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CU Cancer Center News and Stories

Patient Care

Patient Care    Prostate Cancer    Clinical Trials

Experimental Treatment at CU Cancer Center Put a Stop to Miguel Rueda’s Prostate Cancer

As senior associate athletic director for health and performance at the University of Colorado Boulder, Miguel Rueda is used to overseeing the wellness of student-athletes in sports ranging from football and basketball to golf, skiing, and lacrosse. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date May 17, 2024
Full Story

Patient Care    Lung Cancer    Oncology

‘A Way of Embodying Hope’: 5-Year Lung Cancer Survivors Celebrate

Two years after her lung cancer diagnosis in 2019, Dan Wu first came to D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, at the University of Colorado Cancer Center for a second opinion.

 “Dr. Camidge saved my life,” Wu said.


Author Mark Harden | Publish Date May 13, 2024
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Research    Patient Care    Lung Cancer

6 Years After Lung Cancer Diagnosis, Patient Says CU Cancer Center Research is ‘Why I’m Here’

Birthdays. Anniversaries. Holidays. For each of us, each year brings special dates to celebrate.

For Emily Daniels, each year is all the more special. It’s another year of life that she once thought she might not get to live. Another year spent with her loving husband, Brian, and two young children.


Author Mark Harden | Publish Date April 05, 2024
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Patient Care    Esophageal Cancer    Clinical Trials

Mark Koebrich's Journey: From Television to Triumph Over Esophageal Cancer

Mark Koebrich's heartburn, a lifelong companion through nearly four decades in television, took a turn for the worse after retirement, prompting him to seek medical advice. His general practitioner referred him to UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, where he met Sachin Wani, MD, the Endowed Chair of the Katy O. and Paul M. Esophageal and Gastric Center of Excellence. Koebrich was diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus with low-grade dysplasia, a precancerous condition, and was enrolled in the SURVENT trial, a groundbreaking study offering cutting-edge treatment options.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date April 03, 2024
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Patient Care    Blood Cancer    Leukemia

Football Coordinator With Leukemia Finds Winning Team at CU Cancer Center

Matt Lubick had finished marathons before, but none was so personally meaningful as the 26-mile distance he covered in one day while being treated for leukemia at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. Lubick walked dozens of laps around the facility, wheeling his IV pole up and down the corridors as day slowly turned to night outside the tall glass windows.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 02, 2024
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Patient Care    Colorectal Cancer    Clinical Trials

Local Chef Experiences Significant Tumor Shrinkage with Immunotherapy Clinical Trial

Gabriel Charpentier began experiencing symptoms of stomach discomfort and fatigue at 34. Despite negative tests, he advocated for a colon cancer scan, leading to his diagnosis and participation in an immunotherapy clinical trial. His oncologist, University of Colorado Cancer Center member, Alexis Leal, MD, highlights the importance of clinical trials and the remarkable response Gabriel had to immunotherapy.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date March 12, 2024
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Patient Care    Brain and Spinal Cancer    Oncology    Radiation

Brain Cancer Patient Recruits the CU Cancer Center for the Fight of His Life

Alex Cooper relishes a challenge. Armed with a New Yorker’s moxie, an entrepreneur’s savvy, and an athlete’s determination, he has launched startups, has competed in Ironman triathlons, and offers motivational messages in blogs, videos, and social media posts as the “Iron CEO.”


Author Mark Harden | Publish Date December 04, 2023
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Patient Care    Breast Cancer

Suzi Brinkman Experienced Breast Cancer Before, During, and After Childbirth

Suzi Brinkman grew up with three older brothers, and her husband is the oldest of three siblings, so it was important to them for their 2-year-old son, Wallace, to have a brother or sister.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date November 07, 2023
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Research    Patient Care    Community    Lung Cancer    Magazine    Clinical Trials

After Lung Cancer Clinical Trial, Betty and Bill Moren Give Back as Patient Advocates for Thoracic Oncology Research Group

A clinical trial for lung cancer at the University of Colorado Cancer Center saved Betty Moren’s life. Now Betty and her husband, Bill, are giving back, sharing their cancer journey and clinical trial experiences as patient advocates at the cancer center’s Thoracic Oncology Research Initiative (TORI), which brings together investigators from multiple departments and centers across the CU Anschutz Medical Campus to advance lung cancer research. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date November 02, 2023
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Patient Care    Prostate Cancer    Clinical Trials    Urology

Nanoknife Procedure Preserved Prostate Cancer Patient’s Quality of Life 

James Bird gets emotional talking about it. How he qualified for a clinical trial that, in his view, preserved his manhood after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in late 2022. 

