Binaytara Foundation holds 5th NW Cancer Patient Summit

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — About 50 patients, caregivers, and others interested in cancer care attended the Fifth Northwest Cancer Patient Summit on Oct. 20 at the PeaceHealth Community Health Education Center to learn from local cancer experts.

The event, hosted by the Binaytara Foundation, included talks on immunotherapy, sexual aftermath of cancer, marijuana and cancer, and complimentary therapies. The free events are held quarterly and open to the public.

Featured speakers included Fred Hutch News Service’s Diane Mapes, Virginia Mason oncologist Dr. Joseph Rosales, naturopath Dr. Paul de Jong, and Binaytara Foundation President Dr. Binay Shah.

Dr. Shah kicked off the event explaining side effects of immunotherapy. This breakthrough form of cancer treatment, which targets a patient’s cancer with their own immune system, has received extensive hype but still has its fair share of harmful side effects, Dr. Shah said. These might include, fatigue, nausea, mouth sores, rashes, and more.

Mapes spoke next about an often overlooked aspect of treatment: the sexual aftermath of cancer.

“No matter what kind of cancer you have, the surgery and treatment you go through will have a profound effect on all aspects of your life, including your sex life,” Mapes said.

She discussed ways in which cancer can effect one’s sex life and ways to get past those negative effects.

Dr. Rosales dove into the science of marijuana and how it might be used to treat cancer symptoms. Currently, he said, there are no good studies related to cancer and marijuana but that studies may be coming to help physicians understand its effects.

Dr. de Jong rounded out the event by discussing alternative therapies to cancer treatment. He talked about complementing patients’ cancer treatment as to not interfere with what the patient’s oncologist had prescribed.

The Binaytara Foundation has been hosting these free education events since 2017 in Bellingham and Mount Vernon. The next event is set for Feb. 23, 2019 in Bellingham. To learn more and register, visit

Contact: Development Director Aaron Weinberg at 360–639–4063