February 2014
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February 2014 posts

Breast Cancer Survival Guide: Physical & Clinical Updates

A diagnosis of breast cancer sets into motion a whirlwind of appointments, tests, surgeries and possibly chemotherapy and radiation treatment. A new study reviewed the timeline between surgery and initiating chemotherapy for different subtypes of breast cancer and found a survival advantage when chemotherapy was initiated within 30 days of surgery. Although treating within the 30-60 post-surgical window did not show a statistically significant survival advantage, there is a trend towards better outcomes. Exceeding 60 days post treatment had a negative impact on survival. The clinical impact of timing is most relevant for patients with stage II and III breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer and HER2-positive tumors.
 
Treatment for breast cancer can be exhausting and take a toll on the physical health of patients as treatment ends and they begin post-treatment life. Cancer survivors are at an increased risk of poor health, depression and physical disability. Approximately one third  ...

Living with achalasia like Seahawk Malcolm Smith

On February 3, 2014, Yahoo Sports published an article regarding this years’ Super Bowl MVP, Malcolm Smith, as not only achieving recognition for his Super Bowl performance, but also dealing with a rare swallowing disorder known as achalasia.
 
Achalasia is a rare disorder with a prevalence of 10 cases per 100,000 individuals.  Men and women are equally affected and it is usually diagnosed between the ages of 25 to 60 years.  The disease often comes on slowly and is gradually progressive with problems swallowing solids and liquids, and movement of undigested food particles back up into the mouth unintentionally (bland regurgitation).  Patients also often complain of a burning chest sensation. Other symptoms include hiccups, difficulties belching, and sometimes weight loss.

The condition can be seen with radiology studies including a barium esophagram that shows a dilated, or larger than normal, caliber of the esophagus with a narrowing or tightness at the lower esophageal sphincter. The lower esophageal sphincter is located at the end of the esophagus before it enters the stomach.  An upper endoscopy or camera study is often performed to evaluate the esophagus and stomach closely.  It is ultimately diagnosed with high-resolution esophageal manometry, which is a technique for evaluating esophageal motor dysfunction or movement disorders of the esophagus.

Once achalasia is diagnosed, there are different treatment options ...

5 things to know about cancer screenings

Cancer causes 580,000 deaths a year in the United States. One in eight women will develop breast cancer and one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. However, many deaths can be prevented when cancer is detected at an early stage. Cancer screening and risk assessment tests are the tools we use to find cancers early.
 
How do we find early cancers?

Some cancer screenings can be done yourself at home at essentially no cost or risk. This includes regular self-examination of the breasts, testicles and skin. Home fecal occult blood testing can also be done to screen for colorectal cancer. Additional information on cancer screening and self-examinations can be found on websites such as www.cancer.org or www.webmd.com.

 
Other screening requires medical interventions. There is good evidence that well-targeted screening saves lives. However, screening tests such as mammography, colonoscopy and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) are  ...

Tips for keeping young athletes safe and healthy

We all know exercise is an important factor in maintaining an active and healthy life. However, over-exercising can lead to a rare, but serious complication known as rhabdomyolysis – a medical team that literally means ‘dissolution or destruction of skeletal muscle’. There has been a recent increase in rhabdomyolysis amongst teen athletes so it is important to recognize the warning signs and learn how to prevent them.

The classic triad of rhabdomyolysis is dark urine, muscle weakness or fatigue, and muscle pain. Although exercise can be the primary factor, other key contributing elements such as dehydration, genetic conditions (e.g. sickle cell), metabolic disorders, nutritional supplements, drug use, and heat stress can exacerbate muscle damage. Without appropriate medical evaluation and care, rhabdomyolysis can cause permanent damage to the kidneys and may even be life-threatening in severe cases. Here are some tips to help your young athlete remain active and healthy:

  1. Maintain adequate hydration – preferably with plain water.  Sports and energy drinks may often contain caffeine and excessive amounts of sugar which can cause dehydration.  On average, children that are 6-10 years old should have about 1L of fluid a day, children 10-14 years old should have 1.5L/day and teens over 14 years should have at least 2L of fluid a day. It is important to increase fluids with increased activity due to the additional fluid losses that occur.
  2. Eliminate protein supplements. A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found ...

Swedish Surgeon Eric Vallieres Featured in Super Bowl Commercial Highlighting Microsoft’s History of Innovation

Kinect-based technology from GestSure allows surgeons to manipulate medical imaging


Contacts: Clay Holtzman, Swedish, 206-386-2748, clay.holtzman@swedish.org

SEATTLE – Swedish thoracic surgeon Eric Vallieres, M.D., was featured Sunday in a Super Bowl commercial highlighting Microsoft Corp.’s history of innovation. The commercial, filmed in part at Swedish/First Hill in Seattle, shows Dr. Vallieres demonstrating the GestSure system, which allows surgeons to manipulate medical images during procedures using Microsoft’s Kinect platform.

“Just by using your hands in front of the Kinect, you can actually control your x-ray without scrubbing out. I can correlate what’s happening on the patient with what’s happening on the images, so there is better flow of surgery and that translates into better care for my patient,” Dr. Vallieres said in an online video that further details the GestSure system.

Pacific Medical Centers and Providence Health & Services Propose Affiliation

For more information:

PacMed: Maggie Brown, (206) 390-2322 mbrown@apcoworldwide.com

Providence: Colleen Wadden, Director, External Communication (206) 979-1620 or colleen.wadden@providence.org


SEATTLE – Today Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) announced its intention to enter a secular affiliation with Providence Health & Services. This affiliation brings together PacMed’s successful model of delivering high quality coordinated care at an affordable cost and Providence’s history of delivering compassionate, quality care across the Northwest. The goal of the affiliation is to reduce the cost of health care for patients, employers and government insurers, while improving health outcomes for patients.

“PacMed wants to change the way health care is organized, delivered and paid for in order to help our communities live healthier lives,” said Harvey Smith, president & CEO of PacMed, which operates nine, multi-specialty clinic locations in the greater Puget Sound area. “We have a long history of working closely with our patients to manage their health care responsibly, while yielding high patient satisfaction, excellent health outcomes and lower costs. On its own, PacMed cannot drive broad changes in the way that health care is delivered. We need to collaborate with an organization that has sufficient resources and a similar community-minded mission and vision to succeed. Not just any partner, but the right partner.”

“After more than a year of careful discussions with many potential affiliates, PacMed has chosen a secular affiliation with Providence Health & Services,” Smith said. “Providence shares our desire to change the delivery care model to ensure high-quality, more affordable care in our communities. We are passionate about all of the positive benefits working together will provide for our communities.”
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