 “The day I went in to see if I qualified, there were 10 other guys out there in the lobby who didn’t get into the trial,” he says. “I felt so sorry for them. One of the technicians who was involved with the trial told me he was getting calls from all over, from guys begging to get in. That’s how important this is.”


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 29, 2023
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Patient Care    Community    Leukemia   

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Climber Tristan Chen Treated for Leukemia at CU Cancer Center

When your life is about being outdoors — about making your way up and around complex rock formations, looking for that flow you get into as every foothold and ledge reveals itself — the last place you want to be is stuck in a hospital bed, enduring the side effects of chemotherapy.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 22, 2023
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Patient Care    Magazine    Ovarian Cancer

CU Cancer Center Care Team Provides a Foundation for Healing for BRCA1-positive Patient

Amy Bibbey has two distinct lives. There’s the life she led before ovarian cancer, and there’s everything after diagnosis.


Author Carie Behounek | Publish Date September 21, 2023
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Patient Care    Thyroid Cancer

Neck Dissection Surgery at the CU Cancer Center Helped Ensure that TV Newsman Danny New Remains Cancer-Free 

“I got lucky that I suck at golf. I threw my back out playing a sport that people usually enjoy in khakis.” 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 17, 2023
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Patient Care    Lung Cancer

New Treatment Paradigm Helps Lung Cancer Patient Thrive at CU Cancer Center 

There’s no such thing as perfect timing when it comes to lung cancer, but Kathy Ballard got pretty close. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date July 20, 2023
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Patient Care    Community    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Wheels of Justice Team Commemorates Brain Cancer Patient Trevor Kling 

Look at the racing jersey created in his memory, and you’ll see images of everything Trevor Kling loved. Bright colors. Baseball. Pineapple. Bowling. Sports cars. Board games. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date July 10, 2023
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Patient Care    Community    Pancreatic Cancer    Multidisciplinary Clinic   

Individualized Care Provides Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Patient with Stage 4 Diagnosis

Barb Spanjer lay on the floor of her office. She had never been so tired. Her stomach and left side ached, and the pain under her left shoulder blade was relentless. She had seen her doctor a couple of times that autumn of 2017, but the medicine for the ulcer he suspected she had wasn’t working. She had been too tired and too busy running the construction company she and her husband, Steve, owned to follow up with the doctor. But it was getting harder to ignore the symptoms. Something just wasn’t right.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date June 26, 2023
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Patient Care    Liver Cancer    Colorectal Cancer   

Colorectal Cancer Patient Doug Scanlon Grateful for Cutting-Edge Care at CU Cancer Center 

For Doug Scanlon, last year’s Walk to End Colon Cancer was a victory lap. This year, it’s more like a homecoming. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date June 22, 2023
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Patient Care    Community    Immunotherapy    lymphoma    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz   

CU Cancer Center Member Gains Unique Perspective as Cancer Patient

For a significant portion of his career, Arnold Levinson, PhD, MJ, has done work related to cancer.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date June 16, 2023
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Patient Care    Colorectal Cancer    GITES

Outpatient Colectomy? It’s Possible at the CU Cancer Center

Sean Ryan did everything right. 

Ryan’s father died of colorectal cancer when he was just 45, so Ryan knew he was at high risk for the disease. When he turned 50, he made plans to get a screening colonoscopy. (In 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lowered the recommended screening age for colorectal cancer from 50 to 45 for men and women at average risk for colorectal cancer.) 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date May 24, 2023
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Patient Care    Community    Kidney Cancer    Urology

Kidney Cancer Journey Emphasizes Importance of Asking a Doctor when Things Don’t Feel Right

 

To start with, there was his usual schedule of national travel for his job as a Wall Street journeyman – he was always flying somewhere. Add to that moving to Castle Rock from San Francisco, plus a love for concerts and baseball games and whatever else life offers, and it’s no wonder that Lincoln Yersin was feeling run down.

