How is prognosis determined?

One of the first questions typically asked by patients diagnosed with cancer is, “How serious is it?”

Your oncologist can't predict the future, but he or she can make an estimate based on other people's experiences with the same type of cancer. This is referred to as a prognosis.

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Posted April 11, 2016

Volunteers offer support to patients through nourishing meals

In a community kitchen near downtown Eugene, 14-year-old Eli Panero chops garlic. A lot of garlic. His eyes periodically scan the the counter in front of him for the ingredients he needs to create the recipe, Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Pesto.

“I’m really interested in learning how to cook,” he says. “I’d never done it until I came here.”

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Posted April 6, 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