November 2011
Blog

November 2011 posts

Lung Cancer Screening

We screen for breast cancer with mammography, colon cancer with colonoscopy, and prostate cancer with blood tests and exams – why not lung cancer?

If you’re a smoker or a former smoker, or even if you’ve had significant second-hand smoke exposure, you’ve probably worried about your chances of getting lung cancer, and whether there is anything you can do about it. Perhaps you even asked your doctor about getting an x-ray; he or she may have told you that there is no proof that it helps. That’s because a national study done years ago showed no benefit from getting chest X-rays, and therefore it’s not recommended.

The studies

However, since 2000, Swedish has participated in an international study – the International Early Lung Cancer Action Project (I-ELCAP) - to see whether CT scans or CAT scans – very highly detailed X-rays – might be able to find lung cancer earlier and improve cure rates. The study was begun by a group of investigators from Cornell University in New York. They knew that CT scans were very sensitive and would probably show a lot of abnormalities, and that most of them wouldn’t be cancer, so they worked out a system to determine which abnormalities were likely to be cancer. Their system worked, and they showed that when lung cancer was discovered through their screening system the cure rate was over 80%. That’s remarkable, because the normal cure rate for lung cancer is only 15%.

Because of their success, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) began a randomized study with over 50,000 participants. Half of them got annual CT scans and the other half got only chest X-rays. The results were just completed and were very exciting. The group that got CT scans had 20% fewer deaths from lung cancer than the other group!

The results are still being analyzed and there are concerns about safety from too many interventions, radiation exposure, and cost. It will take time to work through these issues, and there is still no general endorsement of lung cancer screening. However, several national organizations now cautiously support screening in high risk groups that meet the criteria for the national study.

Who should get screened, and how?

Swedish/Edmonds Begins Offering Robotic-Assisted Surgery to Community

EDMONDS, WASH., Nov. 18, 2011 – Swedish today announced the newest addition to its family of latest-generation da Vinci Surgical Systems, bringing the total to six robots across the non-profit’s health-care system. The newest da Vinci Si HD system robot, located at the Swedish Edmonds campus, will provide surgeons with more precision and dexterity over existing surgical approaches, helping improve patient treatment and reduce recovery time.

 

As one of the first medical centers in the region to perform robotic-assisted surgery, Swedish is home to the fastest growing and most experienced robotic-assisted surgical program in the Pacific Northwest. The multidisciplinary, robotic-assisted surgical program was first established at Swedish in 2005. Since then, Swedish-affiliated surgeons have performed more than 4,000 procedures using the multi-specialty da Vinci Surgical System, more than any other robotic-assisted surgical program in the region.

Grand-Parentelligence

Every family is unique, but those families who have grandparents who live nearby or are involved in their children’s lives are lucky. It somehow seems just a bit brighter for kids who get to be regaled in stories of long ago, those stories about when mom or dad was a child.

However, some of you with grandparents nearby might wish there was a bit more distance between your house and theirs.

When a baby is born, we have a new baby, new parents, and new grandparents. Our roles have all instantly changed. The new grandparents can be a wealth of information. They have amassed 20, 30, or 40 years of parenting experience. Everything from infants to teens to parenting adults. It’s only natural that they now want to share with you everything that they’ve learned. (They also might want to try to correct what they believe are mistakes that they made as parents.)

The most important thing that new parents need is:

OB Speed Dating

If you’re expecting or thinking about having a baby, finding the right doctor is a pretty good place to start this incredible journey. But how to find the right doctor? You could try OB Speed Dating.

When you come to OB Speed Dating, you’ll meet several doctors who will deliver at our beautiful new campus located in the Issaquah Highlands starting November 1. By participating in a 'speed dating' session, you can get to know them in a fun, low-key environment. You are able to participate in five-minute one-on-one interviews with each obstetrician or family-practice doctor with an OB specialty. If you hit it off with one, then you can make a follow-up appointment when you’re ready to start your care.

Before and after the speed-dating interviews, you can exchange notes with other parents, learn about prenatal care and Swedish classes for expectant and new parents and take a mini-tour of the new campus.

 

To sign up for the next OB Speed Dating session (on November 17 at Swedish/Issaquah), visit www.swedish.org/baby. Pre-registration is required.

Boost 'em

Booster seats are like a combination of a glorified phone book and an advanced pelvis for your child. While most of us rode around without car seats or booster seats or even seat belts in the conversion van or in the back of a pick-up when we were kids (and we made it out just fine), we were the lucky ones. The kids who didn’t make it aren’t around to advocate for advancements in safety. Their parents had to do all the work in their honor, to which I would like to say thank you.

What most parents don’t understand is that the seat belt in a car is designed and tested for a manikin that is 5’10” and 180lbs. Seat belts don’t fit most adult women much less an average 8 year old child.

The ambiguous cut-off for kids to be old/big enough to not sit in a booster seat is somewhere around age 8, or 4’9”, or 80lbs. In fact, most kids don’t reach 4’9” until somewhere between 9 to 12 years old, according to the CDC (boys and girls).

While your 9 year old might fit properly in say a Mini Cooper without a booster seat, they might still need one in an SUV because of the larger seats and attachment points of the seat belts.

Proper fit has much more to do with the placement of the seat belt across the child’s body, than it does with the child’s age.

 

Swedish Awarded Major NIH Grant for Brain Disorders Research

 

Dinner before dark

Daylight Savings Time ended November 6th. Yay, you gained a whole extra hour (on a weekend!) Bummer, you have been robbed an entire hour of daylight now through December 22nd.

If you’ve already stashed your superhero cape in the attic from Halloween and have accepted that it seems impossible to serve up a healthy dinner during the week, then let me offer a few tips to see if we can make dinner before dark a reality. (Ok, lets be realistic and forgo the catchy title, and agree to sit down to dinner before (please not during) Dancing With the Stars.)

Let’s start here.

Pick the most appropriate description of your culinary expertise:

 

a. I think I can locate the start button on the microwave and preheat an oven.

b. “Boil, bake, sauté” – No problem!

c. I could appropriately use the following in a conversation with Padma Lakshmi: chiffonade, julienne, mirepoix, bouillon. I’m ready for something seasonal, refreshing and exciting, yet simple enough that I don’t have to bulldoze my entire evening’s schedule to prepare.

 

Some solutions for every expertise:

 

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