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SEATTLE – (May 6, 2015) – Virginia Mason is using “fading” billboards in an innovative marketing campaign promoting the success of its cancer treatment program and the fact its patient survival rates are among the best in the nation.

The billboards are near the Ballard and West Seattle bridges and contain only the word CANCER in black, capital letters painted with water-soluble paint designed to drip and fade with rain and moisture in the air.  As moisture collects on the billboards, the word CANCER fades. Over the next several weeks, CANCER will vanish – symbolic of cancer treatment goals at Virginia Mason – and be replaced by a new Virginia Mason message.

“This is advertising that doesn’t seem like advertising because it’s not branded until the very end,” said Darlene Corkrum, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Virginia Mason. “It evokes questions, maybe some confusion, serious thoughts and emotions.”

The billboards are generating a buzz on social media.

“I commute out of West Seattle via the West Seattle Bridge,” stated a recent post in the West Seattle Blog Forum. “A few days ago I noticed a billboard on the right side close to the I-5 exits that just has the word CANCER in black letters on white background. The letters appear to be getting lighter each day is this going to be followed by an announcement that some sort of company/group/hospital is working on eradicating the disease, or is the weather taking its toll?  I normally don’t care about billboards, but this one’s got me intrigued …”

In 2013, cancer caused 584,881 deaths in the United States, second only to heart disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Virginia Mason has some of the nation’s best five-year survival rates at every stage for individuals treated for breast, bladder, lung, ovarian and pancreatic cancer when compared to National Cancer Database and National Cancer Institute statistics.

“The superior outcomes at Virginia Mason reflect our team’s expertise and commitment to providing the highest quality and most appropriate care,” John Corman, MD, medical director, Floyd & Delores Jones Cancer Institute at Virginia Mason.

Virginia Mason offers advanced cancer treatment by experts in an environment of hope and healing. Comprehensive treatment is provided for 16 types of cancer, including breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic and prostate. At the Cancer Institute, all aspects of care − from physician visits, to lab appointments, to the pharmacy – are provided to patients in one convenient location. Virginia Mason is accredited by the College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and the American College of Radiology.

About Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs about 6,000 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 460 physicians; regional medical centers throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste, lower cost, and improve quality and patient safety. Virginia Mason website:

To learn more about Virginia Mason, please visit or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter. To learn how Virginia Mason is transforming health care and to join the conversation, visit our blog at

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Virginia Mason Media Relations
(206) 341-1509



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