Swedish Medical Center Cancer Institute Leads the Way
Swedish Medical Center is the Seattle area’s largest nonprofit health care provider. Swedish includes several hospitals throughout Washington and a total of more than 70 specialty-care and primary-care clinics.
The medical center’s Swedish Cancer Institute has been a leader in cancer care since its founding in 1932. It was the first center to treat cancer using radiation therapy, a technique now considered standard.
Since then, it has continued to be at the forefront of cancer treatment, leading the way in surgery, chemotherapy and clinical trials. Recently, it has become one of the first northwest medical centers to perform robotic-assisted surgeries.
Mesothelioma Treatment at Swedish Medical Center
Headed by thoracic surgeon Eric Vallières, M.D., the Lung Cancer Program at Swedish treats patients with lung cancer, esophageal cancer and mesothelioma.
The mesothelioma treatment team is one of the best in the region and consists of numerous veteran surgeons and oncologists.
The team generally opts to treat mesothelioma patients with a trimodality approach, which uses a combination of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy. Surgical director Vallières strongly advocates this technique, and coauthored a 2009 study about its benefits in mesothelioma patients.
Surgeon Alexander Farivar, M.D., has handled many of the mesothelioma cases at Swedish in recent years, bringing the skills he first learned in Boston, where he trained under renowned mesothelioma surgeon Dr. David Sugarbaker. He is skilled in robotic and minimally invasive surgery, and has participated in both the aggressive EPP (extrapleural pneumonectomy) and the lung-sparing P/D (pleurectomy and decortication) surgeries for mesothelioma patients.
The mesothelioma treatment team at Swedish emphasizes individualized patient care. Vallières and his fellow doctors dedicate time and thought to each patient’s treatment, making sure every patient receives the best care possible.
Several mesothelioma patients have gone on to live for years after receiving treatment at Swedish. They credit their survival to this compassionate, meticulous approach.
Mind, Body and Spirit Programs Key at Swedish
Swedish also takes pride in treating the whole person rather than just the cancer. That’s why cancer care at Swedish takes on a “mind, body and spirit” approach, offering unique programs to ensure that each patient is as happy and healthy as possible.
Swedish Cancer Institute offers a wide range of programs and activities, including:
- Art and music therapy to aid in relaxation and expressing emotions
- Cancer education classes to help patients and their families better understand the disease and its treatments
- Cancer rehabilitation to help patients maintain or regain strength and energy
- Individual and family counseling services to aid in accepting and coping with a cancer diagnosis
- Genetic counseling to help patients and families determine their risks for developing hereditary cancers such as breast cancer
- Massage therapy to aid in relieving symptoms and side effects such as fatigue, nausea and pain
- Nutrition care to help patients make sure they are receiving proper energy and nutrients
Swedish Cancer Institute and the Community
As a nonprofit medical center, Swedish prides itself on giving back to the community whenever possible.
In addition to cancer care and general hospital care, Swedish Medical Center has founded a number of programs aimed to enhance the greater Seattle area. It provides a host of community outreach programs.
Charity Care, one of the center’s main outreach programs, offers free or discounted hospital services to underprivileged individuals. A similar program designed specifically for low-income seniors provides free vaccinations, blood pressure screenings and other basic medical services.
Swedish has other programs designed for struggling families. Swedish Pregnant Women Services works with pregnant women who have drug or alcohol addictions to reduce the risk for complications in the baby. There is also a family violence program, for which staff members are trained to identify the signs of domestic violence and address the situation accordingly. And another program trains students with disabilities to help them develop practical jobs skills.
Mesothelioma Clinical Trials at Swedish Medical Center
- A phase II clinical trial for various rare tumors, including mesothelioma cancer, that measures the safety and efficacy of an immunotherapy combination of Opdivo and Yervoy for patients with inoperable disease.
- A randomized phase II trial for mesothelioma that is studying the dosage levels and side effects of using cediranib maleate, which inhibits vascular growth in tumors, in combination with chemotherapy.
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