SCCA’s 2013 Annual Report

In case you missed it, earlier this month SCCA released our 2013 Annual Report. The report provides an overview of some of the innovative treatment and research that’s happening here at SCCA as well as at SCCA’s founding organizations, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine, and Seattle Children’s. You can download a PDF of the report here, or view it online.

Also included in the online version of the annual report is the video below, in which SCCA’s Executive Director and President, Dr. Fred Appelbaum, speaks to the incredible pace of research that’s happening here at SCCA and that’s working on almost every aspect of cancer, from early diagnostics to the development of novel therapies.

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    Dr. Ed Lin: Gateway Cancer Researcher of the Year

    gateway-logo-smallLast week SCCA’s Dr. Edward Lin was awarded the 2014 Cancer Researcher of the Year by Gateway for Cancer Research. Gateway is a non-profit organization whose goal is to identify and fund promising cancer research that might not otherwise get funded. This is the second year that Gateway has recognized a Cancer Researcher of the Year.

    Thanks to funding from Gateway, Dr. Lin has been able to move forward with the ADAPT study, a Phase II clinical trial aimed at metastatic colon cancer patients that uses two drugs; capecitabine, a chemotherapy drug; and celecoxib, an arthritis medication more commonly known as Celebrex. Together, this combination is designed to wake up cancer stem cells that would otherwise hibernate during chemotherapy and kill them. So far, some 40% of Dr. Lin’s patients have achieved complete or near complete response from this drug combination. In the video below, Dr. Lin and one of his patients discuss this novel therapy.

    Learn more about Dr. Lin’s work and Gateway for Cancer Research here. View information about the ADAPT trial on the SCCA website here.

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      A Remedy for Chemo Mouth

      One problem for many cancer patients undergoing treatment is that chemotherapy can change the taste of food. Patients often complain that food loses its flavor or worse–tastes like metal. The condition, known variably as chemo mouth or metal mouth, causes many patients to lose their appetite at a time when they need it the most.

      cancer-fighting-kitchenEnter Rebecca Katz, author of The Cancer Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery. Katz is a chef, speaker, and author who has worked with patients, physicians, and nurses to develop a flavorful and healthy dietary regimen aimed at keeping cancer patients at their best during treatment. One of her secrets to making food taste good for cancer patients is to use unfamiliar flavors and spices as well as unique combinations of ingredients, such as in this recipe for Poached Coconut Ginger Salmon.

      Last week, Katz was featured in this informative segment on NPR. This week, she’ll be here at SCCA at the Shine store tomorrow, April 17, between 5 and 6:30 p.m. to speak and sign books. If you’re in the neighborhood tomorrow, stop by for a visit!

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        How to Talk to Your Doctor

        Seeing and talking with a new doctor for the first time–especially after a cancer diagnosis–can be a little intimidating. In addition to being a medical oncologist who specializes in treating gastrointestinal cancers, Dr. Tony Back is an expert in improving communication between physicians and their patients. Dr. Back believes cancer patients need doctors who understand what they’re going through and are not afraid to talk about it, so he acts as a mentor for many new physicians on how best to communicate with their patients.

        In the video below, Dr. Back offers three tips for patients on how to improve the conversations they have with their doctor: Find someone—a friend or a spouse—to go with you; don’t be shy about putting forward your agenda at the beginning of the visit; and don’t be afraid to interrupt your doctor. He also offers advice on how to prepare for your appointment as well as questions to ask when your doctor starts talking over your head.

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          16,808 Hours of Service

          It’s National Volunteer Week, and we at SCCA would be remiss not to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers who provide such tremendous support to the SCCA community. Last year our volunteers contributed 16,808 hours of service, performing a variety of tasks: from picking up patients and their families at the airport, to working at our gift shop Rain or Shine, to providing massages, haircuts, wig fittings, and support for the more than 6,000 patients who came through the clinic in 2013. Some highlights:

          • Ginger-BeuglessWe averaged 214 active volunteers last year—an increase of 29 from the previous year. Of these volunteers, 54 were male and 160 were female.
          • 28% of our volunteers served in multiple roles.
          • The average age of our volunteers was 54.
          • 28% of our volunteers were 65 years old or older, and 15% were 22-years old or younger.

          Wondering about what volunteers do here at SCCA? Check out the stories we’ve posted about Ginger Beugless (transportation volunteer), Miggie Olsson (guest services), John Croffut (Rain or Shine), Shirley and Dean Hobson (guest services), and Nicole Smith (Shine).

          Becoming a volunteer is easy. If you or someone you know might be interested in helping out at SCCA, please check out the “Become a Volunteer” section of the SCCA website. Applications for the next round of orientation/training sessions are due on Monday, April 28, 2014.  For more information, contact volunteer coordinator Susan Greenwood at (206) 288-1072 or by email at

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