Going the Distance for Quality Care

“Nothing is going to stop me from taking a cruise with my daughter to celebrate her finishing graduate school,” said Karla D. “I’m a single parent of one daughter, all she has is me.”

Anyone touched by cancer knows, when faced with this fight, so many elements can affect your outlook. At Swedish Medical Center, we believe in empowering patients, their caregivers and everyone around them to ensure the best possible outcomes. Our expert medical and nursing staff work together to offer comprehensive, compassionate care from diagnosis into survivorship. The staff you meet at the Oncology Infusion Center are no exception.

Going the Distance for Quality Care

Karla D is a retired school teacher from Grant, Nebraska who now drives to Englewood Colorado every three weeks for chemo. “It may be more inconvenient for me to drive like I do, but the quality of care and support I receive here, you can’t put a price on it.”

It was only 5 months after Karla retired that abdominal pain put a stop to her plans to travel to Africa to celebrate her new found freedom. Doctors in Nebraska preformed two biopsies and still had no definitive results. “I was getting anxious and frustrated,” says Karla. A friend and physician recommended she make the trip to Swedish Medical Center and see Oncologist Dr. Kevin Davis, M.D.

Finally able to get a diagnosis, it wasn’t what she wanted to hear. A family history tells the story of a long line of lung cancer, but not what her MRI revealed; 3+ stage ovarian Cancer. “By then I knew it was there,” says Karla. “I knew there was a problem, but I said it’s time to start attacking it.”

Attacking her cancer with amazing caregivers by her side makes it manageable. Two people making a difference in Karla’s treatment are Nancy and Karen. Both RN’s who work with Dr. Davis and in the Oncology Infusion Center, Karla says the relationship with them is invaluable. Karla’s team is here for her every three weeks when she makes the 200+ mile drive for her treatment.

The physicians and staff at Swedish recognize Karla for her determination in survivorship. She has her eye on the prize, being with her daughter to celebrate her graduation, her drive is inspirational. “Life goes on,” says Karla. “I’m not about to give up living.”

Join us, as Swedish Medical Center celebrates Karla and those who are taking survivorship to the next level. If you are a cancer survivor, either still in treatment or in remission, a caregiver, friend or family member, join us for a day of education and empowerment. We are celebrating the way you THRIVE!

THRIVE is a FREE one-day event from 10AM – 3PM at the Crystal Rose in Littleton. Join us to learn about the Elements of Survivorship from laughter to nutrition, exercise to meditation. If you are a cancer survivor or caregiver, this event is for you, to celebrate you!

Are You One of Colorado’s 20,820 Cancer Survivors?

If You’re a Cancer Patient, Survivor or Caregiver, You Owe It To Yourself to THRIVE!

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Swedish Medical Center invites you to a very special event as we honor our state’s estimated 20,820 cancer survivors.  Join us at THRIVE for a day of education and empowerment as you meet others who have walked a very similar journey.  The expert oncologists and medical staff from Swedish will also be on hand to share stories of success and healing techniques, nutritional insight and ways to balance your new life.  We’ll also have a very special expo of area companies and organizations who support the cancer community with integrative wellness skills.


THRIVE is free to attend, but you must register online to take full advantage of what the event offers.  Details are found here, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Date:  Saturday, November 8, 2014

Time:  10am – 3pm

Place:  Crystal Rose – Littleton  8351 Southpark Lane   Littleton CO  80120

Register:  www.SwedishThrive.com

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Swedish Medical Center Awarded Oncology Certification by the Joint Commission

Denver-area Hospital First in State to Achieve “Gold Seal” in Pancreatic and Lung Cancer Care

(Englewood, CO) Swedish Medical Center is the first Colorado hospital to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for certification in Pancreatic and Lung Cancer Care. As the third medical center in the country to achieve this award for pancreatic cancer care and the fifth in the country to achieve this award for lung cancer care, this certification recognizes dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for quality health care.

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“This achievement acknowledges the exemplary care we provide to the patients of Colorado and the surrounding region,” said Mary M. White, President and CEO of Swedish Medical Center. “Our Oncology team deserves to be recognized for their outstanding dedication to quality care.”

In February, Swedish underwent a rigorous on-site survey by The Joint Commission that evaluated compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients, including infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management. The Joint Commission is a prestigious national medical accreditation organization that accredits more than 20,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States.

Swedish’s Pancreatic Cancer Services are offered as a part of the Center for Diseases of the Liver and Pancreas. As a leader in services offered in Colorado, the center has dedicated physicians and staff committed to comprehensive care and treatment to all pancreatic cancer patients. They provide the most advanced treatments and compassionate care to ensure that all of their patients achieve the best possible outcome.

“This achievement recognizes the commitment to best practice and outcomes by physicians, nursing staff, and hospital. It confirms that the Center for Diseases of the Liver and Pancreas has established itself as the leading institution for cancer treatment in the region,” says Eric Kortz, M.D.

The Lung Cancer Care program’s diverse team of specialists, advanced resources and full continuum of lung cancer care are important qualities that have helped them earn the trust and confidence of their patients and referring physicians. Patients are able to work directly with staff to coordinate and manage their treatments allowing them to devote more time and energy to achieve restoration in their health.

Both pancreatic and lung cancer patients benefit from having personal one on-one care from the entire staff. Patients have full access to nurse navigators, multidisciplinary care conferences, state-of-the-art equipment and expert clinical care.

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About Swedish Medical Center (www.SwedishHospital.com)
Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado, part of HealthONE, is a Level 1 Trauma Center and Joint-Commission-accredited Stroke, Cardiology and Cancer Center. Swedish has the highest quality care and the most advanced technologies and treatments in nearly every medical specialty and is an eight time winner of the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice Award and a Top 100 Hospital recognized by Reuters. An acute care hospital with 368 licensed beds, Swedish is located in the south metro Denver area where it has been a proud member of the community for more than 100 years. Annually, Swedish cares for more than 200,000 patients with a team of 2,000 dedicated employees, 500 volunteers and more than 1,300 physicians.

First In Colorado to Perform Cutting-Edge Robotic Liver Procedure

(Englewood, Colorado)  Liver cancer patients in Colorado now have a highly specialized alternative when it comes to surgery. The Center for Diseases of Liver and Pancreas at Swedish Medical Center is the first in Colorado to offer them the option of robotic liver resections.

2013 Barry Staver, www.barrystaver.com

“I feel as though this is a natural next step in the commitment as demonstrated by our Center for Diseases of the Liver and Pancreas.  We have a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of benign and malignant disorders of the liver and this stands as a great example of bringing new technology in the appropriate timing and circumstance for the benefit of the patient while maintaining adherence to best treatment guidelines and outcomes,” says surgeon Eric Kortz, M.D.

Kortz is currently the only surgeon in the state that uses the Da Vinci surgical robot to perform this procedure.

Liver resections remove part of the liver containing cancer. With the robot, the operating surgeon has complete control during surgery offering safety for the dissection through tissues. “Robotics offers an extension of the minimally invasive approach for liver resection to more of our patients than our standard laparoscopic procedures due to increased operative maneuverability and increased safety,” explains Kortz.

The procedure also offers patients significant advantages to postoperative pain and speed of recovery.   “The benefits of minimally invasive procedures reduce overall physiological stress on the patient during operation and recovery,” says Kortz, “I certainly feel that the future of liver resection will involve robotic decision making.”

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About Swedish Medical Center (www.SwedishHospital.com)
Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado, part of HealthONE, serves as the Rocky Mountain Region’s referral center for Level 1 Trauma, neurotrauma and as the region’s only Joint Commission certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, a recognized leader in the most advanced stroke care. