Program Highlights

Overview of Providence Cancer Center programs
Providence cancer programs provide a three-pronged approach to cancer: treatment programs, screening and prevention, and research (in many types of cancers) that functions bench-to-bedside in bringing new treatment options to current and future patients.

Read an overview of our cancer programs.

Here are some program highlights for 2012:

Breast cancer

Accreditation: Providence Cancer Center achieved important accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NABC).

  • At Providence Breast Care Clinic, patients who may be at higher risk of breast cancer can meet with a team of breast health experts for a high-risk evaluation that includes diagnostic services, family history and breast exam. The team then can provide information about patients’ potential risk for breast cancer, followed by a personalized care plan to help prevent breast cancer.
  • Providence Breast Centers-Imaging Services offer comprehensive access to state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging techniques to ensure accurate and timely diagnoses.
  • Breast registry:
    • Created method to capture data from patients’ breast biopsy reports to categorize diagnoses in improved format, allowing for better clinical follow up for patients and for conducting new research projects.
    • Analyzed data for NAPBC accreditation from breast centers at Providence St. Vincent and Providence Portland medical centers.
    • Presented research from the registry to national meetings, including to: NIH National Women’s Health Congress; American Society of Breast Surgeons; and American College of Surgeons.

Colorectal cancer

Providence Colorectal Cancer Program offers state-of-the-art diagnostic and minimally invasive surgical options for patients with cancer of the intestinal tract, rectum, anus or peri-anal area. The program brings together experts in highly specialized areas to work as a multidisciplinary, patient-focused team. Collaboration among multiple specialties including gastroenterologists, surgeons, pathologists, radiation and medical oncologists, cancer genetics experts and oncology social workers.

Living life to the fullest after colorectal cancer: Doug Dallman, a Providence patient who is a survivor of stage III rectal cancer, talks about the importance of colorectal screening and how Providence helped him return to his active life of hiking, cycling and mountain climbing.

Advances in treating colorectal liver: Of the 150,000 Americans who develop colon and rectal cancer each year, about half will develop liver metastases. Surgical oncologist Ron Wolf, M.D., explains that advances in liver surgery, ablative techniques, interventional radiology and chemotherapy have transformed survival expectations dramatically.

Gynecological cancers

  • Ovarian cancer tissue research: Collaborated to collect patient tissue samples for more than 50 patients; data presented in national meetings and institutional research meetings; manuscript in preparation for publication.
  • Clinical trial CANVAS: Began patient screening for a multinational, multicenter, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial for maintenance treatment in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer that’s in complete remission following first-line chemotherapy.
  • Community outreach: Conducted educational events and screenings, with a targeted focus in Asian communities, related to gynecological and breast cancers.


In 2012, Providence Cancer Center launched its multidisciplinary melanoma tumor board.

Our research team made important advances in developing new therapies for patients with advanced melanoma, using radiotherapy and interleukin 2 (SBRT + IL-2):

Oral, head and neck cancers

Providence Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Program offers hope to patients with benign and malignant tumors of the oral cavity (mouth), tongue, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), nose, paranasal sinuses, salivary glands and thyroid gland, as well as tumors at the skull base.

  • Opened Providence Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Clinic to treat these conditions. Our multidisciplinary treatment team includes physicians, dentists, nurses, speech pathologists, audiologists, nutritionists and social workers, who work together to provide optimal tumor control and maximum functional and aesthetic outcomes.

Radiation oncology

  • Publication and ongoing research with Providence Cancer Center focuses on radiation-modulated tumor immunology treatment strategies
  • Electronic health records: Successful compliance/reporting to the federal government on meaningful use criteria of our EHR system; integration of new Epic connected care system
  • Gamma Knife – Gamma Knife is the most advanced radiosurgical tool available to treat a variety of brain lesions and disorders, including cancers of the brain. This non-invasive technology allows experts to focus treatment on precise targets within the brain. The Gamma Knife Center of Oregon at Providence treated more than 1,800 patients by the end of 2012.

Palliative care

Providence Oncology Palliative Care Program at Providence Cancer Center provides support for patients and their families as they deal with a serious cancer diagnosis. The program provides a wide range of physical, emotional and spiritual support to patients at two Portland area locations – at Providence Portland Medical Center and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. With the primary goal of improving quality of life, our palliative care team helps patients with pain relief, depression, guidance in treatment decisions, navigation within the health care system, home health care, nutrition counseling, and enhanced communication with doctors and family members.