It's better to prevent cancer than to treat it, and if cancer does develop, it's important to detect it early. At WhidbeyHealth, we're committed to supporting prevention and early detection efforts in our community.
Breast cancer and colon cancer are frequently treated at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center. The state-funded Breast Cervical and Colon Health Program (BCCHP) screens qualified women for breast and cervical cancer, and both men and women for colon cancer — cancers that are curable if found early.
Everyone is encouraged to have a screening colonoscopy at age 50 and, based on results, regularly thereafter. A colonoscopy is an essential means of early detection for colorectal cancer, which may lead to a greater chance of surviving this form of cancer.
It is estimated that half of all men and a third of all women will develop cancer at some point in their lives. Learn some ways to protect yourself and your loved ones. The American Cancer Society website features "Stay Healthy," which includes videos and other important information on cancer prevention, screening and early detection. Sections include:
Whether you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, knowing what to expect can help you cope.
Our competent and compassionate team is here to answer your questions and help you navigate the journey.
From the initial diagnosis to treatment options and their impact we’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure you have access to the support and resources you and your family need.
Our multi-specialty team approach ensures:
Our goal is to make each visit as easy and comfortable for you as possible.
For the convenience of new patients, we’re providing background documents that can expedite your check in process.
Please print out these forms, fill them in and bring them with you to your appointment:
Cancer treatment can be very expensive and we want to help you understand as much as you can to alleviate any added stress as you start your cancer journey.
WhidbeyHealth accepts most insurance plans. Our Financial Services Team will gather and review all necessary information to determine if our services will be covered by your insurance plan before making an appointment for you.
Once your oncologist decides the appropriate treatment for you, our financial navigators will calculate the cost covered by your insurance and an estimate of how much you may be responsible for.
The financial navigator will meet with you so that you will know your financial obligation before you make a decision to move forward with treatment.
Surgery is often the first treatment for cancer. A surgeon might obtain a biopsy for diagnosis or remove the tumor itself. Radiation and chemotherapy before surgery may shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove.
WhidbeyHealth has experienced, board-certified general surgeons. Even if you need specialized surgery off-island, you can return to WhidbeyHealth for medical oncology care ─ chemotherapy and ongoing monitoring of the cancer.
Chemotherapy/immune therapy is another form of treatment and can be given intravenously [IV] or orally in pill form.
Most chemotherapy is given intravenously [IV] in our light-filled outpatient infusion center by experienced oncology nurses.
We have eight treatment chairs with numerous amenities in a supportive and comfortable environment.
It is also becoming more common for oncologists to prescribe oral chemotherapy/ immunotherapy treatment that comes in the form of pills or capsules. Oral treatment allows you to receive treatment at home but still requires special instructions and needs close monitoring by your healthcare team.
We know chemotherapy can be a challenging experience for patients and loved ones. Our compassion, expertise and understanding come from years of providing excellent care to cancer patients receiving these therapies. You are in good hands.
Cancer care is usually managed by a medical oncologist. Our team of board-certified medical oncologists, including Wendy Wang, MD, PhD, Andrew Yang, MD, Amir Mehrvarz, MD and Peter Jiang, MD, PhD are responsible for ordering chemotherapy/immunotherapy and work closely with other providers involved in your care.
Most cancer care can be managed on Whidbey. If specialized care such as stem cell transplants or a research protocol is needed, your medical oncologist will refer you accordingly and help coordinate care. We want to help you stay in your community as much as possible.
Highly skilled nurses administer chemotherapy/immunotherapy and teach patients how to manage symptoms they may experience with these medications.
Better symptom management helps ensure the person tolerates treatment well and stays on schedule. If they do, there is a higher success rate to beat the cancer.
Radiation therapy is the third form of treatment and is usually given five days per week for two to six weeks. Radiation therapy is a portion of total cancer care, so patients do not need to get both chemo and radiation care off-island.
Therapy is coordinated with radiation centers in Sedro Woolley at United General Hospital, in Mt. Vernon at Skagit Regional Cancer Center and in Everett at Providence Regional Cancer Center.
Referrals are usually made based on patient preference and convenience. A van is available from United General for those with transportation concerns.
"After surgery, my lifeline to knowledge was my wound-ostomy continence nurse."
Wound Ostomy Continence patient
WhidbeyHealth has a certified Ostomy specialist to help patients who:
Ostomy nurses are trained to evaluate and recommend pouching systems, develop rehab plans, assist in selecting pre-operative stoma sites with an eye to post-op independence, and offer patients and their families both education and care.
WhidbeyHealth Cancer Center has an 8 chair infusion suite. Our team can infuse most all chemotherapy/immunotherapy medications with the exception of trial medications.
We also provide infusion of blood products and non-oncology infusions such as hydration, antibiotics and medications ordered by outside primary care providers and specialists such as neurology, rheumatology and allergy.
You can receive infusion therapy here at WhidbeyHealth even if your doctor or oncologist is off island.
To get started, you will need a referral from:
A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is on staff to assist you in managing your diet during cancer treatment and care.
There can be several side effects from cancer treatment or other variables which can affect your nutritional intake. Here are some guides to help you navigate the best diet during treatment. Look for nutrients to try to include or remove from your diet to maximize your health.
Upon your request, staff or patient self-referrals will be generated to support your care. Please find helpful Nutrition and Wellness information below.
Anemia ─ Iron rich foods can help restore energy and give you the boost you need during treatment
Constipation ─ Nutrition therapy for constipation includes adding high fiber foods to your diet.
Diarrhea ─ To avoid diarrhea, it may be helpful to add these lower fiber foods to your diet.
Food safety ─ Fend off any increased infection risk through food safety nutrition therapy. https://www.nutritioncaremanual.org/client_ed.cfm?ncm_client_ed_id=352
Neutropenic/low microbial diet
Nausea and vomiting ─ Tips to control nausea and vomiting with nutrition therapy.
Underweight ─ Here are some suggestions for increasing calories and protein to bring your weight back to balance https://www.nutritioncaremanual.org/client_ed.cfm?ncm_client_ed_id=54
Increasing calories and protein
Our medical oncologists are partners within the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership. Providence Everett has a large number of oncology clinical trials that our physicians participate in.
If your oncologist believes you are a potential candidate for a clinical trial they will discuss this option with you. They are also aware of other trials going on in Seattle. If they believe one of these trials would be beneficial, and you are interested, they will refer you to see someone.
Cancer treatment is demanding enough without the long commutes, traffic jams and ferry lines you may experience going off-island for care. Save your energy for healing. You don't have to leave Whidbey Island for high-quality cancer care.
WhidbeyHealth’s cancer care program is proud to have received accreditation by the Commission on Cancer (COC). The CoC recognizes cancer care programs that are committed to high-quality, comprehensive care.
The CoC is dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard- setting, which promotes cancer prevention, research, education and monitoring of comprehensive quality care.
After an extensive review of the quality of our care, the Commission on Cancer re-accredited our Cancer Care Program in 2018. The Commission on Cancer accreditation process occurs every three years.
WhidbeyHealth Medical Center’s Cancer Center has also received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer in the past.