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Swedish Cancer Institute: Leading the Way in Cancer Treatment Since 1932

In 1928, it was discovered that the x-ray machine (a fairly new technology at the time) could be used not only to see inside the body, but to destroy cancer cells as well. A few years later, Swedish Hospital founder Dr. Nils Johanson convinced trustees to build a cancer center, and purchase one of only eight supervoltage x-ray machines in the United States.

At the same time, Swedish also spent $30,000 on 500 milligrams of radium, another recently discovered therapy effective at killing malignant cells.

The Swedish Tumor Institute, established in 1932, became the first high-energy radiation therapy center west of the Mississippi, helping usher in the modern era of cancer treatment.

Since then, Swedish Cancer Institute has remained at the forefront of cancer care. In the 1960s and ’70s our institute led the way in surgery, chemotherapy and clinical trials. In the 1980s and ’90s our programs expanded to include several campuses and affiliate hospitals.

Over the past 10 years, Swedish Cancer Institute has moved forward with new innovations, such as the CyberKnife® and Gamma Knife®, breast and lung brachytherapy, robotic surgery, TomoTherapy and more.

As we prepare to enter our 80th year, we continue to expand our robust schedule of clinical trials, specialty programs, and roster of board-certified oncologists and surgeons to offer patients lifesaving cancer care and treatment.

In June 2012, we opened our state-of-the art True Family Women's Cancer Center on the fourth and fifth floors of the Arnold Pavilion on the First Hill campus, where Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) is headquartered. It is the Pacific Northwest's largest, most comprehensive center devoted to treating cancers that affect women.