But this run down? This exhausted? He went to see his primary care provider in San Francisco a few times, had a few tests, and the diagnosis was stress.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date May 16, 2023
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Patient Care    Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal Cancer Patient Traveled From Indiana to Colorado to Receive Care at CU Cancer Center 

Nathan Hammond knew things were getting bad when his doctors had to put the feeding tube in. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 03, 2023
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Patient Care    Pancreatic Cancer    Surgical Oncology    Multidisciplinary Clinic   

Enjoying the Gift of Time After a Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis

Before receiving a pancreatic cancer diagnosis eight years ago – a diagnosis that resulted from persistent self-advocacy – Carolyn Degrafinried spent one awful weekend wondering if she was losing her mind.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date March 23, 2023
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Research    Patient Care    Head and Neck Cancer    Clinical Trials    Immunotherapy

Clinical Trial Participation Helps Woman Diagnosed with Laryngeal Cancer Enjoy Every Day Without the Disease

Jane Hart is a lot of things: extremely proud mom of Shelby, daughter extraordinaire and apple of Jane’s eye. Dog mom to (deservedly spoiled) Maizy, Taco, Winnie, and Walter. Collector of Talavera pottery. Unabashed “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” fan. A surprising 71, because she looks at least 10 years younger.

Cancer survivor – stage 4 laryngeal cancer that necessitated a tracheostomy and laryngectomy, that forced her to relearn how to breathe and talk.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date December 16, 2022
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Patient Care    Awareness    Pancreatic Cancer    Surgical Oncology

Pancreatic Cancer Survivor is Eternally Grateful for her Surgery With Schulick

Laura Foote is now three years out from her pancreatic cancer diagnosis, thanks to a surgery performed by Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center and chair of the Department of Surgery


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date November 08, 2022
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Research    Patient Care    Breast Cancer    Plastic Surgery

Multi-Faceted Treatment Helps Young Breast Cancer Patient Through Her Cancer Journey

Amanda Vegter did not have time for whatever it was that she felt on the side of her left breast.

She was six weeks into her fourth year of veterinary school, she had backpacking trips to go on with her boyfriend, walks to go on with her two dogs, plus plans for a summer externship in South Africa. She was busy and happy and it was probably nothing.

But that firm spot she first felt on her breast in January 2021 while working out at her boyfriend’s house didn’t just go away. Now she can look back and shake her head – of course it was breast cancer.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date October 21, 2022
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Patient Care    Awareness    Breast Cancer    Surgical Oncology

Breast Cancer Survivor Emphasizes Self Exams and Self-Advocacy

Scarlet Doyle was 29 when she was diagnosed with angiosarcoma, a rare type of breast cancer. She had found a lump and had to advocate for herself to get her breast cancer diagnosis. After having her care transferred to the University of Colorado Cancer Center, she was seen by Breelyn Wilky, MD, associate professor of medical oncology and deputy associate director of clinical research at the CU Cancer Center, and Gretchen Ahrendt, MD, professor of surgical oncology. 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date October 20, 2022
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Patient Care    Ovarian Cancer    Immunotherapy    Genetics

Innovative Immunotherapy Treatment Helps Ovarian Cancer Patient See Amazing Results

People often tell Winona Williams that she’s brave, and she is. Ovarian cancer could easily become a dark cloud over her, shadowing every minute of every day.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date September 20, 2022
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Research    Patient Care    Brain and Spinal Cancer

A Wearable Device to Treat Brain Tumors

Thanks in part to clinical trials overseen by researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, a wearable, portable electrical device called Optune is proving successful at treating a type of brain tumor called a glioblastoma.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 19, 2022
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Research    Patient Care    Awareness    Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal Cancer Patient Thriving and Optimistic after Multidisciplinary Care

Less than a year ago, Ken Herfert got a puppy and named her Bailey after the Colorado town where she was born.

This was a big deal for several reasons, including the responsibility of adopting a new family member, but perhaps the biggest was this: About six months after receiving a diagnosis of esophageal cancer in early 2018, Herfert’s oncologist in California told him he had maybe a year to live, maybe less.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date August 16, 2022
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Research    Patient Care    Sarcoma    Clinical Trials   

Beating a Deadly Sarcoma 

Ward McNeilly thought he was a goner.  

