Wellness: It’s a Family Affair

MammovanThis Saturday, April 18, stop by Rainier Beach Community Center between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to participate in a health and wellness event for the whole family. SCCA is partnering with Fred Hutch, Cierra Sisters, Seattle Parks & Recreation, and others to host the event, which will include free health screenings, information booths, a kids’ activity table, and refreshments.

Our Mobile Mammography Van will be there offering no-cost mammograms. Call 206-288-7800 today for eligibility information and to schedule your appointment for Saturday.

Additional health screenings available at Saturday’s event will include dental screening, blood pressure checks, hepatitis C testing, diabetes screening, and HIV screening. Organizations will also be on hand to assist with ACA registration, ORCALift enrollment, and National Marrow Donor Program enrollment.

The Rainier Beach Community Center is located at 8825 Rainier Ave. S., between S. Cloverdale and S. Henderson Street. We hope to see you on Saturday!

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    An SCCA Perspective on Rita Wilson’s Diagnosis

    vkgadi-wisonEditor’s Note: Earlier today, Rita Wilson disclosed to People Magazine in an exclusive statement that she has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer and has undergone bilateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Below, SCCA’s Dr. VK Gadi provides a detailed discussion of Ms. Wilson’s underlying condition– LCIS (lobular carcinoma in situ) –and what treatment options should be considered for women with this condition. Dr. Gadi is a medical oncologist who specializes in caring for women with breast cancer. Learn more about Dr. Gadi’s clinical and research expertise here.

    What is LCIS and how is it related to invasive lobular carcinoma?

    Ms. Wilson has a cancer that has arisen from cells that line the breast lobules, the structures that ‘produce’ milk following a pregnancy. Most commonly, her lobule cells have accumulated mutations over many years that have resulted in an inappropriate program to divide more rapidly than normal. The initial result of this growth is to ‘clog’ the lobules — a finding described as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). This is a common finding and considered generally a ‘non-obligate precursor’ for (i.e., could become but usually does not become) invasive cancer.

    Over time additional mutations arise, allowing the cells to break through the lobule lining and invade the surrounding normal breast tissue, hence the term invasive or infiltrating lobular carcinoma. The importance of this is three-fold. Invasive cancers cause architectural distortion of the normal tissues. What is actually seen on scans such as mammography or ultrasound is this change in the normal tissues. Second, invasive cancers cause swelling (edema) as they destroy normal tissue, thus resulting in an actual ‘mass’ that sometimes can be felt by a patient. Third, by virtue of no longer being constrained to the inside of the lobule, invasive cancers can now travel to local places such as the lymph nodes under the arm but potentially to any part of the body including but not limited to the bone, lung, liver, or brain.

    It is noteworthy that lobular carcinomas are missing (mutated) for one gene in particular called e-cadherin. When this gene is functionally missing, cancer cells can grow unattached to each other and march along ‘single-file’ in the breast tissue. Because of this slightly different growth pattern than other breast cancers, lobular cancer can grow to very large sizes and often metastasize to the lymph nodes before being clinically detected by mammography or other techniques. Under the microscope, LCIS that has become invasive lobular cancer can be hard to discern. Obtaining a second opinion on pathology can help clarify difficult cases such as Ms. Wilson’s.

    One additional point about Ms. Wilson’s cancer is that she describes a recent change to increased ‘pleomorphism.’ This term simply means that under the microscope, the LCIS had recently taken on some concerning changes and was starting to look like other more disorganized cancers. The risk of being associated with invasive cancer goes up when pleomorphism sets in. Most lobular invasive cancers retain very favorable biologic characteristics such as being positive for hormone receptors, having a low tumor grade under the microscope, and a low dividing rate if measured. Read More »

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      Help us Slay the Sarcoma Dragon

      Join the SCCA Sarc Sharks this weekend at the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation’s Dragonslayer Walk. The 11th annual walk will take place this Saturday, April 18, at Green Lake Park, and is an opportunity for SCCA staff, patients, family members, and friends to come together in support of sarcoma awareness and research. There are already 34 members of the SCCA Sarc Sharks, SCCA sarcoma doctors, nurses, and staff members, and it’s not too late to register to join the team.

      SCCA is proud to sponsor this event and we invite you, your family, and friends to participate and help slay the sarcoma dragon. You can participate in several ways: register as an individual, join the SCCA Sarc Sharks or, if you are unable to make it to the event on April 18, participate as a virtual walker or make a donation. We’re looking forward to this year’s Dragonslayer, and hope to see you at Green Lake at 9:30 a.m. on April 18.


