Catching Cancer Early Makes All the Difference

Sylvia Cole is intimately familiar with cancer’s randomness, its pain and the suffering it can cause. She survived a breast cancer diagnosis in 2006, but lost her father to liver cancer in 2004. She has had many family members, co-workers and friends touched by cancer, so she knows that when something isn’t “right,” you need…
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Diligent Diagnostics

“I never thought I would get cancer. I never, ever thought it was possible. It doesn’t run in my family, and I didn’t feel a lump,” says Diana Muehlhausen, 65, of Rio Vista. ABOVE: Diana Muehlhausen and husband, Jay, signal OK and Zero for how she’s feeling and the fact that she’s cancer-free, thanks to…
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Family Grateful for Mom’s Dream of a Lifetime

ABOVE: The family of hospice patient Patsy Harpe pose for a photo at her Dream of a Lifetime party, including her daughters, Layce Little and Kelli Harpe (left to right, in white dresses) and their daughters, along with Thrieza Zapanta, who is seated next to Kathleen Diaz, NorthBay Hospice Nurse. Fulfilling a terminally ill patient’s…
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Cancer Specialists Ready to Go to Battle for their Patients

It’s rare for a small, community-based hospital to offer all of the sophisticated medical services typically found in a big-city cancer center, but that’s exactly what is available at the NorthBay Cancer Center, according to Lori Muir, director of Oncology Services for NorthBay Healthcare. Above: A trio of oncologists at NorthBay Cancer Center share a…
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Helping Leukemia Patient on His Journey

It was a mother’s worst nightmare: Your son has severe, flu-like symptoms and an uncontrolled nosebleed that, you learn, is the result of a life-threatening illness. You are new to the community and don’t know where to turn for care. ABOVE: NorthBay Healthcare’s highly trained oncology staff, including Carolyn Bailey, R.N., and James Long, M.D.,…
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Seeking Cancer Connections

You inherited your eye color from your mom and your hair color from your dad. Did one of them give you an elevated risk of cancer, too? That question could now be answered through a new genetic counseling and testing service available at NorthBay Healthcare. Karen Vikstrom, who has more than 15 years of experience…
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A TrueBeam Tactic

Engineer Fascinated by SBRT Treatment When Ford Pray, 89, learned he would have to undergo stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) to treat a lung tumor, the retired engineer’s curiosity was piqued. What was this new treatment and how did it work? “Being an engineer by trade I’m curious about everything,” he said. “This experience was…
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Cancer Center Spans 30 Years

In the mid-1980s, the medical staff treating cancer patients at Intercommunity Hospital believed it was time to bring radiation therapy to Fairfield. They presented the idea to hospital CEO Gary Passama and he agreed. It was the first step in bringing advanced medicine close to home. Local physicians, led by surgeon Robert Parker, M.D., approached…
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Rx for Complex Therapies

Pharmacy Down the Hall Delivers for Cancer Patients Oncology Pharmacist Jan Lindsey outside the chemical mixing room. You can’t just walk into this pharmacy and pay for an over-the-counter sinus medicine or bottle of antacid tablets. In fact, the public can’t even walk into this specially designed pharmacy at all. The only clientele served here…
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Orlando’s Journey

Cinema Student Shares Story on Camera Orlando Torres, right, was often joined by his brother Leonardo and mother, Esperanza, in the infusion room at the NorthBay Cancer Center. With dreams of becoming a director someday, 20-year-old cinematography student Orlando Torres was much more comfortable behind the camera, until a dramatic diagnosis compelled him to step…
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Making Her Whole Again

Overcoming Scars with Reconstructive Surgery Janet Fowler went 12 years without a mammogram. She was busy keeping a roof over her family’s heads and being a caregiver for others, including her boy-friend who had liver cancer. But she knew she was taking a chance with her health. “I could feel a lump and see changes…
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New Mammogram Controversy Women Should Know

A British study published this year that questions the usefulness of annual screening mammography for women age 40–59 doesn’t take the latest technology into account, says Jason Marengo, M.D., oncoplastic surgeon at NorthBay Healthcare in Fairfield. The randomized study began enrolling patients in 1980, and followed their course for an average of 21.9 years. The…
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Ten-Second Test Leads to Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Ronnie Link gets a hug from NorthBay Cancer Center nurse navigator Keni Horiuchi, R.N. Left: Ronnie Link gets a hug from NorthBay Cancer Center nurse navigator Keni Horiuchi, R.N. When Vacaville Realtor Veronica “Ronnie” Link received a flier in the mail offering a low-cost lung cancer screening, she didn’t hesitate to accept the offer. Although…
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New Choice for Breast Reconstruction Following Cancer Surgery

“In terms of recovery time, breast implant-based reconstruction is often the easiest to physically recover from.” —Jason Marengo, M.D. A diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming. Not only do you have decisions to make for treatment, you also have choices when it comes to breast reconstruction. Until now, cancer surgery came first, and plans…
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News Briefs