It was summer 2021, and the sarcoma that had started in the Denver resident’s left thigh seemed to be under control, subdued by radiation and chemotherapy following a surgery in 2018 to remove the initial tumor and another surgery in 2019 to remove cancerous tumors in his groin. McNeilly was doing so well, in fact, that his doctors at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital authorized a “chemo vacation” to give his body a break from some of the side effects of the treatment.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date July 11, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Awareness    Colorectal Cancer

Couple Both Battling Stage IV Colon Cancer Focused on Enjoying Each Moment as a Family

As they both deal with a stage IV colon cancer diagnosis, Kacie Peters and Erik Stanley are focused on living a normal, happy life with their son.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date June 20, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Blood Cancer    Colorectal Cancer

Young Colon and Blood Cancer Patient Excited for the Future After Journey Through Treatment and Recovery

Jimmy Guerrero’s first diagnosis was a possible stomach ulcer, because it seemed inconceivable that a 26-year-old would have colon cancer.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date June 13, 2022
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Research    Patient Care

National Cancer Survivors Day 2022

In recognition of National Cancer Survivors Day on June 5, we wanted to share how far cancer survivorship has come, our efforts at the University of Colorado Cancer Center to further the research that results in survivorship, and some of our survivor stories from the past year.


Author Shelly Lange | Publish Date June 03, 2022
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Patient Care    Lung Cancer    Prostate Cancer    Melanoma    Immunotherapy   

Acknowledging the Fears of Cancer by Giving Them a Face and a Name

To understand why Beau Gill built a mental cupboard for Jeff and Spike, first you must travel back with him to the small town of Catemaco in Mexico’s state of Veracruz.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date April 20, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Colorectal Cancer

“I’m Strong Enough to Get Through”

For so many years, Kelly Noonan prioritized a lot of elements in her life – her family, her career as a nurse, her friends, her responsibilities as a community volunteer.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date March 28, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Flying High After a Childhood Cancer Battle 

When Myles Krick started his freshman year of college in fall 2021, he couldn’t help but look back to 15 years ago, when he received the brain cancer diagnosis that made his family worry he might not live long enough to go to college. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date March 16, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Breast Cancer   

Dianne Primavera’s Journey From Cancer Patient to Cancer Advocate 

Dianne Primavera wouldn’t take no for an answer.  


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date March 07, 2022
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Research    Patient Care    Prostate Cancer    Clinical Trials

New Testosterone Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer Patients

Carlos J. Castro transferred his care to Elizabeth Kessler, MD, University of Colorado Cancer Center member, after learning about a clinical trial that gave him a new treatment option for his stage 4 prostate cancer.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date January 12, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Awareness    Pancreatic Cancer    Vascular Surgery

“You’ve Got to Believe that You’re Going to Get Through It”

“Maybe this getting older thing just sucks and that’s how it is.”


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date December 17, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Lung Cancer    Magazine    CU Medicine Today

“We Want to Give People the Opportunity to Grow Older”

At her lowest point, after hearing there wasn’t much more that medicine or science could do for her, Connie Walters asked her best friend and ex-husband, Abel, to stay with her overnight. She wasn’t sure she would wake up and she didn’t want to die alone.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date November 30, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Lung Cancer

Dealing with Cancer One Step at a Time

It was just a cough – a nagging one, sure, but nothing too serious, Duane Cerniglia thought. Give it some time and it will go away.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date November 12, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Magazine   

Driving Revolutionary Advances in Cancer Treatment

“When you lose hope, you lose everything,” says Ron Randolph. “It’s like you’re in the bottom of a hole and you see this light at the top of the hole. It’s a very small light, but there’s no way to escape.”


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date November 11, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Sarcoma

“You Are Cancer-Free”

The cancer diagnosis came at a time when it seemed as though everything was happening – he was only 37 and soon to become president of the Denver City Council; his three children were ages 4, 6, and 9; he had just run the BOLDERBoulder 10K.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date November 03, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Breast Cancer    Advocacy

Genetic Counseling Helps Young Woman Take Control After Testing Positive for BRCA2

The first time Caley Kurchinski had to think about a double mastectomy, she was only 16. Her mother had died at age 36 from breast cancer, when Caley was 6. When she became a teenager, Caley’s family physician began telling her she needed to get genetic testing.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date October 15, 2021
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Patient Care    Colorectal Cancer    Surgical Oncology

Erica’s Colon Cancer Didn’t Stand a Chance With Procedure That Kills Microscopic Cancer Cells

Erica Ramsthaler was only given three years to live when she was first diagnosed with colorectal cancer, but after transferring her care to the University of Colorado Cancer Center, she is thriving more than four years later.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date October 08, 2021
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Patient Care    Awareness    Breast Cancer    Surgical Oncology    Plastic Surgery

Young Mom’s Breast Cancer Journey Highlights Importance of Breast Cancer Screening in Younger Women

Kirsten Stewart was just putting on lotion, like she does every morning after her shower. That particular morning, though, she noticed something different: a lump that hadn’t been there before and that definitely wasn’t normal. She was only 30 years old.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date October 07, 2021
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Patient Care    Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Patient Hopes His Story Encourages Early Detection for Others

The diagnosis came as a shock. Although, looking back, Bill Mordecai says it shouldn’t have been. 


