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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.

What do you know about Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC)?

October 09, 2015
Unless your family has been touched by Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), it’s possible you’ve never heard of this rare genetic disorder. Here’s what you should know about TSC and how you can help raise money and awareness to find a cure.

Trying "medical play" at home

September 28, 2015
When a child hurts it is upsetting to everyone. It is natural for the first response to be alarm and fear. New pain in a child needs to be investigated with tests and examinations. There are times a clear reason for the pain is found. Other times, the reason for the pain is not well understood. In both cases, a child that is hurting is important and deserving of care.

One of the hardest elements of pediatric pain is to know how to support the child.

Why we're "walking now" for Autism Speaks

September 21, 2015
A team from the Pediatric Neuroscience Center will proudly represent Swedish at Walk Now for Autism Speaks, Saturday, September 26, at the Seattle Center. Our entire staff will be there – doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, medical assistants and patient care coordinators.

We know we’ll see many familiar faces walking for a common cause: to improve the care and quality of life for children and families living with autism.

"Life goes on" despite multiple sclerosis

September 03, 2015
Ed. Note: This blog post was written by Ed Johnson about his experiences before and after being diagnosed with MS.

I miss coaching college and high school volleyball. I was a college volleyball coach for 15 years with various schools. Perhaps the high point was when our Missouri Valley College men’s team was ranked number two in the entire nation. We were so good that year that many bigger-name schools refused to play against us, fearing embarrassment if our smaller school won. That was before M.S.

Bladder drips and gullywashers improve after anti-incontinence surgery

September 02, 2015
When a woman has bothersome bladder leakage and is seeking to get her bladder back under her control, the first thing her provider will diagnose is whether the leakage is stress-type incontinence ("drips" small amount of urine with cough, sneeze, exercise), or urge-type incontinence (loses large volume of urine, "gullywashers" soaking pads and clothing). Stress-type drip patterns are more common, but urge incontinence can put a huge dent in your quality of life and can be terribly bothersome. Urge incontinence is also called overactive bladder, and may involve a spectrum of symptoms with urinary frequency, urgency, and leakage. Many women have a combination of symptoms and both types of leakage patterns, i.e. mixed-incontinence, and this situation can pose a dilemma to providers since the treatments for stress or urge incontinence are different - which to treat first?

Mental health apps: help when you need it

August 28, 2015
Millions of Americans suffer from some form of mental health problems. It is estimated that in the U.S., about 40 million adults suffer from anxiety, about 20 million adults suffer from depression, and another 8 million suffer from PTSD. Many more people, about 78 million, report suffering from high levels of stress with poor health in self or a family member being the primary reason for the stress. Unfortunately research consistently shows that two-thirds of these people do not seek out treatment for their problems. And those who are interested in help often run into barriers that prevent them from receiving treatment. Barriers can include lack of or inadequate health insurance, lack of mental health resources in rural or impoverished areas or the stigma of getting help for mental health problems. 

Apps on smart phones could help address some of these barriers. There are hundreds of apps focused on helping people with anxiety, depression, PTSD, stress and other symptoms.  


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.

Update on the proposed changes to food labels by the FDA

August 24, 2015
In a previous blog post, I mentioned that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is making changes to nutrition facts labels (originally introduced 20 years ago to help consumers make informed and healthy food choices).

On July 27, 2015, the FDA added a supplement to the initially proposed changes (originally published March 2015). It proposes that food manufacturers not only list the grams of added sugar, but also declare the percent daily value (%DV) for added sugars, which is a major step forward in aligning with international standards for sugar intake, and a totally novel concept in terms of food labelling in the U.S.

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.