From Our Founder

Laurence J Heifetz, MD, FACP
Laurence J. Heifetz, Founder of Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center

Welcome to our Winter 2017 edition of Tahoe Cancer News. In this issue we are offering you an overview of some creative programs here at the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center. It’s loaded with useful information, so hold on to it!

For new breast cancer patients, we have a program that matches you with a “seasoned veteran” breast cancer patient, adding their unique experience in a productive manner. Ann Ajari, LCSW, describes in excellent detail our WeCARE!™ Peer Navigator program offered in conjunction with the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.

After 37 years as an oncologist, I am impressed that comprehensive cancer care must include a whole lot more than just making a diagnosis and getting therapy. We now recognize that the entire patient/family structure is affected by this diagnosis. Cathey Bervid, RNP, our Director of Clinical Services, shares information about our palliative care program and beautifully describes how it integrates into a more holistic approach for our patients.

I actually played in a blues band with Lynelle Tyler before I knew that she was working on her PhD. She completed her studies and joined our team as a psychotherapist as well as an incredible music therapist. She describes neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to create new connections, and how this process can be useful for managing a malignancy as well as some side effects of therapy.

In our last issue, Kirk Ditterich, PsyD, shared the importance of talking to reduce the stress of a cancer diagnosis. In this issue you will meet a financial counselor – one of the most useful people you might ever need as a patient here! Our financial counselors will explain our methods of addressing financial stress relief.

Lastly, you will remember Dr. Melissa Kaime’s article on waking up the immune system to fight cancer. In this issue Dr. Thomas Semrad builds on the topic of new therapies with his excellent overview of targeted cancer therapies and how they differ from traditional chemotherapy.

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