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date September 01, 2021
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Innovation    Patient Care    Pancreatic Cancer    Surgical Oncology

Robotic Whipple Procedure Offers Pancreatitis Patient Relief

After suffering from painful bouts of pancreatitis for more than a decade, Christina Gonzalez felt resigned to a seemingly endless cycle of procedures.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date August 31, 2021
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Patient Care    Liver Cancer

Surviving a 1-in-5-Million Liver Cancer

The doctors she saw initially didn’t seem too concerned, but 22-year-old Ella Neal knew something was seriously wrong. A persistent, unusual abdominal pain was keeping her up at night and distracting her from her studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date August 25, 2021
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Patient Care    Lung Cancer    Clinical Trials

Traveling to CU Cancer Center for a Lung Cancer Clinical Trial

David Kooyman transferred his care to University of Colorado Cancer Center member and associate professor of thoracic oncology, Tejas Patil, MD, to be part of a clinical trial to help with his rare lung cancer gene fusion.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date August 19, 2021
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Patient Care    Pancreatic Cancer    Surgical Oncology

The Pancreatic Cancer Battle That Bonded a Patient and His Physician

Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, becomes close with all of his patients, but he has a special bond with Gerry Turner, one of Schulick’s surgical patients for pancreatic cancer.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date August 18, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Support    Cancer

CU Cancer Center Celebrates National Cancer Survivors Day

National Cancer Survivors Day, June 6, 2021, is a day to recognize cancer survivors, bring attention to the ongoing challenges cancer survivors face, and celebrate life. 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 01, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Esophageal Cancer    Surgical Oncology    Clinical Trials

Investigating a Better Treatment Sequence for Esophageal Cancer

Looking for better ways to treat patients with esophageal cancer, University of Colorado Cancer Center member Martin McCarter, MD, is investigating whether a new treatment sequence will result in better outcomes.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date May 25, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Community    Lung Cancer

From Debilitating Chemo to One Pill a Day for Lung Cancer

One of the most difficult nights of Hank Baskett Sr.’s life was the night he told his wife he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date May 24, 2021
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Patient Care    Blood Cancer    Leukemia    Magazine    Clinical Trials

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Won’t Slow World Champion Triathlete Down

Siri Lindley couldn’t swim. She had never learned how and the idea of competing in a triathlon seemed completely out of the question.


Author Jessica Cordova | Publish Date May 16, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Patient’s Advice: Take It One Treatment at a Time

It feels odd to use the phrase “perfect timing” when talking about a cancer diagnosis, but that’s exactly how Tonya Quinn describes her experience being diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.  


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date May 12, 2021
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Patient Care    Pediatric Cancer    Magazine

CU Cancer Center Technology Gives Kids a Welcome Distraction During Radiation Treatment

Thirty days of radiation treatments — five days a week, with Saturdays and Sundays off — are difficult for even the toughest of adults. But for a child, they’re even harder to bear. They involve fasting, waking up early, and lying in a dark room alone, without even your parents there for support.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 21, 2021
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Patient Care    Colorectal Cancer    Magazine

Helping Low-Income Patients Navigate the Cancer Screening Process

Pablo Garcia started to worry when he began experiencing unusual stomach symptoms. He worried even more when his doctor at the Salud Family Health Center in Longmont, Colorado, ordered a colonoscopy to check for signs of colon cancer. Pablo was unfamiliar with the procedure, the preparation, and the hospital where the test was to take place. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 14, 2021
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Patient Care    Philanthropy    Prostate Cancer    Magazine

An Engineer Tackles the Problem of Prostate Cancer as a Patient and Financial Donor

Ashton Villars has always been a problem solver. As a competitive athlete in basketball, waterskiing, and tennis and an actual rocket scientist, Villars has tackled every challenge in life head on — including his prostate cancer diagnosis. Now, he’s bringing that same problem-solving spirit to supporting cancer research. 


