Kathleen Sanders, ARNP, MSN, MPH

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Teaching Associate, Department of Medicine
University of Washington School of Medicine
Clinical expertise
Integrative medicine
“One of the most important things you can do during cancer treatment is to be kind to yourself. Honor how your body is feeling from day to day, and remember that there is no one “right” way to get through this experience. ”
— Kathleen
Tell us about an interaction with a patient that had an impact on you.

For several months, I worked with a patient who was very sick, yet she always had a sparkle in her eye and a sense of humor. She was open to trying new things that might help her feel better, so I introduced her to guided imagery, a stress management technique that involves using all of the senses to recall beautiful memories or visualize positive images. Through our work together, she would share stories about the camping adventures she and her family liked to take. I got to know a side of her that had nothing to do with her disease, and she was able to remember herself in a healthier time and place. It’s inspiring to witness people reconnecting with who they are at their core — outside of diagnosis and treatment — and using that wisdom as a source of support during a difficult time.     

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How do you help patients?

People have been taking natural supplements and using alternative therapies like acupuncture for a long time. Some of these products and practices can be beneficial during cancer treatment, helping to alleviate fatigue or pain, for example. Others can interact in a negative way with conventional cancer treatments, and some have not yet been studied enough for us to know what kind of effect they have. I offer a safe, respectful space for patients to come in and discuss what activities they’re doing, which products they’re taking and what their wellness goals are. Together, we look at what the research says about safety and efficacy so that they can make informed decisions about what to try. Many patients feel a sense of empowerment when they can use evidence-based complementary therapies to improve their quality of life, both during and after treatment. 

Provider background

Specialties and clinical expertise: Oncology

Integrative medicine

I am an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) who specializes in integrative medicine. This approach to care uses evidence-based practices, products and lifestyle changes from a variety of traditions to help you meet your health and wellness goals. Integrative medicine techniques and therapies are used alongside conventional cancer treatments. 

I help patients with all types of cancer — as well as non-malignant disorders — develop an integrative medicine approach to managing symptoms and improving their quality of life. I also offer several nonpharmacologic therapies; my expertise includes mind-body medicine techniques, auricular acupuncture (focused on the ears) and clinical hypnosis, among others. In addition to caring for patients, I have taught graduate courses on integrative medicine, and I am an active member of the Society for Integrative Oncology and the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health. 

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Undergraduate Degree
University of Wisconsin
Medical Degree
University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh
Fellowship
University of Arizona, Integrative Medicine
Board Certification
Family Nurse Practitioner, 1982, American Nurses Credentialing Center
Other
MSN, University of Wisconsin
Languages
English

Research

Clinical trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by SCCA doctors. Many of these trials at SCCA have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.

Your care team

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a team coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD
Physician
Integrative medicine
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Team coordinator (TC)
Your team coordinator works closely with you and your physician and serves as your scheduler.

Insurance

SCCA accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.

For providers