancer Survivorship, Supportive Care

How to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Lung Cancer

New cases of lung cancer in Oregon were down by 3% between 2009 and 2013. That's great news! But as one of the most preventable types of cancer, there is more work to be done.

At Compass Oncology, we're participating in Lung Cancer Awareness Month by helping raise awareness of this often preventable disease. Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer diagnosis in both men and women. We encourage you to educate yourself and join us in spreading the word about the prevalence of lung cancer and the best ways to reduce the risks of developing it.

Four Things You Can Do to Reduce the Risk of Lung Cancer

Read More

Categories: Cancer Prevention, Cancer Risk, Lung Cancer

Targeted Therapies for Breast Cancer Treatment

While one in eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, dramatic advances have been made in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the disease. We can now test each patient’s tumor for molecular and genetic changes. This allows us to understand the exact biologic process taking place and better choose the medications and therapies that are targeted directly for that cancer. Some call this personalized medicine, some call it precision medicine and some call it targeted therapy. Regardless of the name, the result is breast cancer has an excellent survival rate when caught early.

Read More

Categories: Breast Cancer, Cancer Treatment

There’s No Such Thing as a Safe Tan

We Pacific Northwesterners love our sun. After a long wet winter, summer calls to us with all the beauty our great outdoors has to offer. Outside we go, many of us to soak up a little sun – but be careful, our region has one of the highest incidences of melanoma in the United States. We’re not quite sure why that is but we’re definitely sure everyone can reduce their risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers with some sun safe precautions.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. with 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people being diagnosed annually. That’s higher than the incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined. It’s the 5th most common cancer in men and the 7th in women.

Read More

Categories: Cancer Prevention, Cancer Screening, Skin Cancer

Do Men Need to See a Genetic Counselor?

Some individuals are born with genetic mutations that increase the risk of developing cancer during their lifetime. These mutations may be inherited from either a mother or a father. While simply having a genetic mutation does not mean you will definitely get cancer, it does increase your risk. The good news is lifestyle alterations, medication and preventive surgery can reduce the risk for developing hereditary cancer.

Compass Oncology’s groundbreaking Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing (GREAT) program is a leader in personalized cancer-risk reduction. Our goal is to guide you through the often confusing process of deciding if genetic testing is appropriate and help you determine if you have a genetic mutation that puts you at risk for cancer.

Read More

Categories: Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Genetic Testing, Ovarian Cancer

Cancer Clinical Trials Available in Portland & Vancouver

Compass Oncology is a leading referral source for cancer-specific clinical trials in the region. Clinical trials are research studies designed to develop new and better cancer treatment therapies. At any given time, Compass has more than 50 active clinical trials, including many that are not available elsewhere in the Portland-Vancouver area.

In this new era of targeted therapies, the role of clinical research is more important than ever in providing patients with access to the latest in cancer treatments. They are responsible for many of the great strides in what we know as standards of cancer treatment today.

Read More

Categories: Cancer Research, Cancer Treatment