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Celebrating Lung Cancer Awareness Month in a BIG Way!

Joelle Thirsk Fathi, DNP
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in our country and this far exceeds those deaths for breast, colon, prostate, and pancreatic cancers, combined.  85% to 90% of the people diagnosed with lung cancer are current or former smokers; the risk of lung cancer is directly related to tobacco smoke exposure (smoking).  Until recently, there was not a well-established means for detecting lung cancer and survival rates were dismal.

Swedish Cancer Institute and Seattle Radiology have been screening for lung cancer by low dose CT scan since 2000 as Principal Investigators in the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program, an international screening registry.  This program, in addition to the large National Lung Screening Trial by the National Cancer Institute and several other international lung screening research trials, has been instrumental in delivering the need for lung cancer screening to the forefront and addressing this dreadful cancer in a complete face off.  This research has clearly demonstrated an ability to significantly improve survival and save lives by early detection of lung cancer through routine low dose CT scan imaging.

Nearly a year ago the United States Preventive Services Task Force made a formal Grade B recommendation for lung cancer screening, by low dose CT scan, in high-risk people.  People ..

What you should know about dealing with migraines

Kate Kennedy

Kate Kennedy
Kate Kennedy, ARNP

Many people think that a migraine is “just a bad headache.” A migraine is a complex neurological disorder caused by abnormal brain biochemistry. A headache is just one of many symptoms that occur with a migraine. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, vision changes, numbness, tingling, speech changes, dizziness, and many more. In the past, migraines were thought to be a vascular disorder. It is now believed that changes in blood vessels may play a role in migraines but the pathophysiology of a migraine is much more complex than that, involving neurotransmitters and other chemicals in the brain, electrical impulses, inflammation and the trigeminal nerve.

There are many treatment options for migraines. Acute treatments are ones that are geared at taking the migraine away when it occurs. While over the counter medications such as Excedrin Migraine or Ibuprofen can work well for some people, many people with migraines need special medication called “triptans” that work on the chemical process that is occurring during a migraine. Preventative treatments are ...

New recommendations for children’s screen time and media usage

Susanna Block, MD

Susanna Block, MD
Pediatric Emergency Physician

Screen time is a hot topic for parents, especially in our tech-savvy part of the world. In 2001 the American Academy of Pediatrics addressed the subject of screen time and recommended no more than 2 hours of screen time per day and none for children under 2 years of age . The world has changed considerably since 2001 and screens are more prevalent than ever. Recent surveys suggest that the average child in the US actually spends about 5 hours per day in front of a screen. Recent data (2013) suggest that the average 8 year old spends up to 8 hours per day in front of a screen. Some teens spend up to 11 hours per day in front of a screen. This is not a surprise since 75% of teens have their own phones and most teens text. The average teen sends 3,364 texts per month.

The changing world of media has prompted new recommendations with the hope of fostering a healthy approach to media. New ...

Why "Movember" means talking about prostate cancer

Joel D. Lilly
It is now the beginning of November, marked by colorful foliage, leftover candy and thoughts of the upcoming holidays. It will also be the first of Movember, the last day to cleanly shave that upper lip for a month. The rest of the month we are to let the mustaches emerge and flourish as a reminder of prostate cancer in the community. 

The Movember movement began ...

No Increase In Cardiac Mortality from Breast Radiotherapy

Vivek K. Mehta, MD
Patients that I see routinely ask me about the heart related side effects from breast treatment.

Today, I can provide them with even greater evidence that the techniques that we use today are safer and have less risk of cardiac injury.  According to a study published in the October 1, 2014 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (Red Journal), the official scientific journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), the survival from breast cancer is the same regardless of whether you were treated with radiation to your left or right breast mound.   

Many studies over many decades have shown that breast cancer patients treated with radiation therapy have improved local-regional recurrence, and breast cancer-specific survival after breast-conserving surgery and overall survival (OS) after mastectomy. The media has focused its attention on long-term follow-up of historic radiation therapy trials for breast cancer which demonstrated a potential increase in cardiac mortality. However, these studies used earlier modes of radiation therapy including Cobalt and orthovoltage radiotherapy, and did not employ CT-based planning, which allows for greater cardiac avoidance. Three recent studies suggest that ....

Can food allergies be undiagnosed?

Kevin Dooms, MD

Kevin Dooms, MD
Allergist/Immunologist

With food allergies on the rise in the past several years, you probably know at least one person who is allergic to cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, nuts, or seafood. Individuals with a food allergy typically experience symptoms every time they eat a particular food. These symptoms range from relatively mild like hives and swelling to more severe such as coughing, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.

Unfortunately, there are no approved treatments for food allergies today. Individuals cope by avoiding the food and having proper medications nearby in case of an allergic reaction. As most children eventually outgrow some food allergies, it’s important to get tested for an accurate diagnosis.

To diagnose a food allergy, allergy specialists usually ...

Breastfeeding, Disease Modifying Therapies (DMTs), and Postpartum Relapse in Multiple Sclerosis

Peiqing Qian

Peiqing Qian
Neurologist, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

Women with multiple sclerosis (MS) have higher risk of relapse during the postpartum period.  Can exclusive breastfeeding alone prevent relapses? How soon after delivery should disease modifying therapies (DMTs) be reintroduced? Are any DMTs safe to take while breastfeeding? 
 
While disease modifying therapies (DMTs) have been shown generally to reduce relapse rates, none of them are indicated for use during pregnancy and lactation. Therefore, the question of when to restart DMTs postpartum remains a difficult one for physicians counseling MS patients who wish to breastfeed their children.
 
Trying to predict the risk of relapse for any one individual is very difficult. The risk factors for postpartum attacks include ...
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