Binaytara Foundation hosts 4th Northwest Cancer Patient Summit
BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The Binaytara Foundation hosted the Fourth Northwest Cancer Patient Summit on June 16, 2018, at PeaceHealth St. Luke’s Community Health Education Center.
The free summit, attended by nearly 50 people, provided an opportunity for patients and their family members, advocates, caregivers, and others to learn about cancer from local experts. The summits fill an important gap in education for cancer patients, who are often left to face the disease with little information other than from their physician.
“We want to empower patients with these events,” said Binaytara Foundation President Dr. Binay Shah. “As a patient, you are your own best advocate.”
Speakers included Oncologist and Hematologist Dr. Shah, Pathologist Dr. Greg Wolgamot, Naturopath Dr. Maria Putney, and Nutritionist Catherine Flanagan.
Dr. Wolgamot kicked off the summit by talking about changes in the way cancer is targeted. He said the closer you look at someone’s cancer, the better it can be treated.
“Everyone’s DNA is different and everyone has their own custom cancer,” Dr. Wolgamot said. “The closer you look at the cancer and its mutations, the more effectively it can be treated. This is a new era.”
Dr. Shah followed up Wolgamot by providing information on precision medicine in cancer treatment, which is an approach that selects treatments that are most likely to help patients based on a genetic understanding of the patient’s disease.
“The hope is that treatment will one day be tailored to the genetic changes in each person’s cancer,” Shah said. “There have been terrific advancements but we are not quite there yet.”
He encouraged patients in attendance to ask their doctors about clinical trials in precision medicine.
Dr. Putney and Flanagan ended the summit by talking about marijuana use by cancer patients, and nutrition, respectively.
This was the fourth Northwest Cancer Patient Summit hosted by the Binaytara Foundation since 2017. Summits have been held in Bellingham and Mount Vernon.
The Binaytara Foundation is an international cancer health nonprofit based in Bellingham. Along with local cancer patient summits, the foundation is establishing a comprehensive cancer center in Nepal and expanding palliative care services in India. The foundation also hosts annual physician education conferences, including the Sixth International Conference on Advances in Hematology and Oncology from Aug. 4–5 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Aaron Weinberg, Binaytara Foundation Development Director, 360–639–4063