At Contra Costa Oncology we are committed to offering our patients with most cutting edge medical treatments available. This includes providing our patients with the opportunity to participate in clinical trials through our partnership with John Muir Clinical Research Center. If you would like additional information on the current clinical trials available, please speak with your Contra Costa Oncology physician.

If you or a family member is interested in learning more about clinical trials and how they work,

please click here.

Most cancers are caused by genetic changes or mutations in cells. Sometimes the mutation is a minor change in a nonfunctioning area and does not significantly change the protein or new cells, but other times the mutation causes a normal cell to become a cancer cell. Research has identified some of the environmental factors that will cause a normal cell to mutate into a cancer cell, such as tobacco use, alcohol abuse or sun exposure. Less commonly, the damage to DNA is not from environmental sources, but rather it is inherited from a parent at the time of conception. Research has been able to identify inheritable DNA mutations that put families at increased risk for developing cancer.

Kathy Sieu, RN, MS, ANP-c, AOCNP and our genetic staffing continue to stay at the forefront of genetic testing and counseling with completion of programs like the Oncology Nurses Society and City of Hope’s intensive course for Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment. Genetic doctors and nurses with specialty training in cancer genetic risk assessment at Contra Costa Oncology, can examine a person’s family history to identify persons who should be offered genetic testing. Genetic counseling is an essential part of genetic testing because it helps identify and remedy emotional, financial and health related issues caused by the discovery of a cancer causing, inheritable, genetic mutation.

Genetic Counseling Services at CCO allow us to give specific recommendations to patients before they have cancer, or find it at a curable stage. Knowing if a person has a genetic mutation that predisposes them to cancer development, allows our team to advise a person regarding advanced screening practices, preventive medicines or cancer preventing surgery. New screening strategies for selected individuals at risk include: advanced screening procedures using techniques such as breast MRIs and early colonoscopy, plus life-saving interventions such as mastectomy, hysterectomy with oophorectomy, colectomy or prostatectomy.

PROVENGE (sipuleucel-T) is the only FDA-approved treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer that is clinically proven to extend life in certain men by reprograming their own immune system to target and attack prostate cancer.

Learn more about PROVENGE - Resources:

Before getting PROVENGE, tell your doctor if you:
  • Have heart problems
  • Have lung problems
  • Have a history of stroke
  • Take any other medicines including prescription and nonprescription drugs, vitamins, and dietary supplements.

What are the possible side effects of PROVENGE:

PROVENGE infusion can cause serious reactions.

Tell your doctor right away if you:
  • Have breathing problems, chest pains, racing heart or irregular heartbeats, high or low blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, nausea, or vomiting after getting PROVENGE. Any of these may be signs of heart or lung problems.
  • Develop numbness or weakness on one side of the body, decreased vision in one eye or difficulty speaking. Any of these may be signs of a stroke.
  • Develop symptoms of thrombosis which may include pain and/or swelling of an arm or leg with warmth over the affected area, discoloration of an arm or leg, unexplained shortness of breath or chest pain that worsens on deep breathing.
  • Get a fever over 100°F, or redness or pain at the infusion or collection sites. Any of these may be signs of infection.

The most common side effects of PROVENGE include chills, fatigue, fever, back pain, nausea, joint ache, and headache. These are not all the possible side effects of PROVENGE treatment. For more information, talk with your doctor.


At Contra Costa Oncology, we take pride in providing our patients with the most advanced technology. That is why we now offer PET/CT scanning, the most advanced diagnostic imaging tool for oncology. Positron Emission Tomography, commonly referred to as PET, is an advanced diagnostic procedure that detects changes in cellular function in the body. A CT, Computed Tomography or some times called CAT (Computed Axial Tomography) scan, is an X-ray imaging proce dure that produces structural images of your internal organs with greater clarity than conventional X-ray images. PET/CT can assess abnormalities of the heart and brain as well as identify any cancer in the body. Together, PET and CT can be used to diagnose and manage disease with greater accuracy.

The clinical advantages of PET/CT:
  • Detailed diagnostic information not available from other imaging tests
  • Earlier detection of disease
  • Improved staging of the disease and better monitoring of cancer recurrences
  • Improved targeting of metabolically active cancers for radiation therapy
  • More effective tracking of the results of treatment therapy

Gallium-68 Dotatate Scans

This is the only site in the East Bay with the ability to do Gallium-68 Dotatate Scans.

In addition to improved diagnostic info and quantitation, there is less radiation exposure for the patient, and the study takes a couple of hours instead of a couple days in comparison to an Octreoscan.

Our new PET/CT scan center is located at:

3000 Oak Rd., Suite 111

Walnut Creek, CA 94597

directions & map »

Alongside other prominent Bay Area medical centers like St. Mary's SF and Stanford Medical Center, Contra Costa Oncology is now offering IMLYGIC for local treatment of melanoma that is recurrent after initial surgery. Contra Costa Oncology is currently the only medical center in the East Bay patients can receive this therapy.

Please speak with your physician to see if IMLYGIC is a fit for you.

About IMLYGIC® (talimogene laherparepvec)

IMLYGIC® (talimogene laherparepvec) is a genetically modified herpes simplex type 1 virus that is injected directly into tumors. IMLYGIC replicates inside tumor cells and produces GM-CSF, an immunostimulatory protein. IMLYGIC then causes the cell to rupture and die in a process called lysis. The rupture of the cancer cells causes the release of tumor-derived antigens, which together with virally derived GM-CSF may help to promote an anti-tumor immune response. However, the exact mechanism of action is unknown.

IMLYGIC is the first oncolytic viral therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on therapeutic benefit demonstrated in a pivotal study. IMLYGIC is a genetically modified oncolytic viral therapy indicated for the local treatment of unresectable cutaneous, subcutaneous, and nodal lesions in patients with melanoma recurrent after initial surgery. IMLYGIC has not been shown to improve OS or have an effect on visceral metastases.

For additional information, please speak with your physician and visit the IMLYGIC website.