From Our Founder

Laurence J. Heifetz, MD, FACP
Headshot of Laurence J. Heifetz

Welcome to our 2017 Spring/Summer edition of Tahoe Cancer News. This issue contains an overview of useful programs available here at the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center. Keep it for your reference.

Radiation Oncology

Many of you may require radiation oncology as a significant component of your therapy. Dr. Daphne Palmer, MD, FACRO, our Medical Director of Radiation Oncology, has explained the entire process of how these decisions are made, how your treatment is designed, and how the therapy is delivered. It is a clear example of functional multidisciplinary discussions within the cancer center as well as with our colleagues at UC Davis. Dr. Palmer is also my wife, but don’t hold that against her.

Couples Counseling

For the majority of my career, oncologists tended to expect the family to just “suck it up and deal.” Recognizing this as a behavior issue for oncologists, we have developed caregiver programs for our patients. Kirk Ditterich, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist, has written a helpful piece on couples counseling that addresses many of the experiences you might be going through.

Nurse Navigation

We are very proud of our nurse navigation program. Under the leadership of Karen Aaron, RN, BSN, OCN, CN, BN, coordination of visits with all of their physicians is much more functional for our patients. She has given you very useful advice that will help you gain more control over this experience.

Eat for Defense

Conflicting volumes have been written on nutrition and your immune system. Heather Lutz, MS, RD, CSO, our Medical Nutritional Therapist, has addressed this confusion and refined it down for you so you can understand how to help yourselves by eating smarter.

Keep Moving

We’ve all become more aware of the value of mobility for numerous medical conditions; cancer is one of them. Michele Larson, PT, CLT-LANA, presents the data that makes this absolutely clear that we all should be exercising and staying mobile. Her suggestions are easy to carry out, so just do it.  Our “Exercise for Energy” program is available to you at the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center as well as Incline Village Community Hospital.


“Big Data” is a current buzzword in healthcare along with almost every other academic, scientific and social discipline. We have been honored to have our program accepted into the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s CancerLinQ™ project. The CancerLinQ™ team has brought us into the rarified atmosphere of high quality medical practices across the country enabling us to share blinded de-identified information and answer meaningful clinical questions that often were subject to guesswork instead of true knowledge. We are very proud of this achievement.


Nikki Dean, E-RYT 500, CES, BS, our totally cool yoga instructor, has given you some easy to use instructions that will keep you smiling. What a nice way to recharge your batteries any time you need to!

I hope this newsletter continues to be helpful to you. Your feedback is greatly appreciated, so please feel free to reach out to us with any useful suggestions.

Laurence J Heifetz, MD, FACP