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'cancer' posts

Tips and resources for Colon Cancer Awareness Month

You may have heard that March is National Colorectal (or Colon) Cancer Awareness Month, and wonder what that means. You can find out more about colorectal cancer here, or from some of the resources below:

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Also, we hope you will come walk or run at the Mercer Island Half and support Colon Cancer Research!

The Swedish Cancer Institute is the title sponsor of the Mercer Island Half on Sunday, March 24. The event offers a Half Marathon Run/Walk, a 10K Run, a 5K Run/Walk and a Kids’ Dash. There is ....

Some challenges in Targeted Therapy

What makes a target? Our understanding of disease is a model, an imagined defect in a fanciful machine. The workings of the intact organism are understood on the basis of the tools at hand and conform to the models of other world events and inventions. In the 19th century, the microscope became a useful tool and the cell was the agent of health and disease. DNA, the agents of heredity, became the basis of the most advanced therapy in the late 20th century. DNA was the target for chemotherapy, as soon as its importance in heredity was realized .

DNA as a target has fallen out of fashion. Now, we imagine the cell as a network of messages, an internet, with signals, noise and switches. These are the modern targets: growth factor receptors (and their mutations), kinases (and their mutations); the cellular equivalents of antennae and amplifiers.

This is the model that is generating today’s medicines (often ...

My practice philosophy

1. Benefit the patient, that is the most important thing
     a. That means optimizing the outcome
           i. preserving the highest quality of life
           ii. For as long as possible
           iii. Optimizing the quality of life when prolongation is no longer possible
           iv. Sometimes it means a good death.
2. There is no excuse for not using the most current information
     a. RSS feed
     b. Look it up for every patient, no matter how familiar it feels
3. Honesty
     a. With the patient
          i. Phrasing is important
              1. we all need hope
     b. With the family
     c. With myself
          i. Am I doing my best at all times?
4. The patient is not a vessel of the disease.
      a. Sometimes shrinking a cancer is not a good investment for the patient.
             i. The treatment can lower quality of life
             ii. Sometimes, the treatment can shorten life.
     b. Research can emphasize the impact on the disease to the exclusion of impact on the patient
5. It is at least as important to know what doesn’t work as what does.
     a. Sparing the patient side effects is sometimes the best thing the doctor can do.
6. All assumptions should be questioned.
     a. More intensive, ineffective treatment is not good care
     b. The most dramatic therapy has the same burden of proof as any other therapy
     c. Sometimes a clinical trial is the most appropriate path
           i. But evaluate all of the alternatives

C4YW Annual Conference For Young Women Affected By Breast Cancer

For the past twelve years, Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) and Young Survival Coalition (YSC) have been hosting the Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer, mainly known as C4YW. This year the conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue, Washington, on Seattle’s Eastside! This international conference is dedicated to the issues of young women affected by breast cancer, their family, friends and caregivers.

The Swedish Cancer Institute will have a table at the C4YW event and will have a group of experts to help answer any questions you may have, including:

  • Melissa Kwaterski, Physical Therapist at Swedish Outpatient Physical Therapy will be available to answer questions about rehabilitation and more on Friday, February 22 from 4:30 – 6 p.m.

  • Kathleen Pratt, N.D. from Northwest Natural Health will be answering questions about nutrition, weight loss and weight gain, hormonal changes, and more on Saturday, February 23 from 12 – 2 p.m.
  • Lori Marshall, M.D., from Pacific Northwest Fertility will be answering questions about fertility and infertility including, In-Vitro fertilization, ovulation induction, egg freezing and preservation, and the egg donation program, and more on Saturday, February 23 from 12 – 2 p.m.

Come join us to learn more about resources and services available at the Swedish Cancer Institute, including:

Also, don’t miss out on several opportunities for a chance to go home with a free give-a-way item, like the ‘Imagine’ glassybaby! There will be three ‘Imagine’ glassybaby’s being raffled off, and each of them have proceeds that are dedicated to the Cancer Patient Assistance Fund at the Swedish Cancer Institute. Check out the beautiful color below:

How Much is the Right Amount of Chemo for Locally Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer?

How much is the right amount of chemotherapy for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer?

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Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives: So Why Aren't We Doing It?

The American Cancer Society recently came out with a recommendation about lung cancer screening for high-risk patients:

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Marijuana smoking and the risk of lung cancer: time for pause

While smoking marijuana may have recently been legalized, one shouldn’t conclude that it is necessarily healthy.

For individuals who treat lung cancer patients in the states of Washington and Colorado, the recently passed legislations raise serious concerns. Ironically, this happened on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the first US Surgeon General Report by Dr. Luther Terry in January 1964, which concluded that lung cancer is causally related to cigarette smoking. This report had followed decades of warnings by so-called common sense alarmists who had identified this as a major public health issue but who lacked the data to fully support their claims.

It is estimated that, in the US, we saw just over 225,000 new cases of lung cancer in 2012, 80 to 90% of these occurring in active or former cigarette smokers. That year, close to 160,000 American men and women died of their lung cancer. In the state of Washington alone, about 4,200 new cases were diagnosed. These numbers are quite disheartening considering the links that were clearly established and disseminated in the 1964 report and subsequently validated by a multitude of others since. This clearly shows that legal does not guarantee healthy.

Additionally, there is a 20-year lag in between the time when a population starts smoking and the time when the incidence of lung cancer begins to increase. In reverse, it takes 20 years before a decrease in consumption of cigarettes leads to a drop in the incidence of lung cancer.

Having recognized that clear link between tobacco and lung cancer, we are often asked if such a relationship exists with marijuana use as well...

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