Seattle Cancer Care Alliance has been named among the best in the nation for adult cancer care by U.S. News & World Report. The 2015-2016 U.S. News Best Hospitals ranking specifically cited care provided by the University of Washington Medical Center, one of SCCA’s three founding partners. This is the first year that SCCA has been named to this list, coming in at the number five spot for the 2015-2016 ranking of 902 hospitals treating cancer nationwide.
SCCA brings together the leading cancer and treatment specialists of Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine to create the best possible cancer care available. “This ranking is a reflection of our unwavering commitment to the pursuit of better, longer, richer lives for our patients,” said Fred Appelbaum, MD, SCCA Executive Director and President.
“We are gratified by how this this ranking reflects the compassionate and comprehensive care provided to cancer patients and their families each and every day at SCCA,” said Angelique Richard, PhD, RN, Chief Nurse Executive and Vice President of Clinical Operations for SCCA.
U.S. News analyzed over 5,000 hospitals for adult and pediatric care to find the best in the nation, based on critical criteria, patient outcomes and survey results from more than 140,000 physicians.
“A hospital that emerged from our analysis as one of the best has much to be proud of,” said Ben Harder, chief of health analysis at U.S. News.
Read more about SCCA′s U.S. News Best Hospitals ranking here.
Last weekend’s edition of the Wall Street Journal looks at the significant and growing trend of women who have been diagnosed with cancer in one breast and then making the choice to have both of their breasts removed. From the article:
Doctors call it a profound shift in the prevailing medical culture and some have begun to question whether the field should reconsider performing what amounts to an amputation with little evidence to support its efficacy.
Helping to drive the trend for double mastectomies are changes in the doctor-patient relationship, a federal mandate for insurance to cover reconstructive surgery, and, of course, the “Angelina effect”—Angelina Jolie’s revelation that she carries the BRCA1 mutation and her subsequent decision to get a preventive double mastectomy two years ago.
Earlier this year Patient Power’s Andrew Schorr discussed the pros and cons of bilateral mastectomy with SCCA’s Dr. Kristine Calhoun. In the video below, Dr. Calhoun makes clear that bilateral mastectomy is a medically sound option for those with a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, such as women who carry a mutation to the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. However, she’s quite reluctant to recommend the procedure for women who have a “soft” family history of breast cancer and who often have the tendency to greatly overestimate the risk of cancer recurring in the other breast.
See the SCCA website for more information about breast cancer and BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Read the Wall Street Journal article here.
Here’s a quick summary of notable recent health and cancer news:
‘Navigators’ for cancer patients: A nice perk or something more?
The Washington Post looks at whether patient navigators are really beneficial to cancer patients. Navigators–who are sometimes a nurse, social worker, or volunteer cancer survivor–guide patients through the complex system of cancer care, helping with everything from scheduling appointments to deciphering medical bills. While patients tend to see navigators as a positive contribution to their care, SCCA’s Dr. Scott Ramsey, who was interviewed by the Post for the article, says navigation may not have that big of an impact on the kind of care patients receive. Ramsey is a member of the Public Health Sciences Division at the Hutch and studied the cost-effectiveness of patient navigators in a National Cancer Institute project. Says Ramsey:
One question worth asking is why do [patient navigators] exist. And the reason is the cancer community has done a very poor job of helping patients through the system. The fact that navigation exists is kind of an indictment of the cancer-care system.
Bring Back Prostate Screening
In 2012 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against screening men for prostate cancer using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. In this New York Times op-ed, Dr. Deepak A. Kapoor, a urology professor at Mount Sinai Hospital, argues that it’s time to reconsider the task force recommendation. He describes how PSA tests can now be better analyzed to interpret readings for age and race, among other factors, which can affect what is considered “normal.” In a similar vein, SCCA’s Dr. Bruce Montgomery talked about the need for the PSA test at last month’s ASCO meeting (starting at 4-minute mark in the video below):
In Other Health and Cancer News
NPR reports on a study that concludes that frequent mammograms don’t always mean fewer cancer deaths. A new study reported on by the Los Angeles Times states that combinations of multiple “safe” chemicals may increase cancer risk. And the Washington Post looks at research that casts doubts on the benefits on fish oil.
Summer is in full swing, but are you still looking for activities to fill out your calendar? Check out these two events that will allow you to get outside and be active while supporting and benefiting cancer research.
Fred Hutch Obliteride: Aug. 7-9
For our cycling enthusiasts, Obliteride is the perfect opportunity to get some miles in while raising money for our partners at Fred Hutch. And, don’t worry if you consider yourself more of a casual rider. The weekend will feature five different routes including 10, 25, 50, 100, and 150 miles. All courses will end at Gas Works Park with a post-race celebration. Also, if riding on two wheels isn’t your thing, consider volunteering for the event.
Swim Across America: Sept. 12
If you prefer water over land, mark your calendar for Swim Across America. SCCA is the beneficiary for this Lake Washington open water swim event where participants will fundraise for SCCA and have the option of swimming a ½ mile, 1 mile, or 2 miles. There is also a Kid’s Splash for children 11 and younger who are able to swim 50 meters. To date, Swim Across America has raised more than $1,000,000 for cancer research, prevention, and treatment at SCCA since the event started in 2009. And even if you’re not a swimmer, you can help out in a variety of ways as a fundraiser or as a volunteer on land or on the water.
Dungeness crabbing is projected to reach record numbers this summer in the Puget Sound area. What more of an omen do you need to get out and go crabbing this summer? How about if it’s also for a good cause? The Third Annual Speed-Crabbing Derby benefiting cancer research at SCCA is set for July 11. Speed-crabbing is essentially the same as regular recreational crabbing – except faster! Check out the video below for details on how the derby works:
The derby is free to enter and the team that weighs in the 10 largest Dungeness crabs by weight will be crowned Puget Sound’s Greatest Recreational Crabbers. But, we know that all participants will walk away winners since the derby directly benefits SCCA. The derby begins at 8 a.m., Saturday, July 11 at the Port of Everett. Refer to the event website for more information on registration and rules. Happy crabbing!