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Swedish Cancer Institute and community events in August

Nicole Filbert

Nicole Filbert
Health Education Intern, Swedish Cancer Institute

Can you believe the month of August has already arrived? Some may see the end of August as an end to summer, but it doesn’t mean the end of community events. Two particular events taking place toward the end of August are the American Cancer Society Relay for Life—Capitol Hill event and the Northwest Hope and Healing Alki Beach Run 5K. We are happy to announce the Swedish Cancer Institute will be supporting both!

On Saturday, August 23rd ...

Detecting thyroid cancer using ultrasound

Joseph C. Sniezek
The incidence of thyroid cancer is steadily increasing in the U.S. while the reasons for this increase are still unclear.  No environmental exposure or lifestyle trend has been linked to this recent rise but interestingly, some researchers believe that the increasing use of ultrasound in evaluating the neck and thyroid has raised the number of cancers being detected at earlier stages. Regardless of the cause of this recent uptick in thyroid cancer, there is no doubt that ultrasound has fundamentally changed the way in which thyroid lesions and cancers are evaluated and followed.
 
Ultrasound technology has undergone a dramatic improvement in recent years providing clear and precise images without exposing the patient to any radiation.  Thyroid nodules that are suspicious for malignancy can now be identified before they are large enough to be felt in the neck by the patient or health care provider.

 
When a  ...

5th Annual Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center Art Show

Mallory Higgins

Mallory Higgins
Education Coordinator and Marketing Specialist, Swedish MS Center

With over eighty art work submissions this year, the 5th annual Multiple Sclerosis Center Art Show was, again, a great success. Held at the Seattle Center Armory this past weekend, the exhibit showcased art work created by MS patients, family, friends, and members of the community affected by the disease. This event is held each year to provide community and regional awareness about MS and to provide an opportunity for those affected to express themselves through art. Displayed on white walls and under glass vitrines, artists showcased paintings, collages, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, textiles, poetry, graphics, and photography among other multi-media compositions. As always, the show is free and art work is welcomed from all individuals of all ability levels in the Pacific Northwest. Participants need not be a patient of Swedish, merely influenced or touched by Multiple Sclerosis.

Although a lifelong disease, the event hopes to convey that multiple sclerosis (MS) is not life-ending. Resources are available to support patients and their families. The Swedish MS Center goes beyond health care to assist people living with MS and related neurological conditions and to help them achieve their highest level of well-being.

Following  ...

What you can do about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Carolyn Anderson, ARNP

Carolyn Anderson, ARNP
Swedish Gastroenterology

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a term used to describe the presence of fat accumulation in the liver. NAFLD affects approximately 20-30% of United States population, and is most commonly diagnosed between 40 – 50 years of age. Recent studies have shown an even distribution of NAFLD between men and women.
 
A healthy liver may contain some fat. However, NAFLD occurs when the liver has trouble breaking down fats, causing excess fat to build-up in the liver. Mild fat accumulation usually does not result in inflammation of the liver. More severe fat accumulation can cause inflammation, and potential progression to cirrhosis (scarring of liver tissue). People who drink too much alcohol can get a condition similar to NAFLD, but NAFLD happens in people who do not drink alcohol or only a little alcohol.
 
We still have much to learn about the specific cause of NAFLD, but it is often associated with:

Bike the US for MS donates $20,000 to Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

Mallory Higgins

Mallory Higgins
Education Coordinator and Marketing Specialist, Swedish MS Center

Cyclists participating in Bike the US for MS arrived at the Peddler Brewing Company in Ballard, Washington last Monday, some having travelled all the way from Bar Harbor, Maine. There to greet the cyclists was Dr. James Bowen, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center Neurologist and Medical Director. To date, the bike tour has contributed $80,000 to the Swedish MS Center helping ensure that patients in the Pacific Northwest have access to vital MS services today as well as into the future.


Bike the US for MS is ...

The Science and the Art of Exceptional Cancer Care

Jeffery C. Ward
Not long ago, I read two articles, one by a cancer doctor and another by a journalist. They both left me steaming a bit.  In medicine, we talk about the science (the factual database and knowledge that we use) and the art of medicine (how we use and adapt that database to the benefit of individual and different patients). Both of these articles, the first overtly and the second more indirectly, suggested that the art of medicine is about hiding the science from the patient in order to provide hope, albeit false hope to the cancer victim. Let me state clearly, despite paternalistic instincts, dishonesty has no place in the practice of oncology.

Both of my grandmothers died from cancer. Grandma S. died of stomach cancer when I was in college. As far as I know, she was never told that her cancer had recurred after surgery. Her second husband and family wanted it that way. “Knowing that she has cancer will devastate her, let her have her hope,” we were told. When my cousins and I visited, we were under strict orders to not ask too many questions about her “gall stone” problems. She knew though. You could see it in Grandma’s eyes. But the web that had been woven kept her from being able to grieve and gave no opportunity for good byes. As she slipped away she became withdrawn and depressed.

Grandma B. was diagnosed with an aggressive lymphoma when I was just out of medical school and in my training. She was fully informed by her doctors. She had opportunity to seek second opinions. She conferenced with her children. When she chose to not leave her little ranch valley in Idaho for desperate treatments far from home, and to die in her own home, her family rallied around her in support. For six weeks, she narrated her life history, wrapping up a legacy of lasting value for her family. She was the recipient of an outpouring of love from her community and she died fulfilled, with a smile of satisfaction on her face.

The science and art of medicine are ...

How to treat babies with forceful vomiting (pyloric stenosis)

Angela M. Hanna, MD

Angela M. Hanna, MD
Pediatric Surgeon

Pyloric Stenosis (or infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis) is a condition characterized by forceful vomiting in an infant due to hypertrophy of the pylorus muscle leading to gastric outlet obstruction. This means the muscle where the stomach empties into the small intestine becomes too thick and prevents emptying. As a result, after eating, the baby vomits. The reason for this happening is not known but is likely caused by many things and family history can play a role. Pyloric stenosis is rare, occurring in about 3 of  every 1,000 live births, and most often occurs between the ages of 3-6 weeks, is more common in males, and 1/3 of the time occurs in a first-born child.
 
Vomit from pyloric stenosis usually consists of just milk or formula. Any vomit with color should raise suspicion for other diagnoses. Parents report vomiting from pyloric stenosis as forceful and projectile. Infants are often hungry after vomiting, wanting to continue eating, however eating usually continues the cycle of vomiting.
 
How to treat pyloric stenosis
 
To ...
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