Cancer

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HPV vaccine proves effective yet vaccination rates remain low among teens

March 04, 2016
A new study reports that the HPV vaccine, which targets the sexually transmitted virus responsible for cervical cancer, has, since its introduction in 2006, reduced the virus’ prevalence in teenage girls by two-thirds. A reduction rate of two-thirds is quite remarkable; however, a further decline in the prevalence of HPV is possible and can be achieved simply by redirecting the HPV conversation healthcare providers have with patients and their parents.

Good nutrition crucial before head and neck cancer therapy

February 26, 2016

Good nutrition is crucial for any patient undergoing cancer therapy, but many head and neck cancer patients struggle to get the nutrients they need as they prepare for treatment. A large proportion of patients with head and neck cancers present to their doctors with significant weight loss. Sometimes, the weight loss is unexplained. But more often, there is a clear reason for it.

Liver cancer screening: Overcoming a silent killer

February 17, 2016

Preventive care is a crucial aspect of chronic liver disease management, and liver cancer screening is a top priority. Liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and its incidence is expected to rise in the United States in coming years. So who should be screened for liver cancer, how do we make the diagnosis and what treatment options are available?

HPV-induced "throat cancer" and the difficult questions

January 27, 2016

Head and neck cancers commonly refer to malignant tumors originating in the tongue and throat region. Traditionally, those cancers were caused by long-term tobacco use and high alcohol consumption. But in the past three decades, more and more of these cancers have a new cause.

Upcoming cancer education classes

January 13, 2016

How do you cope with a cancer diagnosis? What can you do to lower your risk of getting cancer? When it comes to cancer, there is a lot to learn. The Education Department at the Swedish Cancer Institute offers regular cancer education classes. 

Latest mammography guidelines continue to cause confusion - understand your risk

October 23, 2015
Multiple respected experts and organizations have issued mixed recommendations regarding mammogram screening, resulting in confusion for many women. We believe that mammogram screening needs to be individualized based on the patient’s personal and family history and values. All experts who have evaluated mammogram screening agree that screening mammography in women starting at age 40 is associated with a reduction in breast cancer deaths across a range of study designs. Data from Swedish Cancer Institute shows that annual screening mammography can reduce the need for chemotherapy and more extensive surgical treatment. However, it is also clear that increased screening can lead to additional testing. Consequently, it is important for women and their providers to weigh the benefits and the risks.

Renowned multiple myeloma expert Dr. William Bensinger joins Swedish

September 30, 2015

Swedish Cancer Institute continues to grow team focused on blood cancers

The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) continues to expand its hematology proficiency and treatment capabilities through the addition of international multiple myeloma expert Dr. William Bensinger. Dr. Bensinger joins his former colleague Dr. John Pagel, hired last year, as part of SCI’s Center for Blood Disorders and Stem Cell Transplantation team. Dr. Bensinger is known worldwide for his expertise in blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, using treatments including autologous stem cell transplantation, targeted radiotherapy and immunotherapy.

Five day radiation option for women with breast cancer

August 26, 2015
Research shows that 90% of all local breast cancer recurrences happen within one centimeter from where the cancer was removed. Could we focus the radiation treatment into that area at highest risk but spare the remaining breast tissue?

I am excited to report that we have recently added a new breast cancer radiation treatment alternative for patients treated at the Swedish Cancer Institute. SAVI is a form of accelerated partial breast radiation that provides an alternative to the 6 weeks of treatment usually recommended to breast cancer patients. About a week after surgery, once we know that the cancer has been completely removed, a catheter is placed into the breast to deliver radiation treatment directly into the surgical cavity. Treatment now is delivered over five days instead of the standard 6-7 weeks of daily sessions.

Ductal carcinoma in situ - the need for individualized treatment planning

August 21, 2015
On August 20, 2015, the New York Times published an article with the provocative title, “Doubt is Raised Over Value of Surgery for Breast Lesion at Earliest Stage.” In it they reference a study by Narod reported in JAMA Oncology that looked at breast cancer death after a DCIS diagnosis. 

But, the questions addressed by the article were different than the questions generated by the research.

Protect Against Melanoma in Kids

June 08, 2015

A study recently reported that melanoma rates have risen 250% in children and young adults since the 1970s.  Another study found that between 1973 and 2009, pediatric melanomas (age 19 or younger) increased by 2% per year.  As medical providers we are seeing an upward trend in skin cancers in all age groups – but predominantly among young women, which is thought to be due to tanning practices.  We also know that even rare sunburns early in childhood can dramatically increase risk for melanoma later in life.  There are lots of ways that parents can help protect children from sun exposure – here are some tips to help us do our best as summer approaches!