August 2011
Blog

August 2011 posts

New cancer web site

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our new web site, www.seriouslykickingcancersbutt.com.

Since opening the first cancer-radiation treatment center west of the Mississippi more than 80 years ago, Swedish has helped more people fight cancer than any other provider in the region. Even today, we are committed to ensuring that our local community has access to the most advanced tools and treatments, and the nation's leading experts in cancer care. Click here to learn more about the Swedish Cancer Institute.

You can download a variety of podcasts about cancer by visiting www.swedish.org/cancerpodcasts.

Also, read other blog posts by physicians, nurses, and staff from the Swedish Cancer Institute:

 

Personal Listening Devices: Hip or Harmful?

If your child is one of the 304 million people who currently utilize an iPod, they could potentially be damaging their hearing. Research in recent years has demonstrated the startling trend that noise-induced hearing loss is on the rise, especially among children and teens.

Today, one in eight children aged 6-19 years has some degree of noise-induced hearing loss, which is twice the rate as seen in 1971. But noise isn’t a new phenomenon for kids. Historically, children have worked on farms, cut down trees, or fired guns without hearing protection. However, personal listening devices, like the iPod, are one of the most significant changes in our culture in the past 15-20 years, and they are here to stay.

Walk around the local park, ballfield, or school, and you will see numerous children and adults connected to earbuds. The extremely popular iPod has the capacity to produce an output of as much as 115 decibels at maximum volume, which is about as loud as a jet airplane taking off. At that level, it takes less than a few minutes to cause permanent damage. Of course, not everybody listens to his or her personal device at that volume. But in many instances the volume is turned up to combat background noise, and those earbuds placed directly into the ear can boost the volume as much as 6 to 9 decibels.

The damage that noise exposure causes is cumulative, permanent, and totally preventable. So what can we do?

KUOW Radio Airs Pieces on CyberKnife for Breast Cancer at Swedish, New Directions in Cancer Care

 

A birthday and a backpack

As school starts, I am reminded of my youngest child’s first day of kindergarten.  The poor child had 5 stitches in his right heel from an unfortunate accident with a metal door plate.  He turned 6 years old a few days before school started and he was using a walker which gave a little extra stability than crutches.  He was standing in line with the other kids outside the kindergarten room.  All the parents were standing a couple of paces away from their kids  anxiously awaiting the bell to ring.

My husband and I were old hats at this as he is our third child.  The backpack was full, the emergency card was signed and his lunch was packed.  We did our part and now off he went.  I had a moment of misty-eyed “My baby is growing up” motherly emotions, but it passed and off we went to spend the day alone, childless and enjoying it.

In the afternoon, we returned to pick him up and the teacher was standing next to him.  As we walked up, excited to see him and hear how his first day of school went, the teacher stepped up to talk to us.  (Now after two other boys, I took this as a sign that there was a ‘talking to’ in my youngest son’s future.)  The teacher hugged me and said, “Thank you so much for preparing him for school.”  She had spent the day with kids yelling, misbehaving and jumping on the furniture.  My son, confined as he was because of his foot, was patient but helpful.  He waited until someone was available to help him to get his lunch or binder.  He waited until he was called on.  We couldn’t have been prouder of our son.

I hear so much about schools needing to do better.  They have tests to measure how the teachers are performing and there’s more and more scrutiny on the schools’ performance.  But what about the parents?  Where is the accountability for the parents to prepare their children?

We’ve created Head Start to try and catch the kids earlier in order to better prepare the kids for school, but preparing for school starts years earlier.

Here are a few things that parents can do to prepare their children for school:

Personalized medicine is the future of healthcare

If you were diagnosed with cancer or another disease, wouldn’t you want your treatment and medicines to be as unique as you are?

This is a growing trend in medicine where the type of treatment a patient gets depends on their DNA.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Hank Kaplan of the Swedish Cancer Institute spoke with KING5 about the I-SPY clinical trial (click here to watch the KING5 story).

The usual treatment for breast cancer may be surgery, followed by chemotherapy, possibly radiation and as a last resort, a clinical trial.

The I-SPY clinical trial turns that thinking upside down by actually extracting DNA from a tumor to figure out which new drug will likely work best, then giving it to the patient first, even before surgery.

"The goal of the I-SPY trial is really to develop a faster and cheaper way to develop new drugs for breast cancer . We're hoping that this is a new paradigm that will work for other kinds of cancer too," said Dr. Kaplan.

Swedish brings communities together

What do you call an event where a healthcare institution, a university and over 20 construction and engineering companies to provide much needed improvements to a local preschool building? We call it: Together We Can: Head Start Makeover. On July 16th, Swedish, Seattle University and members from the WA State Society for Healthcare Engineering WSSHE; American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), McKinstry Construction, GLY Construction, Coffman Engineers Inc., Graham Construction and G&W Commercial Flooring and others came together to provide a much needed extreme makeover to the Yesler Terrace Head Start Pre-K school building. Swedish’s commitment to community benefit and engagement took the lead to bring about this service project to make a direct impact on the community we serve.


The in-kind donations of materials, labor, and equipment along with $70,000 raised by the local construction and engineering industry and concerned community members put this unique community project was on tract to succeed. The Head Start Pre-K school building has two classrooms for 20 smart and energetic 4 and 5 yr old students and four teachers who needed a place to inspire learning for Yesler Terrace families. The building was dark, cold at times and the kitchen floor and playground was in bad shape. In seven hours with 150 volunteers the pre-k school building was transformed into a place of pride and fun with: 

What's life without a little song?

Most of us have heard about the studies that show kids who study music:

 

      Can score higher on standardized tests, such as the SAT;

      Can help develop problem-solving and math skills;

      Develop their brains in areas that non-music studying kids don’t;

      And a whole slew of other beneficial things...

But music also releases serotonin and dopamine to give us the same sort of feeling of pleasure that come from eating chocolate.  It can make us happy.  There’s nothing like that good feeling when the perfect song pops up on the radio or on our iPods/MP3s.

This is important in our stressed out world of today.  We’re stressed about work, chores, bills, economy, blah, blah, blah.

So how do we get more music into our children’s lives?  And how do we cultivate an appreciation for music, not just a rebellion?

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