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date March 05, 2021
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Patient Care    COVID-19    Colorectal Cancer

The Importance of Getting Your Cancer Screening and Treatment During a Pandemic

There’s never a good time for a cancer diagnosis, but it’s especially difficult in the middle of a pandemic, when concerns about safety compound the worry and anxiety that come along with hearing, “you have cancer.”


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date January 06, 2021
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Patient Care    Bladder Cancer    Cancer

To Live: Artist Shelley Kerr’s Sculptures Explore the Battle, Journey and Gratitude of Five Years With Stage IV Cancer

“Have you ever had a dream when you wake up and everything is just kind of vibrating? It doesn’t make any sense but it kind of points the way?” asks Fort Collins artist and musician, Shelley Kerr. 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date July 16, 2020
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Patient Care    Breast Cancer

BFitBWell Strengthens Cancer Survivors

In late 2019, two remarkable women were brought together by a shared experience that could only happen at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health & Wellness Center. Through their participation in the BFitBWell Program for cancer survivors, they found renewed strength and friendship.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 30, 2020
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Patient Care    Skin Cancer    Magazine    Melanoma

Melanoma Skin Cancer Clinical Trial Provides Hope When Options Looked Bleak

“For Christmas, we took a family photo with all the grandkids,” says Sam’s wife, Janet. She went on to explain, “The kids wanted to take this photo because they thought Sam would not be here next Christmas.”


Author Jessica Cordova | Publish Date May 26, 2020
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Patient Care    Cancer

University of Colorado Cancer Center adds years back to bile duct cancer patient’s life

It is said that ignorance is bliss. In some cases, choosing to not acknowledge a “truth” or “fact” is detrimental to an individual. However, there are times when not knowing is the thing that keeps you going. Take Lydia Mallernee for example. When she was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2018, Lydia was unaware that she had two to eight months to live.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date February 27, 2020
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Patient Care

Do I Wait? Do I Not?

Cathy Noon (middle) and her supporters!

After 8 years of serving as the Mayor of the city of Centennial, Cathy Noon was ready for a vacation. A shocking diagnosis of late-stage pancreatic cancer turned her plans of rest and relaxation upside down. Now, Cathy’s care team at the University of Colorado Cancer Center is giving her what she desires most – time. 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date November 26, 2019
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Patient Care    Pancreatic Cancer

Guest Blog: A Blessed Survivor’s Story

I have been asked to share my story of being a very fortunate survivor of pancreatic cancer. At the time I am writing this I am one year out from my last treatment and have had all “clean” check-ups!


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date November 14, 2019
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Patient Care    Lung Cancer

Guest Blog: Good News and Bad News


Joe Schneider, Lung Cancer Survivor

“I have good news and bad news,” the ER doctor told me. I had been sent to the ER under the suspicion of a heart attack because of chest pains. “We took an x-ray of your chest. The good news is that your heart is fine. However, we found a large mass in your left lung. You probably have lung cancer. You should see someone about that.” Then he handed me a prescription for a very powerful pain killer. I did not see that as a good omen.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date November 06, 2019
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Patient Care    Prostate Cancer

“Miracle drug” helps patient with recurring prostate cancer find his inner-poet

For most people finding out that they have prostate cancer multiple times in the span of just a few years seem like a cruel joke. But Jonathan Ormes is not most people. After being told for the third time that he had the disease he decided to take a chance on a University of Colorado Cancer Center study drug that, so far, is controlling his cancer. Ormes is not letting prostate cancer slow him down. In fact, he is using his experience to create poetry.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 04, 2019
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Patient Care    Lung Cancer    Clinical Trials

Virtual clinical trial gives entrectinib edge over crizotinib against ROS1+ non-small cell lung cancer

Crizotinib and entrectinib are both active against ROS1+ non-small cell lung cancer. But which is best? The answer seems easy: Just compare the drugs’ clinical trial results. However, not all trials are created equal, and these differences in trial designs can lead to irrelevant comparisons – like comparing athletes’ running times without noting that one ran a kilometer while the other ran a mile. Now results from an innovative, “virtual” clinical trial presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting 2019 attempt to place crizotinib and entrectinib on an equal playing field. In this analysis, patients taking entrectinib were able to stay on treatment longer and had about almost 6 months longer progression-free survival than patients treated with crizotinib.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date May 30, 2019
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Patient Care    Colorectal Cancer

