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Minnesota Oncology News                                                                             May 2016
In This Issue
Upcoming Events & Support Groups

NurseAwards2016Six Minnesota Oncology Nurses Named 2016 Outstanding Nurse Awards Finalists
Six Minnesota Oncology nurses were named finalists in three different categories ofMpls.St. Paul Magazine's 2016 Outstanding Nurses Awards. This year marks the fifth year of the Outstanding Nurses Awards. Finalists are chosen from among a large number of nurses who are nominated by colleagues and supervisors and by patients and families of patients. Two of Minnesota Oncology's finalists were selected for more than one category. Of the total 77 finalists, Minnesota Oncology nurses accounted for 10 percent of the list.

According to Mpls. St. Paul Magazine: "Nominations were read and assessed by contributing editor Stephanie Wilbur Ash and these three nurse judges. Nominations were assessed on a seven-point rubric that included: professionalism, bedside manner, patient interaction, credentials and experience, impact on an organization, leadership, and an "it" factor exemplifying kindness, compassion, and empathy. Additional weight was given to those who received multiple nominations from a variety of sources, and to those nominated by their patients or their patients' families."

Outstanding Nurse Award winners will be announced on Thursday, July 14, 6 p.m., at Minneapolis Event Center.

Read more about the selection process and see the full list of finalists  here.

Congratulations to the following 2016 Outstanding Nurse Award Finalists from Minnesota Oncology!
  • Caitlin Altrichter (Minneapolis Clinic - gyncolologic oncology nurse) - Clinic Setting
  • Beth Berg (Plymouth WestHealth Clinic) - Clinic Setting
  • Linda Clementi (Fridley Clinic) - Clinic Setting
  • Katie Houselog, CNP (Minneapolis Clinic) - Advanced Practice and Cancer categories
  • Bryn Thompson (Minneapolis Clinic) - Cancer and Clinic Setting categories
  • Becky Tukua (Woodbury) - Clinic Setting
ThurmesKARE11Dr. Paul Thurmes Interviewed by KARE 11 News
Minnesota Oncology physician Dr. Paul Thurmes was featured in a story on  KARE 11  News this week regarding the results of a new study showing that 40 percent of advanced melanoma patients were alive three years after taking a new cancer drug. Watch the story here:
OncoFertilityFox9Minnesota Oncology Fertility Preservation Program Featured on Fox 9 News

Doctors including Michaela Tsai, MD, at Minnesota Oncology and Virginia Piper Cancer Institute are part of a nationwide movement to help patients understand and make fertility plans before they begin treatment for cancer. Fox 9 News recently featured Dr. Tsai and her patient who made the decision to freeze her eggs before starting chemotherapy after a breast cancer diagnosis. Watch the story here:
FoodsafetyFood Safety and Cancer Treatment

One of a cancer patient's first questions to the Dietitian or their provider is, "Do I need to avoid any foods during my treatment?" 

In general, there are few foods cancer patients need to avoid. However, following safe food handling and food preparation guidelines, and avoiding foods high in risk for foodborne illness should be practiced.

Learn the basic steps to food safety here.
Minnesota Oncology Introduces Sexual Health Program

Both during and after cancer treatment, you may notice physical and emotional changes in the way you feel about your body and about sex. This is a common reaction to treatments such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and surgery. You may also feel uncomfortable talking to your doctor or your partner about these changes.

At Minnesota Oncology, we believe all patients should have access to straightforward information about the ways cancer can affect sexuality. We offer private, compassionate counseling, consultation, and education to help you cope with these changes and find solutions.

Minnesota Oncology's  Sexual Health Program is committed to addressing patients' concerns about sexual health as an integral part of their care, from diagnosis and treatment through survivorship. The program provides personalized education and consultation for patients and their partners who have experienced changes in sexual health during and after cancer treatment.

"We believe this program is an important addition to providing comprehensive cancer care to our patients," said program lead Jennifer Hierlinger, RN, ANP. " The goal of these visits is to help patients better understand the changes they are experiencing in regard to their sexual health, normalize their feelings and then assist them in exploring helpful tools and resources."