Girls Rock: Elizabeth Fry, a Vacaville breast cancer survivor who is the co-founder of the Midnight Sun Foundation, was honored with the second annual Christine Franklin award during the NorthBay Spirit of Women Girls’ Night Out, Nov. 9, at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre. Applauding is Jane Prather, service line director for women’s health services…
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Coping with Cancer

Dr. Jonathan López examines patient Bereniece Wilson. Cancer patients may experience pain, but what causes it can depend on the kind of cancer, how advanced the cancer may be, its location and even its treatment, according to Jonathan López, M.D., hematologist/oncologist with the NorthBay Cancer Center. Either way, cancer patients should rest assured that there…
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Another Pitch to Strike Out Cancer

Genentech-Vacaville and the Sacramento River Cats are teaming up again to help raise funds for the NorthBay Cancer Center. Genentech-Vacaville’s Strike Out Cancer event is a collaboration with the River Cats—the Triple A baseball affiliate of the Oakland A’s—to raise funds for the NorthBay Cancer Center. When the two organizations teamed up in 2011, it…
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A Second Opinion Leads to Second Chance at Life

Antoinette Montojo is happy to be back at work following a cancer diagnosis Life was hanging in the balance just over a year ago for Antoinette Montojo. At summer’s start she was an active, tennis-playing, working mother of three. By Labor Day, she was so sick she was nearly on her death bed. Looking back,…
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Chemo Kid’s Dream Comes True

Giovanni “Gino” Goodman (center) pauses to pose with his father, Guglielmo, and his best friend, Mario Cortez, before boarding a plane to Oregon. Editor’s Note: Giovanni “Gino” Goodman passed away on Dec. 30, 2010, at his home. Here is the story of the fulfillment of his dream, just weeks before his death. On Dec. 4,…
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Couple Faces Pancreatic Cancer

Strong Marriage, Solid Resources Keep Them Focused Cancer Center Nurse Louise Henry, R.N., gives Madeleiene a drink while her son, Julian Falley, looks on. In May 2009, Madeleiene Burroughs of Fairfield had a monthlong stomach ache. That summer, thanks to the insistence of her husband, George Falley, she sought medical help and was diagnosed with…
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Genetics Key in Battle Against Cancer

It may sound like something from a sci-fi thriller, but don’t be fooled: Gene profiling is real, and could be a powerful weapon in the war against cancer. “There have been many significant advances in recent years in the area of cancer genetics,” says Brian Vikstrom, M.D., an oncologist/hematologist with NorthBay Cancer Center. “We have…
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Clinical Trials Allow Patients Access to New Treatments

Sometimes there are silver linings in stormy clouds. In early 2007, Etsuko Bennett was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer—a gastrointestinal stromal tumor, or GIST—that caused a tumor to grow in her small intestine. “GIST doesn’t normally respond to traditional treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation,” explains her husband, George. And, even if a…
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What’s Cooking?

Cancer Center Hopes Book Will Raise Funds for Patient Care Not all insurance is created equal, Janet Black, clinical coordinator for NorthBay Cancer Center, has learned. One patient capped out of insurance after only one chemotherapy treatment. “What good is that?” asks Black, shaking her head. There are some funds available to help NorthBay patients,…
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A Changing Arsenal

Doctors Make Most of New Technologies Today, when it comes to treating cancer with drug therapy, the treatments are as unique as the cancer patient themselves, with more positive outcomes than ever before. That represents a change over treatment in years past. The medical management of breast cancer used to be simple: a woman either…
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A Shocking Diagnosis for a Man

‘I had to wonder: If I hadn’t talked to my friend, would I have let it go?’ Once Kenneth Taylor got past the shock of learning he had breast cancer—and his immediate worries that “this was the end of the line for me”—he got angry. He wasn’t angry because he had been diagnosed with a…
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A One-in-a-Million Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Cynthia Savage, 53, of Vacaville, had less than a 1 percent chance of getting breast cancer. She was fit, healthy and had no family history of the disease. Yet in 2005, she was diagnosed with one of the rarest forms of breast cancer—Paget’s Disease of the Breast. “My left nipple had been chapped, like dry…
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She Knows the Value of Mammograms

Judi Kitt never again will miss her yearly mammogram appointment. Life got a little busy for Judi back in 2001, and the date for her appointment passed. This was unusual for her, as she had been getting mammograms every year since her 40th birthday. “I was just really, really busy then and I forgot,” she…
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Mastectomy Was Her Decision

Magnolia “Jackie” Parrish, of Vacaville, was raised to be an independent thinker. As one of 10 children growing up on an Arkansas farm, she was taught how to cook and sew and take care of the house by her mother, and learned to hunt, fish and chop wood with her father. “They wanted us to…
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She’s Making Each Day Count

Christine Franklin, 58, of Vacaville, doesn’t consider herself a cancer survivor. She’s someone learning to live with cancer and fighting for her life every step of the way. Diagnosed in April 2006 with Stage IV of an aggressive breast cancer called HER2-positive, she now has cancer in her lymph nodes and liver. “I thought the…
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Grandmother’s Strategy: Fight and Pray