ASCO: 294 days between symptoms and diagnosis of colorectal cancer in young patients

The incidence of early onset colorectal cancer has increased nearly 50 percent in the last 30 years. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago aimed to identify factors that may aid in earlier diagnosis and treatment of the disease. 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date May 29, 2019
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Patient Care    Cancer    Medical Marijuana

Cancer care providers see benefit in medical marijuana, but not comfortable prescribing

A University of Colorado Cancer Center study presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting 2019 shows that while 73 percent of surveyed oncology providers believe that medical marijuana provides benefits for cancer patients, only 46 percent are comfortable recommending it. Major concerns included uncertain dosing, limited knowledge of available products and where to get them, and possible interactions with other medications.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date May 28, 2019
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Patient Care    Faculty    Breast Cancer

Treatment Guidelines for Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)

The use of textured breast implants during augmentation or reconstructive surgery can slightly increase a patient’s risk of developing Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a form of cancer that is distinct from other breast cancers. Now an article recently published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal formalizes the treatment strategy for this diagnosis, offering clear guidelines for plastic and oncologic surgeons. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and World Health Organization all recommend the surgical technique known as stepwise en bloc resection, which includes total capsulectomy (removing scar tissue  around the implant),  explantation (removal) of the implant, complete removal of any associated masses, and removal of any involved (proven by biopsy) or suspicious lymph nodes.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date March 12, 2019
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Patient Care    Awareness    Lung Cancer

Survivor Raises Money for Lung Cancer Research

Emily Daniels was 32 years-old and pregnant with her second child when she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  One year later, Emily presented a check for more than $100,000 to the Lung Cancer Colorado Fund (LCCF) bringing the fund over the $1 million mark.


Author Erika Matich | Publish Date February 28, 2019
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Research    Patient Care    Breast Cancer

For Breast Cancer Survivors, Group Exercise Beats Personal Training for Quality of Life

Study after study has shown that for cancer survivors, exercise is good. But what kind of exercise is best? A pilot study by Colorado researchers hints that group exercise and personal training may lead to similar physical gains, but that a specially designed class for cancer survivors incorporating group dynamics-strategies may increase quality of life beyond that of survivors using personal training. The study now results in a $718,000 grant from the American Cancer Society that will dramatically expand the program, including new offerings through University of Colorado Cancer Center at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. 


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date February 27, 2019
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Patient Care    Faculty    Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal Cancer Care Crosses State Lines

When Tom Donahue came to UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital (UCH), University of Colorado Cancer Center’s clinical partner, he thought he had a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s Esophagus. But Donahue had a diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus with high-grade dysplasia (precancerous cells) and an oncologist in Scottsbluff, Nebraska referred to him to UCH because he needed to see a specialist.  


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date February 05, 2019
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Patient Care    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Dog Bites Man, Saves Life

Tim Reagan saved Brady’s life, adopting the high-energy rescue dog from a shelter. Within a year, Brady returned the favor.


Author Erika Matich | Publish Date January 03, 2019
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Patient Care    Community    Faculty    Leukemia

Getting to the Root of Leukemia

The day before Joel Rutstein planned to leave for a week-long trip to Hawaii with his wife, Barbara, and their grown children, an oncologist in Fort Collins gave Joel bad news.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date January 03, 2019
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Patient Care    Lung Cancer

With the Right Care, Patients Now Living a Median 6.8 Years After Stage IV ALK+ Lung Cancer Diagnosis

According to the National Cancer Institute, patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) between the years 1995 and 2001 had 15 percent chance of being alive 5 years later. For patients with stage IV disease, describing cancer that has spread to distant sites beyond the original tumor, that statistic drops to 2 percent. Now a University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology tells a much more optimistic story. For stage IV NSCLC patients whose tumors test positive for rearrangements of the gene ALK (ALK+ NSCLC), treated at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital between 2009 and 2017, median overall survival was 6.8 years. This means that in this population, instead of only 2 percent of patients being alive 5 years after diagnosis, 50 percent of patients were alive 6.8 years after diagnosis.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date December 31, 2018
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Patient Care    Leukemia    Clinical Trials

91 Percent Response Rate for Venetoclax Against Newly Diagnosed AML in Older Adults

Clinical trial results published in the journal Nature Medicine show 91 percent response rate to the combination of venetoclax with azacitidine in older adults newly diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Of 33 patients given combination venetoclax and azacitidine, 20 experienced a complete response (aka complete remission) and eight experienced a complete response but with continued low blood counts. Of the three patients who did not respond to treatment, two discontinued the study before the first week due to personal reasons unrelated to treatment or side-effects.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date November 29, 2018
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Patient Care    Brain and Spinal Cancer    Clinical Trials

Drummer Finds New Rhythm after CU Cancer Center Clinical Trial

Bob Rupp is a drummer. He works with the best musicians in the world and he’s celebrated for his contributions to the music scene in the Metro Area. There is even a day in his honor in the City and County of Denver.