Our Services

The Sexual Health Program provides services for women and men, individuals and couples. The program is open to all Minnesota Oncology patients and is available at most clinic locations. Our services include:
  • Sexual rehabilitation counseling for individuals and couples, including coping with menopausal symptoms, erectile dysfunction, discomfort during intercourse, decreased desire, and changes in body image
  • Coping with infertility-related distress
  • Educational workshops
Our Sexual Health Program Care Team and Locations
Minnesota Oncology's Sexual Health Program will be led by specially trained advanced practice providers and will be available at most of our 11 clinic locations.  For more information about the Sexual Health Program or to schedule an appointment, please contact one of the following clinics:
  • Burnsville Clinic: (952) 892-7190
  • Chaska Clinic: (952) 361-5800
  • Coon Rapids Clinic: (763) 712-2100
  • Edina Clinic: (952) 928-2900
  • Minneapolis Clinic: (612) 884-6300
  • Plymouth WestHealth Clinic: (763) 519-7440
  • Waconia Clinic: (952) 442-6006
  • Woodbury Clinic: (651) 735-7414
  GildasClubMN Oncology Provider to Present on Sexual Health and Cancer at Gilda's Club Twin Cities
Gilda's Club Twin Cities invites you to come participate in an open, honest discussion about issues related to female sexual health during and after a cancer diagnosis. We will explore the reasons why so many women experience changes in their sexual health after cancer treatment and discuss ways to improve your intimate experiences specifically related to body image, libido, pain, and difficulty with arousal.   

Jennifer Hierlinger, RN, ANP, is an Advanced Practice Provider at Minnesota Oncology. Her specialties include sexual health and cancer, gynecologic oncology, and geriatrics. 

When: Wednesday, May 25 TIME: 6:00-7:00pm 

Cost: FREE!  
RSVP to 
or 612.227.2147 

Where: GCTC Clubhouse, 10560 Wayzata Boulevard Minnetonka, MN 55305 (From 394 go North on Hopkins Crossroads; then right on North Frontage road-Wayzata Blvd)

Learn more.

This presentation is part of a partnership between Minnesota Oncology and Allina Health to provide monthly educational programming for Gilda's Club Twin Cities members. Anyone dealing with a cancer diagnosis in their lives can become a Gilda's Club member. There is no charge to become a member. Learn more about Gilda's Club Twin Cities here
SurvivorshipSurvivorship: Life During and After Cancer Treatment

sur*vi*vor  (noun):  One who remains alive and continues to function during and after overcoming a serious hardship or life-threatening disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, as of January 1, 2014 there were  14.5 million people living in the United States with a history of cancer.  This number is expected to rise to almost 19 million by the year 2024. It is expected that nearly 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2016. People are being diagnosed earlier and living longer with their cancer diagnoses due to advances in cancer screening and treatment such as early detection of colon cancer through the use of colonoscopy screenings, utilization of 3D mammography in breast cancer, development of targeted and immunotherapy for a variety of cancers and many more ground-breaking treatments.  With the rising numbers of people living with a history of cancer, it is important for healthcare providers to routinely incorporate survivorship care into the care of their patients and for patients to ask for these services from their cancer care team.

The term "survivor" may cause discord to some patients. One may consider him or herself a cancer survivor once he or she has "beat" cancer. Another patient may consider him or herself a cancer survivor from the moment he or she hears the words "you have cancer." According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI),  a patient is considered a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis and through the continuum of his or her life.

Here at Minnesota Oncology, we recognize the NCI's definition of a cancer survivor and are striving to build on our longstanding survivorship program by offering survivorship care at time of initial diagnosis for all patients, regardless of cancer stage. This visit is a one-on-one counseling visit with an advanced practice provider (APP) - a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or clinical nurse specialist-to clarify the patient's diagnosis, educate on the proposed treatment plan, discuss symptom management, assess quality of life and identify physical, functional, social or emotional concerns of the patient and those he or she considers important in his or her life. Survivorship care at the time of diagnosis is like sewing together the netting before walking on a tight rope; we want to ensure all applicable resources are in place first so the patient doesn't run into trouble along the way.

HopeinMotion2016There is Still Time to Register for Hope in Motion 2016!

Hope in Motion, Minnesota's National Cancer Survivors Day Celebration presented by Minnesota Oncology, is scheduled for Sunday, June 5, 2016 at Phalen Regional Park in St. Paul. Join us for a family-friendly celebration of all those who have faced a cancer diagnosis.  Hope in Motion includes a 5K Run/Walk, 1-Mile Family Walk, Kids Dash, speakers, entertainment, survivor resources, and more while raising funds for Angel Foundation

Learn more and register here .
NurseManagerRhonda Hasting Named Nurse Manager for MN Oncology

Rhonda Hastings, RN, OCN
Minnesota Oncology is pleased to welcome Rhonda Hastings  to her new role as Manager of Nursing Services.  Rhonda has been with Minnesota Oncology for more than 14 years.  Most recently, she has been the Nursing Supervisor at our Edina Clinic for many years. In addition, she  has provided scheduling for the infusion float nurses across the organization.

The Manager of Nursing Services oversees nursing operations including clinical support activities, quality program, training and services across the organization.
MNOCommunityMinnesota Oncology in the Community

More than 50 Minnesota Oncology employees, family members and patients participated in the 2016 Komen Twin Cities Race for the Cure on May 8. It was a beautiful day to walk or run for a good cause!

