What happens during radiation therapy for prostate cancer?

When patients undergo radiation therapy, it’s common for them to ask: What will it feel like?

At Willamette Valley Cancer Institute, we deliver a variety of radiation treatments using the Trilogy Linear Accelerator by Varian Medical Systems. Its powerful, advanced motion management capabilities make it possible to treat tumors with precision and efficiency.

“Typically, patients are amazed after their first few treatments, because it’s kind of like getting an X-ray,” says WVCI radiation oncologist Dr. David C. Fryefield. “You lie on the table, you don’t move and the machine rotates around you.”

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Posted March 4, 2016

Community answers the call for hat donations

The staff at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute would like to say thank you for the incredible gifts we recently received from the community.

Each year, we provide knitted hats to our patients during the cold winter months, which make a big difference, especially for those who’ve lost their hair due to chemotherapy.

“Our patients are welcome to take any hat they want. It’s still cold out, and you lose a lot of heat through your head,” says WVCI patient navigator Anne Gallagher.  

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Posted February 24, 2016

Young survivor plans for future after cancer

Lindsey Bills was excited about all the things she would learn when she enrolled at the University of Oregon. She didn’t expect cancer to become part of her learning experience.

Everything changed for Lindsey when she noticed a swollen lymph node on the right side of her clavicle in November 2013.

“On my 20th birthday, I was on a trip to Portland with some friends,” she says. “During the trip, I would get twinges in that area and I started to feel like something was wrong.”

Lindsey underwent a chest X-ray and blood work at the University’s Health Center and was referred for a biopsy the day before Thanksgiving. The results confirmed Lindsey had Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of blood cancer.

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Posted February 22, 2016

Ease treatment side effects with good nutrition

After receiving a cancer diagnosis, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. You’re likely inundated with information about your cancer, treatment options and prognosis. If nutrition is the last thing on your mind, that’s understandable. Although, what you feed your body is an important part of cancer care.

At Willamette Valley Cancer Institute, patients have access to nutrition counseling services with registered dietitian, Shelly Kokkeler. Having specialized in oncology for more than 30 years, Shelly supports patients through the various stages of their cancer journey.

“If I can talk with patients before they start treatment and say, ‘these are the side effects that can happen, and here’s what you can do to help control them,’ it prepares patients and gives them some tools to reduce their anxiety, “ Shelly says.

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Posted February 15, 2016

What is lymphoma?

Lymphoma is cancer that begins in the cells of the lymphatic system, which is responsible for fighting disease and infection. Because the immune system is found all throughout the body, lymphoma can begin almost anywhere.

“Lymphoproliferative disorders (including CLL and NHL) are abnormal accumulation of lymphocytes,” says Dr. Jeff Sharman, director of research at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute. “Lymphocytes are kind of like the brains of the immune system and generally speaking, when they become cancerous, that’s either lymphoma or some forms of leukemia.”

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Posted February 15, 2016