Blog

Pay Attention to Your Lymph Nodes for Cancer Signs

July 24, 2017

Lymph nodes (also called lymph glands) are part of your immune system, and they let you know when your body is fighting an infection by becoming enlarged or sensitive to the touch. They also function as an early warning system for some types of cancer.

What are Lymph Nodes?

Lymph is a clear fluid that circulates throughout your body, bringing nutrients to cells and carrying away bacteria and waste products. This fluid flows through a special system of tiny vessels in your body, passing through small bean-shaped filtering organs called lymph nodes. Some nodes are as large as an inch across, while others are as small as a pinhead.

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When Should You Get a Prostate Cancer Screening?

July 17, 2017

Are you interested in learning about prostate cancer screening? It's important to remember that many perfectly healthy people are screened for prostate cancer as part of their regular health care. Doctors sometimes recommend testing simply because of your age or family history. Other times, patients have some symptoms, and their doctor may suggest a prostate cancer screening as the first step to understanding the problem.

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

July 10, 2017

“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. Heather is very approachable. Her goal is to do everything possible to make a difficult journey easier. Education is essential in that goal. In her role as Nurse Educator, Heather provides chemo education at all Compass sites and leads community educational events. Knowing what’s happening and why is an important step in alleviating fear regarding chemo. She is also an active member of the Survivorship team and teaches Compass chemo standards to new team members.

When not a work, Heather loves spending time with her husband, gardening, house projects and a good book.

Learn more about Heather

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Meet Your Team: Michelle Vieira, MSW

July 10, 2017

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. Michelle sees patients at the Compass Tualatin and West locations. To schedule an appointment, please call 503-384-9952.

Learn more about Michelle

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Meet Your Team: Jamie Newell, MSW, LCSW

July 10, 2017

“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. Dealing with
the upheaval and uncertainty of cancer is no easy task and Jamie is committed to walking with her patients every step of the way. She offers counseling to address the emotional and spiritual health of patients, family members and caregivers that is so important during
treatment. She is a resource and an advocate, helping to bring clarity to issues and connecting patients with critical resources. Jamie has particular expertise in helping parents navigate the complexities of parenting while dealing with their cancer diagnosis.

When not working, Jamie loves spending time with her family and enjoying the outdoors.

Learn more about Jamie

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Meet Your Team: Lydia Mills, MSW, LCSW, LICSW

July 10, 2017

Lydia has been with Compass Oncology over three years, providing a supportive presence for patients and families through counseling, emotional support, and referrals to community resources. She has worked in medical social work for over 10 years, including adult and pediatric oncology and hospice care. Lydia earned her masters degree in social work at Portland State University. Lydia sees patients at the Compass Rose Quarter and Tualatin locations. To schedule an appointment please call, 503.528.5212.

Learn more about Lydia

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

July 10, 2017

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.

Learn more about Virginia

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What is Inflammatory Breast Cancer?

June 12, 2017

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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Compass Radiation Oncologist co-authors article

June 8, 2017

Compass Oncology's Dr. Ravi Chandra is co-author of a 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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Radiation Oncology Questions Answered by Ravi Chandra, MD, PhD

June 2, 2017

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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