Cancer Risk Reduction and Prevention

The American Cancer Society estimated there would be nearly 1.7 million new diagnoses of cancer in 2016. Research studies seem to indicate that only five to ten percent of cancers are hereditary. This means the large majority of cancers could be prevented based on lifestyle changes.

The Swedish Cancer Institute offers education, preventive services, cancer screening programs, specialty treatment services, and supportive care services that span the continuum of cancer care. 

In the video below, Dr. Dan Labriola shares his insights about certain green foods that have the ability to combat cancer.

Healthy Lifestyle and Risk Factor Awareness

Leading a healthy lifestyle gives all of us the best chance at living cancer-free. Consider these lifestyle changes: 

  • Practice healthy exercise habits
  • Avoid using tobacco products, including smoking
  • Limit exposure to second hand smoke
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Use sunscreen
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Examine your skin regularly and recognize changes in moles
  • Use protective barriers during all types of sexual interactions
  • Know your personal and family cancer history
  • Ask if genetic counseling is appropriate for you
  • Ask your primary care provider if the HPV vaccination is appropriate for you
  • Be aware of changes to your body such as:
    • Differences in bowel movements and urination
    • New or unexplained pain
    • Sudden changes in appetite, unplanned weight loss or gain
    • Unusual swelling
    • Other irregularities

Living Well classes and groups

Swedish sponsors a variety of patient and community educational events that provide an opportunity to meet with others facing similar experiences. Events are available to patients, their families, friends, and caregivers.  Programs span topics such as: fitness classes, coping and stress management, nutrition and cancer prevention, and creative healing expression. 

Swedish also hosts support groups focused on the needs of patients, families and caregivers.  For a full listing of our Living Well classes and groups click here.

Online resources

The Swedish Cancer Institute’s Cancer Education Center offers online resources for evidence-based information on a variety of screening, diagnostic, preventive, and treatment procedures—completely free of charge and available to you when you need it. 

Podcasts / wellness videos
Browse videos specific to cancer addressing prevention and screening, as well as treatment options, nutrition and support, and more. 

Your Toolbox for Quitting Tobacco 
Whether you are a patient, a family member or friend helping a loved one, this resource is here to help you through the quitting process. Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it can be done, and you don’t have to do it alone. This website provides information on what tobacco is, how nicotine affects your body, and the impact cigarettes can have on your life. If you’re thinking about quitting, or your health care provider has encouraged you to stop, this information will help you take the next steps in preparing to quit and provide resources to support you through the quitting process.

Cancer screening

The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) is a group of medical professionals who come together to decide on general screening recommendations for Americans. At the Swedish Cancer Institute, we seek to provide the highest level of care to our patients. Therefore, after thorough review by our expert physicians, our recommendations for cancer screening always meet, but often go above and beyond, the recommendations of the USPSTF.

For full information on cancer screening recommendations, download our brochure

Anal and colorectal cancer

Colonoscopy helps detect the polyps that are predecessors of colon cancer. Finding and removing these polyps prevents the development of colorectal cancers in nearly all cases. If cancer is already present, colonoscopy can help find it early enough for successful treatment.

Current guidelines recommend that most adults begin their colorectal cancer screenings at age 50. Those under age 50 with other risk factors and symptoms should talk with their physician or a specialist at the Swedish Colon and Rectal Clinic about possibly starting colorectal cancer screenings before age 50.

Physicians at Swedish have specialized training and expertise in screening and diagnosing colorectal cancer. Optical (traditional) colonoscopy remains the gold standard for screening. At Swedish, colonoscopies are performed thousands of times a year by colorectal surgeons and gastroenterologists—making Swedish's colorectal cancer screening program the largest in the Northwest.

Anal and colorectal cancer screening ›

Watch colon cancer awareness video  ›

Colorectal cancer risk factors and symptoms  ›

Swedish Colon and Rectal Clinic  ›

Breast cancer

Thanks to a rise in routine mammograms, more and more breast cancers are being caught in the earliest, most treatable stages. The Swedish Breast Centers are a network of breast-cancer screening and diagnostic clinics offering the latest in mammography, ultrasound and minimally invasive biopsies. Most women turn to the Swedish Breast Centers to rule out or confirm breast cancer.

The Swedish Breast Centers network includes four convenient locations and partnerships with primary- and specialty-care clinics throughout the region. Additionally, through the mobile mammography program, Swedish Breast Care Express brings high-quality mammography services to communities, organizations and businesses throughout Western Washington.

2013-2017 Breast screening outcomes ›

Breast cancer screening ›

Mammography  ›

Mammography locations  ›

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer screening ›

Liver cancer

Liver cancer screening ›

Lung cancer

If lung cancer can be found early, it is more likely that patients can be treated with the goal of a cure while lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. However, despite more patients being diagnosed with lung cancer each year than any other cancer, national policy for lung-cancer screening and research on patients at risk for developing lung cancer remains inadequate.

The SCI is at the forefront of lung-cancer screening research, participating in studies that evaluate the most effective methods for early detection. Currently, Swedish is one of 38 international sites and the only site in the Northwest taking part in the Early Lung Cancer Action Project (ELCAP), a study evaluating the use of spiral computerized tomography (CT) scans to screen and detect lung abnormalities early, hopefully before the cancer spreads to other organs and reduces the chance for a cure.

For current or former smokers: Lung Cancer Screening

For secondhand smokers (you have smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes in your entire life, and you have had significant exposure to secondhand smoke): Secondhand Smoke Exposure Screening

Lung Cancer Screening ›

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer remains one of the most aggressive and difficult gynecological cancers. It is usually detected in later stages when it is more serious and difficult to treat. The ovarian cancer screening program is designed to closely monitor women with a high risk for developing ovarian cancer using the CA125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound.

If you have a family history of two or more blood relatives with breast or ovarian cancers, or you or a close relative have tested positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2, a genetic marker, or are of Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity, you may be a candidate for this screening program.

Ovarian cancer screening (PDF) ›

Genetic Tests for BRCA1 and BRCA2  ›

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer screening ›

Mobile Mammography

The Swedish Cancer Institute's Mobile Mammography Program delivers potentially life-saving technology to communities that would otherwise have little to no access to advanced breast-cancer screening. The program's goals are to make screening more convenient, increase outreach to underserved communities and reduce the disparities in care due to access.

To learn more about scheduling the Swedish Breast Care Express including availability and fees, call 206-320-2500.

Genetic testing / counseling

Genetic counseling and testing at the Swedish Cancer Institute’s Hereditary Cancer Clinic can help determine your risk and your family members' risks for developing hereditary cancers including (but not limited to) breast, ovarian and colon cancers. Patients and family members meet with a board-certified genetic counselor who will review medical and family histories to determine which genetic tests are appropriate, as well as the risks, advantages and costs of genetic testing for hereditary cancers.