Author Erika Matich | Publish Date January 31, 2018
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Patient Care    Breast Cancer    Cancer    Surgical Oncology

In Breast Surgery, Sometimes Less is More

Last year when surgeon Gretchen Ahrendt, MD, was considering a move from the University of Pittsburgh to accept the position of Director of the Diane O’Connor Thompson Breast Center on the Anschutz Campus, she and her husband, Steven – also a surgical oncologist – agreed their three daughters would have to support the move.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date December 07, 2017
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Research    Patient Care    Lung Cancer

Blood Tumor Markers May Warn When Lung Cancer Patients Are Progressing on Targeted Treatments

For many years, oncologists have known that cancers can secrete complex molecules into the blood and that levels of these molecules can be easily measured. These so-called ‘tumor markers’ are traditionally associated with a single dominant cancer type, for example Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) linked to prostate cancer, Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) to colorectal cancer, CA125 to ovarian cancer, CA19.9 to pancreatic cancer and CA27.29 to breast cancer. However, the real challenge has been to determine a practical use for these markers. They don’t appear to be useful as a means of screening otherwise healthy people for evidence of underlying cancers.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date September 06, 2017
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Patient Care    Faculty    Colorectal Cancer

Young Colon Cancer Patient Finds Hope at CU Cancer Center

With long blonde hair, a fit physique, and an overwhelmingly positive attitude, Katy Davenport hardly looks like someone who is enduring cancer. Yet at 34 years old Katy went in for a precautionary colonoscopy after noticing some blood in her stool. Her doctor was shocked to discover a tumor.


Author Taylor Abarca | Publish Date March 02, 2015
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CU Cancer Center In the News

News Medical

Study shows effectiveness of treating pancreatic cancer patients with chemotherapy before surgery

news outletNews Medical
Publish DateJune 19, 2024

A new study led by University of Colorado Cancer Center member Marco Del Chiaro, MD, PhD, reveals that nearly 5% of pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients achieved a pathological complete response (pCR) after pre-surgical chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. This significant finding indicates that patients with pCR have a 63% five-year survival rate, compared to 30% for those without pCR, suggesting the potential for tailored treatments to improve outcomes.

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Cancer Network

Liso-cel May Show Benefit in Earlier Therapy Lines for Lymphoma Subgroups

news outletCancer Network
Publish DateJune 14, 2024

In a conversation at the 2024 European Hematology Association Congress, CU Cancer Center member Manali Kamdar, MD, discussed potential future research on lisocabtagene maraleucel (liso-cel; Breyanzi) for mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and other lymphoma subgroups. She highlighted findings from the phase 1 TRANSCEND NHL 001 trial, noting improved efficacy and safety in patients with fewer prior therapies and non-refractory disease, suggesting liso-cel's utility in earlier treatment lines and specific lymphoma subgroups.

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Cancer Health

2024 Cancer Health 25: People Who Power Clinical Trials

news outletCancer Health
Publish DateJune 11, 2024

This year's Cancer Health 25 highlights the transformative power and promise of clinical trials. University of Colorado Cancer Center member Jessica McDermott, MD, MSCS, is leading clinical trials at both the CU Cancer Center and the Rocky Mountain Regional Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Additionally, she serves as the CU Cancer Center's deputy associate director for diversity and inclusion in clinical research.

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Cancer Network

Learning to “Aim High” Within Male-Dominated Fields in Public Health

news outletCancer Network
Publish DateJune 10, 2024

Cathy Bradley, PhD, deputy director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center and dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, is a trailblazer in health economics. At a Breaking Barriers: Women in Oncology discussion, she shared insights on overcoming challenges as a woman in a male-dominated field and discussed her research on the impact of employment on cancer patients' health insurance decisions.

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