2012

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Why you should have your hernia repaired

December 31, 2012

Do you have a groin bulge that seems to come and go, often absent upon waking in the morning? Or perhaps you already know you have a hernia? Hernias are very common and occur in approximately 1 in 4 males (less common in women), so chances are you or someone you know has or has had an inguinal hernia. The main question I always get asked is "should it be fixed?"  

As a general surgeon, I see 4-5 patients every week with a newly diagnosed inguinal hernia. Many are self-referred after discovering a lump in the groin, while many others are referred from their primary care provider after the hernia is discovered during the physical exam. After verifying that a hernia is the correct diagnosis (other possibilities are a groin strain, swollen lymph node, etc.), I have a discussion which addresses the aforementioned question. As an aside, these are very common and also found in the pediatric population (

Make a new year's resolution to be screened for colorectal cancer

December 26, 2012

We have come upon the time of year when we reflect back on the events of 2012 and look forward to new beginnings in 2013. About 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions every year and frequently these resolutions are health-related.

Why not let 2013 be the year you resolve to be updated on colorectal cancer screening?

Why should I worry about colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The average lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 5%. In the colon, cancer usually arises over time from abnormal polyps, called adenomas. This provides us the rare and life-saving opportunity to intervene and remove polyps to prevent cancer from developing. Pre-cancerous polyps or early cancers do not always cause symptoms, highlighting the need for routine screening.

Simply stated, there are large studies showing that screening for colorectal cancer prevents cancer. Screeni...

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? (Tips for better hearing at the holidays)

December 19, 2012

The holidays are a busy time! Some love the hustle and bustle of the holidays and others can be worn down with to-do lists, shopping, planning and parties. Individuals with hearing loss can be especially impacted by the holidays if they are attending parties and group gatherings. They may be listening to unfamiliar voices and meeting people for the first time. Here are a few tips to support your family member through this busy time of the year.

Friends and family members can support someone with hearing loss in the following ways:

  • When attending group settings or restaurants, try to find a quiet area.
  • If you notice someone is not tuning into the conversation, try to repeat, rephrase or state the topic.
  • At times your family member may just need a listening break. Excuse yourselves and find a quite space to visit alone for a few minutes. Or better yet, participate in “people watching” and really give those ears a break!

Deciding on surgical treatment for breast cancer

December 14, 2012

A recent article in the Seattle Times references the 2012 Dartmouth Atlas Report: Improving Patient Decision-Making in Health Care. Unfortunately their take home line, "A new report that found wide geographical variation in the use of elective surgical procedures in Pacific states reflects the preferences of physicians – not what patients want or need, the authors say,” oversimplifies a complicated situation.

 

On my reading of the report, it stresses the values that an individual woman brings to the decision:

“Different...

Two key questions to answer in a suspected cancer workup

December 13, 2012

There are two questions to be answered if cancer is suspected:

Dysphagia - what it is, what can be done, and why you should speak with your provider if you have trouble swallowing

December 12, 2012

Dysphagia. This is the technical medical term for difficulty swallowing which is a common complaint. Most people have experienced this sensation in their lives. It can occur when you’re eating something doughy like a bagel or French bread and then take few extra bites before swallowing. If you immediately swallow several times in a row you may get the sensation that the food is slowly passing toward your stomach. Your mouth may salivate; you might get a pressure sensation behind your breastbone; you might experience some pain, burning or discomfort. And, then you will feel instant relief the second the food you swallowed passes from the esophagus into the stomach. This is dysphagia.

For most people, this experience occurs very occasionally and usually when we are trying to eat too much, too quickly.

However, for some patients this symptom may occur more frequently such as daily and sometimes as often as every bite of food. It may also occur with solid food alone or with both sol...

The Story Behind the Voice of 1-855-XCANCER (1-855-922-6237)

December 10, 2012

Being diagnosed with cancer is the beginning of a difficult time. The entire process – from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship – can be exhausting. And, I am sure that when you have questions that come up, you would like to have them answered, respectfully and responsively.

As health professionals we want to ensure that you, your family, friends and caregivers have access to all resources available at the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI). For this reason, Swedish launched a customized phone line tailored to the Cancer Institute where callers can find out more information on services available.

Whether you want to know more about different treatment options, learn more about research studies or locate community cancer resources, I am here to assist you. If you are a new patient and would like to be seen by a provider at the Swedish Cancer Institute, I can help get the process started for you by connecting you with th...

The Power of Thanks

December 03, 2012

Thanksgiving has passed but the power of gratitude is timeless. As a Health Education Specialist for Swedish, I get the pleasure of working with wonderful patients, clinicians and staff every day. For this I am endlessly thankful. But how often do I express that?

How often do you express thanks to those in your life (coworkers, family, friends, random strangers?) who get you through bad moments,

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