What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are the centerpiece for the drug-testing system in the United States.

Each cancer study conducted tries to answer scientific questions and determine better ways to prevent, diagnose or treat the disease. As researchers test the effectiveness of trial drugs, patients who participate, in many cases, benefit from life-saving treatment options years before they are available to the public.

As a member of The US Oncology Network, Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center offers patients access to one of the nation’s largest research networks.

“Historically, the perspective has been that in order to get the latest, greatest, most innovative care, someone has to go to a university,” says Dr. Jeff Sharman, Medical Director of Hematology for The US Oncology Network. “WVCI’s unique affiliation with The US Oncology Network enables us to bring trials to patients in Eugene.”

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By WVCI


Posted August 24, 2015

Tasty fundraiser to support Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Join us on Friday, Sept. 18, when Oregon Pacific Bank hosts “Light the Grill”, an annual BBQ fundraiser (formerly called “Goodwill Grill”) to benefit the local chapter of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

This is the fifth year for the event, which has raised over $100,000 for LLS. In addition to delicious food, Light the Grill will also feature more than 65 auction items and live music by Bob Cowsill, from the 1960s internationally acclaimed band The Cowsills, which the TV show The Partridge Family is based on. The Blue Valentines will also perform.

Jeff Gusinow, Oregon Pacific Bank’s Senior Vice President founded Light the Grill, along with Dr. Jeff Sharman, Director of Research at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center.

Gusinow launched the event after he was diagnosed with a non-curable form of lymphoma eight years ago. Committed to raising both money and awareness, he has been selected as one of nine survivors to be featured in the current LLS national advertising campaign.

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By WVCI


Posted August 20, 2015

Stacie Overman: What cancer taught me

Stacie Overman can tell you all about the ugly side of cancer—what the disease looks like when it ravages a family, what it’s taken from her and the struggles she’s faced.

Instead, nine years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Stacie chooses to reflect on what cancer has taught her and make the most of what she calls “a blessed life.”

“Being diagnosed with cancer is very scary and you can’t help but worry about the unknowns. Will I survive? How difficult will it be?” Stacie says. “It’s hard to tell someone not to worry, but if there’s one thing that I could have done differently—that I can share with others now, it’s to love every moment and enjoy every person who’s put in your path.”

Stacie was 36-years-old when she was diagnosed. She faced the disease alongside her late husband Hank Sisk who lost his own battle against a rare form of gastrointestinal cancer several years later. Stacie’s journey is chronicled in a video series here.

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By WVCI


Posted August 20, 2015

Team Endure training and fundraising year-round to support patients

There’s strength in numbers, and Team Endure can attest to that.

Earlier this summer, the 12-member triathlon team that includes Dr. Charles Anderson, a gynecologic oncologist at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute, and his wife, Cassi, competed in the Half Ironman Triathlon at the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival in Sunriver, Oregon.

They had two goals: To finish and to collect donations to support Oregon Cancer Foundation’s Financial Assistance program.

“Team Endure has raised more than $40,000 for Oregon Cancer Foundation in the last two years, which is incredible,” says Amy Johnston, the Foundation’s Executive Director. “These funds allow us to provide reliable and needed assistance to more patients following a cancer diagnosis, which is often a financially stressful time.”

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By WVCI


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Posted August 5, 2015

For WVCI staff, Relay For Life is personal

Bonnie Allen has a unique perspective on cancer.

In her role as senior executive administrative assistant at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute, Bonnie supports doctors and staff in treating patients. As a mother, daughter, sister and granddaughter, Bonnie’s watched the disease repeatedly touch the lives of the people closest to her.

“We have a lot of cancer in our family,” Bonnie says. “When it bites you personally, you stand up and pay attention.” She doesn’t mind sharing her story, but the first question she asks is, ‘Where do I start?”

Perhaps the logical place for Bonnie to begin would be at age 19 when she was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma. She underwent surgery and remains cancer-free. Then again, maybe it makes sense to start Bonnie’s story two years earlier when her great grandmother lost her battle with breast cancer. Bonnie could also talk about her father’s melanoma, or when her sister, her aunt, her uncle and her cousin were told they had cancer.

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By WVCI


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Posted July 28, 2015