From the moment Mely Mamaradlo found the lump, she knew she had cancer. Even though the first mammogram came up negative, a follow-up appointment and a biopsy confirmed her worst fears. But instead of giving in to tears, she found herself comforting her daughter, Jean, who had accompanied her during the visit. “I didn’t cry,”…
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Clinical Trials Advance Treatment Options

There are hundreds of clinical trials currently under way exploring new ways to treat cancers, including breast cancer. Some things researchers are investigating involve new anti-cancer drugs, doses and treatment schedules, as well as drug combinations and hormonal therapy. Some trials compare a new treatment with the standard treatment, while other trials use agents that…
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Breast Cancer Surgery Options

Fairfield Surgeon Dr. Peter Zopfi, D.O. Surgical advances play a key role in improving the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancer surgery was once a one-step procedure. If a biopsy revealed cancer, the breast was removed. Often a woman would awaken from surgery not knowing if she had cancer or her breast. Today,…
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Radiation Therapy Can Keep Cancer from Returning

Radiation therapy is usually prescribed following surgery to reduce the risk of local recurrence of cancer in the breast. It may be prescribed along with chemotherapy or delivered alone. Radiation therapy uses high levels of radiation to kill cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells. Treatment is usually 10 minutes a day, five days…
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Stages of Breast Cancer

Cancer is staged according to how far it has spread into the body. The standard stages are: 0 – The early stage when the disease is localized to the breast with no evidence of spread to the lymph nodes (carcinoma in situ). I – The cancer is 2 centimeters or less in size and hasn’t…
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Join the Army of Women Helping Breast Cancer Research

A cancer research clearing house is looking for a few good women… to join their “Army.” Founded by Dr. Susan Love and the Avon Foundation for Women, the Army of Women seeks one million women in the United States to serve as a pool of research volunteers. Women who register will receive e-mail updates from…
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Ten Cancer Myths

1. Breast cancer is preventable. There is no known prevention for breast cancer. Early detection, followed by prompt treatment, offers the best chance against the disease. However, certain lifestyle changes may help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. 2. If there is no breast cancer in your family, you’re not at risk for the…
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Breast Cancer Death Rates on the Decline

Nationwide, cancer death rates are falling steadily, according to the American Cancer Society’s annual cancer statistics report, Cancer Facts & Figures 2009. Cancer death rates dropped 19.2 percent among men between 1990 and 2005, and rates dropped 11.4 percent from 1991–2005. These drops represent about 650,000 cancer deaths avoided over the past 15 years. Decreases…
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Lymphedema Management Program

A program designed to improve the quality of life for lymphedema patients is now available through NorthBay Rehabilitation Services at Vacaville Millennium Sportsclub. Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid that can cause abnormal swelling anywhere in the body, but most typically in an arm or leg. It develops when lymphatic vessels are damaged or…
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Understanding Breast Cancer

Cancer is uncontrolled cell growth. Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts from cells of the breast. Each year an estimated 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Surprisingly, 1,700 men will also receive that diagnosis. There are many types of breast cancer and most are identified by where they originate. Some breast…
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Breast Cancer Getting the Facts, Finding Hope

No one visiting their physician wants to hear the words “breast cancer.” But it does not mean life is over. Instead, it is the beginning of a learning process. Patients are given an arsenal of tools with which to fight cancer: surgery, drugs, radiation and hope. Early detection and self-awareness greatly increase the survival rate…
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NorthBay Cancer Center Earns Approval with Six Commendations

NorthBay Cancer Center earned a full, three-year accreditation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, including six commendations for outstanding performance in a report issued in May. “I’m thrilled,” says Cancer Data Coordinator Charlene K. Thompson. “It’s an ongoing effort to give our patients the best quality care, and the report…
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Relay Rallies Funds for American Cancer Society

Participants take to the track at the start of Relay For Life in Fairfield. This past summer, several Solano County cities held Relay for Life events, to raise funds for the American Cancer Society (ACS). NorthBay supported the fund-raising efforts by fielding teams of walkers for the 24-hour marathon event, and providing educational materials and…
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Digital Mammography Now Available at Women’s Imaging Center

The latest in digital mammography is available in a suite specifically dedicated to women at Solano Diagnostics Imaging in Fairfield. “Digital mammography is becoming the standard of care for breast cancer screening,” says Adrian Riggs, director of Solano Diagnostics Imaging. “When further examination is needed, we offer both breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and MRI-guided…
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Cancer Survivors Day ‘Celebration of Life’ is June 7

More people are surviving cancer now than ever before, and that’s something to celebrate. All cancer survivors and their loved ones are invited to attend Solano County’s 13th Annual National Cancer Survivors Day “Celebration of Life,” from 2 to 5 p.m., Sunday, June 7, at the Fairfield Center For Creative Arts in downtown Fairfield. A…
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