On May 11, Minnesota Oncology volunteers were present at Taste of Chaska sharing information about our Chaska and Waconia clinics and handing out goodies to members of the community.
LabWeek2016Lab Week 2016 at Minnesota Oncology

Coon Rapids Lab Team
By Alexia Hansen,  MLS(ASCP)CM
Manager of Laboratory Services

It wasn't because of construction that our labs sported yellow tape last month; it was national Medical Laboratory Professionals Week!

Lab Week is a time for medical lab professionals to celebrate their professionalism and help educate our colleagues and the public about the profession. Many people have no idea what happens beyond the blood draw, who does the testing, or the importance of laboratory work. The Medical Laboratory is facing a workforce shortage so getting the word out to the public and especially to students is important.

Beyond the value of education, lab week is fun! There were many patients who expressed their appreciation for the decorations, being able to learn something, and the energy in the lab.

This year's theme was Diagnosis Detective and the challenge was to bring that motif into their lab. We had a lot of creativity and the competition was close. In the end the Coon Rapids lab took home the traveling trophy and will proudly display it until Lab Week 2017.  Fun was had by all involved and we hope you were able to join us for some smiles. 

JamesForanMinnesota Oncology Sponsors James Foran Oral Cancer Foundation Annual Golf Event

On July 13, 2016 at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids, Minn. the 6th Annual Jim Foran Memorial "Unbelievable" Golf / Dinner awareness and fundraiser event  for The Oral Cancer Foundation will be held. Former U.S. Senator and head and neck cancer survivor  Norm Coleman will be the guest speaker at the dinner. Noon  shot gun start, Oral cancer screenings 3 to 5:30, silent auction 4 to 6:30 and dinner and program at 5:30. Don't golf? You are invited to attend the dinner and speaker portion ot the event.  

Download the event flyer here.

"It all started 6 years ago with just a simple sore in the back of  my husband's mouth that wouldn't go away," said Joan Willshire Foran, founder of the organization. "After two years of battling this disease Jim passed away June 26, 2010.  Jim was an fabulous architect as well as an avid golfer who always said the word 'unbelievable!'"

The Oral Cancer Foundation is  a national non profit organization who advocates and creates change through proactive means.
For more information and to register, contact Joan Willshire Foran at or 613.388.5163.

YSCYoung Breast Cancer Survivors Invited to Midwest Symposium
Minnesota Oncology is proud to be a sponsor of the Young Survival Coalition's Midwest Symposium coming up on Saturday, June 4 in Minneapolis. Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is the premier organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful. Learn more and register here.
LyphomaWalkVisit the MN Oncology Booth at Minnesota Lymphoma Walk

Minnesota Oncology is proud to sponsor the upcoming 2016 Minnesota Lymphoma Walk to be held at Lake Nokomis on Saturday, June 4. Visit our booth to win some fun Minnesota Oncology freebies! Learn more and register here.

Minnesota Oncology is proud to be the 2016 presenting sponsor of An gel After Hours.  Join us June 8th at Insight Brewing for Angel After Hours, a casual, happy hour event benefiting Angel Foundation. Featuring locally crafted beer, food truck goodies by Butcher Salt and their signature punchboard game, you won't want to miss it! Grab a friend and register early to claim your spot in the Speedy Bags Tournament, or just kick back with a brew and enjoy the start of summer, all while supporting local adults with cancer and their families. Get your tickets here .

Volunteer Opportunities at Camp Angel

Angel Foundation has volunteer opportunities at Camp Angel in June and August.   

General Requirements
  • For the sake of consistency for our campers, all volunteers are required to commit to all three days (full day commitment)
  • As a volunteer, you are asked to be fully engaged with all projects, doing what the campers do throughout the course of the day
  • Self-care is top priority starting in 2016 for both campers AND volunteers - breaks will be mandatory!
June 16-18, 2016
August 16-18, 2016
What:   Camp Angel Volunteer Training
When:  Wednesday, May 25, 6-7:30 p.m.
Where:   Angel Foundation Office
1155 Centre Pointe Drive , Suite 7
 Mendota Heights, MN 55120
What: Camp Angel Volunteer Training
When: Tuesday, July 19, 6-7:30 p.m. (NEW)
Where: Angel Foundation Office
1155 Centre Pointe Drive , Suite 7
 Mendota Heights, MN 55120

What: Pre-Camp Pizza Party
When: Tuesday, June 7, 6-8 p.m.

What: Pre-Camp Pizza Party
When: Wednesday, August 10, 6-8 p.m.

BRAND NEW VOLUNTEERS must also complete the General Volunteer Training, held once a month on various days/times. For more information, please contact Heidi Johnson, Angel Foundation Events and Communications Manager at (612) 627-9000 ext. 506 or .