My Knight Cancer Story

At the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, we offer cancer care as unique as you are. These stories about our patients’ experiences show how our personal cancer care sets us apart. From medicines that work with individual DNA, to advanced surgery and lifesaving transplants, you’ll learn how our compassionate cancer experts work together to design the right treatment for every patient.

Colorectal Cancer Story


I had my first colonoscopy when I was 53. They said I didn’t need to return for 15 years, but several years later, I wasn’t feeling right, so I asked for another. I was glad I did: I had colon cancer. 

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Colorectal Cancer Story

Michelle Barnes and baby

Michelle Barnes was a bit more than 20 weeks pregnant when she noticed blood in her stool. At just 29 years old, colon cancer was the last thing on her mind... 

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Head and Neck Cancer Story


Getting diagnosed with tongue cancer was especially scary news for a competitive singer like Lorraine. When she met with Peter Andersen, M.D. he assured her he would do everything to preserve her vocal cords so she could sing again.

Read Lorraine’s story

Breast Cancer Story

Amy - My Knight Cancer StoryDuring my treatment for breast cancer, I had the opportunity to select a new oncologist. I chose Dr. Jacqueline Vuky: I liked that she was affiliated with the OHSU Knight Cancer Insitute and had a special interest in breast cancer.

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Breast Cancer Story

A forester's work pays off in research

My Knight Cancer Story - NancyI had just finished a run last October when I noticed a lump in my breast. It turned out to be a benign tumor, and I had surgery to remove it. At my follow-up appointment, however, I learned that there was invasive breast cancer next to the benign tumor that had been removed. Read Nancy's Story

AYA story

New in Town and Facing Colon Cancer

Caron Blau Rothstein Caron Blau Rothstein had just moved to Portland when she found out she had colon cancer. She was only 35. Thanks to treatment with Knight Cancer Institute’s partner Pacific Oncology and help from the Adolescent and Young Adult program, she recovered her health and found a supportive community. Read Caron’s story

Bone marrow story

A Second Chance to Beat “Incurable” Leukemia

Teisha Helgerson Her first doctor told Teisha Helgerson her leukemia had no cure. But the 33-year-old wasn’t giving up just yet. She contacted experts at Knight Cancer Institute for a second opinion, and a bone marrow transplant gave her a second chance at life. Read Teisha’s story

Breast cancer story

Feisty Reporter Takes on Breast Cancer

Shellie Bailey-Shah For years, TV reporter Shellie Bailey-Shah has fought for consumers’ rights. But when she learned she had breast cancer, she was the one who needed advice and support. At Knight Cancer Institute, she met nurse navigator Martha McInnes and a team of breast cancer experts who helped her win the fight of her life. Read Shellie’s story

Colorectal cancer story

Stage 4 Colon Cancer is Treatable

Angie LaRoche Angie Laroche thought her intestinal symptoms were just part of getting older. When she finally mentioned them to her doctor, a colonoscopy revealed she had Stage 4 colon cancer. After surgery and chemotherapy at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Angie is telling other people to speak up about their digestive health. Read Angie’s story

Liver cancer stories

Curious George, Knight Cancer Team Help Patient with Liver Cancer

Tony EspositoStomach cramps sent Anthony Esposito to the emergency room. When they removed his ruptured spleen, doctors found liver cancer. To get the best treatment, Anthony made the trip from Grants Pass to Knight Cancer Institute, taking along the Curious George another cancer survivor gave him for good luck. Read Anthony’s story


Could Your Poodle Diagnose Liver Cancer? Knight Cancer Institute Team Gets Pet Owner Back to Health

Debbie Hansen and MauriceDeborah Hansen knew something was wrong when her toy poodle refused to leave her side. Her constant pain wasn’t just another symptom of her fibromyalgia -- it was liver cancer. Her Salem oncologist sent her to the Knight Cancer Institute for personal cancer care from a team of experienced surgeons. Read Deborah’s story

Lung cancer story

Personalized Medicine for Lung Cancer: Genetic Screening Matches Patient with New Drug

Betsy Milligan When her lung cancer progressed, Betsy Milligan was running out of options. But Alan Sandler, M.D. , of the Knight Cancer Institute found she carried a gene mutation that made her a candidate for the new drug Tarceva, available through a clinical trial. Read Betsy’s story

Prostate cancer story

Latest Prostate Cancer Surgery Gets Emergency Worker Back to Saving Lives, Stat

Peter Mackwell Hood River paramedic and firefighter Peter Mackwell knows a life-and-death situation when he sees one, so he knew prostate cancer was serious. After a personal consultation with Christopher Amling, M.D ., at the Knight Cancer Institute, he had an advanced, less invasive surgery that let him go home the next day – and get back to saving lives sooner. Read Peter’s story

Sarcoma story

Finding Hope -- and the Right Specialist to Treat a Rare Cancer

Sisters MountainFive years after she was diagnosed with an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma, Patricia Beck hopes to dance at her children’s weddings. She relies on James Hayden, M.D., and other Knight Cancer Institute specialists to give her the best future. Read Patricia’s story