Providing a support system for cancer patients

Foundation has granted $45,000 to women who cannot afford necessary medical treatment.

November 02, 2011|By Daniel Siegal,
  • Nancy Illian, 57 and a cancer survivor, photographed at her home in La Canada Flintridge on Wednesday, November 2, 2011. Illian had ovarian cancer surgery in March 2004 and is now a boardmember of the Pacific Shores Hemotology Oncology Foundation. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
Nancy Illian, 57 and a cancer survivor, photographed…

When La Cañada Flintridge resident Nancy Illian went to the doctorseven and half years ago with concern over an issue with her menstrual period, she knew she wasn’t just wasting time. Forty-eight at the time, Illian had been the opposite of a hypochondriac up to that point in her life, only visiting the doctor when absolutely necessary.

Her doctor told her not to worry, so she went home. However, after finding herself uncomfortably bloated, Illian went back, only to have the doctor tell her to do some sit-ups to relieve the problem.

“I didn’t take that for an answer,” said Illian.

After successfully pushing for an ultrasound, Illian was told she might have a cyst. Her doctor tracked her for four weeks before sending her to oncologist Dr. Richard Friedman at Glendale Memorial Hospital.

It turns out Illian had been right to be concerned — she had ovarian cancer.

“We were sitting in the waiting room [when] I saw him pick up my ultrasound at the desk … he didn’t even have to examine me, he knew by looking at it what it was,” said Illian.


The long delay in diagnosis had allowed the cancer to spread into her lymph nodes, and Illian underwent about 18 months of chemotherapy with Dr. Kalust Ucar at Glendale Memorial before the cancer was driven into remission, where it has remained.

Today Illian is a board member of the Pacific Shores Hematology-Oncology Foundation, a non-profit founded in 2006 that works to support cancer education and research, as well as to improve quality of life for cancer patients.

Jann Buaziz, executive director of the foundation, said that Illian is a “worker bee,” helping out wherever she can and editing the foundation’s informational materials and newsletters.

Also a La Cañada resident, Ucar was a co-founder of the foundation, which shares a name with his practice, the Pacific Shores Medical Group. The foundation is separate from the medical practice and is headquartered in Long Beach.

Ucar said he got involved because he saw patients who weren’t receiving the full support they needed for their fight against cancer.

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