Kelly Barton is a planner and a problem-solver by nature. But what she didn't plan for was a breast cancer diagnosis in January. Once the initial shock of her diagnosis eased, Kelly did what she does best—she focused on learning as much as she could about her cancer and choosing the best treatment for herself.
Training for a triathlon is no easy task. Fighting cancer isn't easy either. Members of Team Endure are focused on both—training for endurance events while raising money to support local cancer survivors through Oregon Cancer Foundation (OCF).
Stacia Pugh will never forget the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer. "It was two weeks after my 39th birthday, and I was just not expecting that. It was eye-opening and shocking," she says. The single mother of two from Corvallis was filled with worry, for herself and her kids, but she knew she had to deal with it head-on. "Once I found out I had cancer, my goal was 'How are we going to cure this? How am I going to beat this?'"
Last year, Charity's life took an unexpected and devastating turn. Her younger sister Fawn was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. "She had chemotherapy and radiation in the beginning, and it didn't work. It just kept spreading, and she passed away in November," Charity says. "I found out two days after my sister's funeral that I had breast cancer." Charity, who naturally exudes positivity, began to experience the physical and emotional toll of her own cancer diagnosis.
During times of uncertainty or challenge, it's often the simple things that bring people comfort. That's certainly true for Julie Beckett of Springfield, who says her American Quarter Horse named Blondie, a show horse for more than a decade, helped comfort her through some tough times when she was growing up.
To treat cancer successfully, it takes a highly qualified team of providers focused on the needs of the patient. "Cancer care and cancer cure doesn't come from just one doctor," says Willamette Valley Cancer Institute radiation oncologist Dr. Thomas Sroka. "It comes from many groups and specialties working together."
Seated at her craft table in her Creswell home, Debbie Luttrell labors over the beadwork in front of her. At one time, her crafting was constructing necklaces and headdresses. But these days, her focus is on creating angels. It's a project of love that began after Debbie faced one of the darkest days of her life.
Cancer can take a tremendous toll-physically, emotionally and financially. Fortunately, there is a network of local services that patients can tap into to find support. "Every patient is different; everybody's journey is different. Someone might need a particular resource at one point, whereas another person might need the same resource at a different point," says Katie Burke, a patient navigator at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute.
A phase II study combining bendamustine and obinutuzumab showed promising results in patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Through the development of immunotherapy, scientists are learning how to boost the body's own immune system to identify and attack cancer cells. Currently, immunotherapy is showing successful results in about 15-20 percent of cancer patients, and researchers believe more life-saving breakthroughs are on the horizon.