Swedish News Blog

You've been diagnosed with prostate cancer - now what?

Robert M. Meier, MD

Robert M. Meier, MD
Radiation Oncology Medical Director, Swedish Radiosurgery Center

Almost daily there are new recommendations for how to treat prostate cancer and an equal number of controversies surrounding the recommendations. What is a man to do when faced with the words, “you have prostate cancer”?

The good news is that there are many proven options to consider; but how do you choose the best one for you? The decision can be daunting and the controversies swirling in the news only increase the confusion when wading through the information. You may be considering:

  • Active surveillance (watchful waiting) is an option for those who want to closely monitor their cancer over short intervals. Intervention is considered if the cancer grows quickly, PSA scores increase or other situations arise warranting a more aggressive treatment plan.

  • Surgical options are available and with the advances in robotic technologies, the procedure is less invasive than in the past, recovery times are reduced and fewer side effects are reported. 

  • Radiation options are also available and treat the cancer either with external radiation beams or implanted radioactive seeds.

    • CyberKnife Radiosurgery uses robotic technology to track the prostate in real time and delivers high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy. This is an outpatient procedure where the patient comes to the center for five, one hour sessions over the course of one week. Long term side effects are rare and cancer free survival rates are excellent. (You can learn more here.)

    • Seed Implantation is another method of delivering radiation to treat prostate cancer. With this option, the radiation is delivered internally via tiny radioactive seeds which are implanted into the prostate. This too is an outpatient procedure and long term results are excellent and side effects are few. 

As a radiation oncologist specializing in treating prostate cancer...

Brain Cancer Research in Seattle Leads to New Treatment Options for Patients

Swedish News

SEATTLE, Aug. 27, 2012 – Since its opening in 2008, the Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment (the Ivy Center) at Swedish Medical Center's Neuroscience Institute has led the expansion drive of major research projects and expanded treatment options for patients living with brain cancer in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world. The Ivy Center was founded in 2008 to create a world-class treatment and research facility focused on delivering excellent patient care and advancing progress toward more effective treatments for brain cancer.

Getting a mammogram

Patricia L. Dawson, MD, PhD, FACS

Patricia L. Dawson, MD, PhD, FACS
Breast Cancer Surgeon

Frequently women will ask me: Where should I get my mammograms? There are several things to think about.

First, you want to go to a Center that is accredited by the American College of Radiology. This means that they have high quality images and well-trained radiologists. It is preferable to have a digital mammogram but if that technology is not available, then film mammograms are better than not having one done. While it is not clear that digital mammograms improve survival, they do allow the radiologist to examine the images more clearly and to use computer assisted diagnostic tools.

The radiologists’ experience is also important. Dedicated breast centers usually have radiologists who are specialized in breast imaging. These sub-specialized radiologists are very experienced in using mammograms, ultrasound, and breast MRI to diagnose breast disorders and are less likely to miss abnormalities.

Convenience is also a consideration. You want to make it easy to get your mammograms. Some Breast Centers will have mobile mammography programs that will bring mammogram screening to your place of work, local community or senior center, or even your church or synagogue. If possible, it is a good idea to get your mammograms at the same Center or within the same hospital system every year. That way the radiologists have easy access to your prior studies and can compare them to the current ones.

Here are some other things to know about getting mammograms:

The True Family Women’s Cancer Center Opening

Patricia L. Dawson, MD, PhD, FACS

Patricia L. Dawson, MD, PhD, FACS
Breast Cancer Surgeon

We at the Swedish Cancer Institute are excited about the new True Family Women’s Cancer Center, located in downtown Seattle, which opens on June 5. Recognizing that women may have unique needs when faced with a cancer diagnosis, the True Center brings together multiple specialists who treat women with all types of cancer and provide care that is compassionate, caring, and highly coordinated. It is funded entirely by philanthropy.

The True Center is located on floors 5 and 6 of the Arnold Pavilion at 1221 Madison. Floor 5 will house medical oncology teams, our psychiatrist, social workers, genetic counselors, naturopathic physicians, nutritionists, The Rivkin Ovarian Cancer Center Clinic offices, a patient education satellite, our American Cancer Society Patient Navigator, and a financial counselor. The 6th floor will be the home to our multidisciplinary clinic, which will house our breast surgery teams, cancer rehabilitation physician, physical therapists, and social worker. Also on Floor 6 will be gynecological oncology consultations and specialized breast imaging. Other specialists may also be available to see patients in the multidisciplinary clinic.

The co-location of these services allows for improved patient convenience and enhanced communication among the members of care provision teams. Instead of ...

Swedish Set to Open Comprehensive True Family Women’s Cancer Center

Swedish News

SEATTLE – May 29, 2012 – Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) is set to open its new True Family Women’s Cancer Center to patients on Tuesday, June 5. Carefully designed with the female cancer patient in mind, the new 23,600-square-foot women’s cancer center gives Swedish Cancer Institute the ability to consolidate most of its services for treating women’s cancers into one facility. The new center acts as a treatment hub where women are guided through personalized and coordinated multidisciplinary treatment of their cancer, including disease-specific education and holistic support activities.

What you need to know about breast screening

Patricia L. Dawson, MD, PhD, FACS

Patricia L. Dawson, MD, PhD, FACS
Breast Cancer Surgeon

In 2009, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) created significant controversy and confusion for both providers and patients when they revised their breast screening guidelines. (The USPSTF is promoted as an unbiased group that reviews relevant studies and makes guideline recommendations. Specialists may be asked to review the guidelines but no breast specialists (surgeons or radiologists) were on the actual review panel.)

The guideline development process aims to weigh the potential benefit of services against the potential harm, and make recommendations accordingly. For breast screening, the harms considered were “psychological harms,” imaging tests and biopsies in women who were ultimately found not to have cancer, inconvenience, and the possibility of treating a cancer that might not have been life threatening. Radiation exposure was considered to be a minor concern. Regarding benefits – the only benefit considered was reduction in death rates from breast cancer.

These USPSTF guidelines recommend...

Mammography-Detected Breast Cancer in 40-49 Year-olds Has Better Prognosis

Swedish News

SEATTLE, Feb. 23, 2012 – Based on a study of nearly 2,000 breast-cancer patients, researchers at the Swedish Cancer Institute say that, in women between the ages of 40 and 49, breast cancers detected by mammography have a better prognosis. The study appears in the March issue of Radiology.

“In our study, women aged 40 to 49 whose breast cancer was detected by mammography were easier to treat and had less recurring disease and mortality, because their cancer was found at an earlier stage,” Henry Kaplan, M.D., medical oncologist with Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI).  

Results 92-98 of 100

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