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Salish Integrative Oncology Care Center

// Tribe to open state-of-the-art cancer center in Fife

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The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is preparing to open a new, state-of-the-art cancer care clinic in Fife. Named the Salish Integrative Oncology Care Center (SIOCC), it will be housed in the first floor of the Trans Pacific building that the Tribe has purchased, located at the Interstate 5/Port of Tacoma exit. An opening ceremony is scheduled for April 7 and the center will start seeing patients on April 13.

“It is with full honor and dignity of our Tribal Council, tribal members, reservation and ancestors that I announce the opening of the Salish Integrative Oncology Care Center,” said Puyallup Tribal Chairman Bill Sterud, noting that the center will be the first Tribal-owned cancer care center in Indian Country and the United States. The center, which will be a non-profit venture for the tribe, fulfills the Puyallup Tribe’s vision of bringing integrative cancer care to Native Americans and non-Native Americans alike and to participate in cancer research.

The tribe’s goal is to target national and regional Native Americans fighting cancer. Although SIOCC will serve non-Native individuals wanting an integrative approach for cancer treatment, this treatment will not diminish the services provided to Native Americans. Quite the opposite, as treating non-Natives will help ensure a viable and robust program for the underserved Native population.

It is with full honor and dignity of our Tribal Council, tribal members, reservation and ancestors that I announce the opening of the Salish Integrative Oncology Care Center.
-Bill Sterud, Puyallup Tribal Chairman

The Tribe pursued its interest in developing a cancer treatment center by visiting and consulting with some established facilities. Because Cancer Treatment Centers of America plans to close the Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center (SCTWC), a clinic it operates in Renton, the Tribe negotiated an agreement with CTCA to clear the way for the Tribe to hire some of the doctors and other providers employed by SCTWC and to invite that clinic’s patients to receive their treatment at the Tribe’s clinc.

The 8,200-square-foot cancer center will have 23 infusion chairs and will feature numerous amenities to make patients’ time there as comfortable as possible. For example, to help instill a serene atmosphere and peace of mind for patients, chemotherapy treatment rooms will offer beautiful views of the majestic Mount Rainier. Outdoor treatment areas will be available in the spring and summer months.

SIOCC will be staffed by board-certified medical oncologists and naturopathic oncologists, as well as natural cancer care and complementary cancer care practitioners who are experts in providing innovating treatment for most types of cancer.

“As the indigenous keepers of the Puyallup Tribe Indian Reservation, we have a strong ancestral bond with nature and creation. We believe that natural healing through traditional roots, berries, herbs and traditional healing can blend with modern oncology practices,” said Sterud.

It is with the foundation of “integrative medicine” that the Tribe has hired the former SCTWC providers to build upon traditional oncology (chemotherapy, radiation and other pharmaceutical treatments) with whole person integrative medicine, including naturopathy, acupuncture, Chinese medicine and Native American treatments.

“Most of our allopathic community doesn’t believe in how we practice medicine with complementary care,” said Kim M. Sunner, practice administrator. “However, the Puyallup Tribe, which has operated the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority since the early 1970’s, wants to build upon the established and proven success record that mixes traditional and natural healing.”

Medical Oncologist Dr. Paolo Paciucci spoke in gratitude for the Puyallup Tribe’s vision and their resolution to sponsor an integrated oncologic care center in a setting of restorative tranquility and to have chosen the SCTWC providers to help carry out this vision.

“I am very excited to continue to work with a group of people that practice cancer medicine in a setting that is quite different from that of compartmentalized, often fractured and ‘institutionalized’ model of larger oncology centers,” said Paciucci. “I have come to appreciate the kindness, humanistic and personal care that is delivered by this group of practitioners, nurses, coordinators and patient navigators whose foremost goal is that of delivering individualized and compassionate state-of-the-art medicine.”

As Paciucci pointed out, one does not “cure” ailments with infusions of drugs only. “The friendly atmosphere, the attentive dedication of a team of professionals and the concurrent treatments imparted by a group of exceptional naturopathic practitioners help shatter the negative mythology associated with ‘cancer’ and its often fearful implications,” he said.

For more information on the Salish Integrative Oncology Center call Lauree Ombrellaro, Transition Manager, at (253) 382-6300 or visit