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        SCCA/Starbucks Racer Profile: Bart Heer

        Bart Heer is a track power house for the 75-rider SCCA/Starbucks Cycling Team, racing as a Masters Category 2 rider, the second-highest of five non-professional racing categories. Last season was a pretty impressive one for Bart, who finished third overall in the Track Masters A 35+ Category, a mix of Category 1, 2, and 3 riders—meaning Bart beat riders in a category above his own. More impressive still is the fact that this was a comeback season. “I found out halfway through the season that I was in third place in Masters, and I managed to hold onto it for the entire season,” said Bart, who returned to racing mid-season in 2013. “I’m really proud of that after coming back from not racing for three years.”


        Bart and his father Jim, who was treated at SCCA. Photo credit: Marcia Heer.

        It doesn’t seem like he missed a beat. In 2010, which Bart refers to as his breakthrough season, he took first place in the Tour de Dung series, a two-race road series that Bart entered as a Category 4 Road racer. He also started that season as a Category 4 racer on the track… and finished the season as a Category 2 racer. That is a serious accomplishment in cycling—most racers move up a single category after one or two full seasons. Bart isn’t most racers. He finished third in the Category 3 Omnium that year at the FSA Grand Prix.

        “I was 44 racing against 20-somethings. And that’s how I earned the upgrade to Category 2,” he said.

        Don’t mistake his quotes as boastful, Bart is the model teammate. He is respected and adored by fellow SCCA/Starbucks riders for his enthusiasm and encouragement.

        “It’s always been a cohesive group. The first three years I raced the team seemed pretty solid, but over the years it’s really matured,” said Bart, who joined SCCA/Starbucks as one of the founding members of the men’s squad. “I would never have anticipated that the team would develop into such a strong racing body within the community.”


        Photo credit: Kirsten Reed.

        It was that team community that introduced Bart to SCCA. When Bart and the men’s squad partnered with the all-female Starbucks cycling team in 2008, some of the men had connections to SCCA, which came on as a sponsor.

        In 2013 Bart’s father was diagnosed with lymphoma and specifically chose SCCA for treatment because of their exposure to SCCA values and services through the cycling team. Bart’s dad has been cancer free for a year now.

        “I was a big believer in the organization before that, but when your dad can be around longer than he would otherwise, that cemented it for me. That’s a really personal connection.”

        Bart appreciates that there are many people with similar SCCA experiences. People lean out of car windows to talk to Bart and other riders wearing the team kit—they’re excited to see the SCCA logo because they’ve been personally touched by the care they or a loved one received. “When I’m wearing my kit, people talk to me about those experiences and I love that,” Bart said.

        Kirsten Soelling is a member of the SCCA/Starbucks Cycling Team. She works as a content strategist for the consulting company Sappington and moonlights as a stringer sports reporter for the Associated Press…because one writing job is just not enough.

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          Join Obliteride on New Route Benefiting Women’s Cancer Research

          Obliteride 2015 is just around the corner — 120 days away, to be exact. This year’s annual bike ride to raise money for cancer research at Fred Hutch will take place Aug. 7-9. If you’d like to participate, but don’t consider yourself a cyclist, a new route option announced this week might be the perfect fit.

          ObliterideOn Tuesday, Obliteride announced the addition of a 10-mile route that will take place on Aug. 9 and raise money specifically for women’s cancer research at Fred Hutch. Riders will start at the Fred Hutch campus, take a scenic tour around Lake Union, and end at Gas Works Park for a celebratory party. One in three women will get cancer in her lifetime, and this ride will raise money to help find a cure for women’s cancers. Our partners at Fred Hutch are leaders in research of cancers that affect women, and have achieved significant breakthroughs that improve how we treat breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer.

          The whole family can take part in the 10-mile ride. Children older than 10 can ride their own bikes, and younger children are welcome to ride on a tag-along or tandem bike. Even people who don’t have a bike of their own can join in by renting, borrowing, or buying a bike to ride the inaugural 10-mile route. For those looking for a longer ride, the event’s four additional routes cover 25, 50, 100, or 150 miles. View all of the route options on the Obliteride website.

          Obliteride is a bike ride, but also an event that brings people together to show that we can all do something to fight cancer. All of the money raised at the event goes toward lifesaving cancer research at Fred Hutch. Register today to join Obliteride as a rider or volunteer.

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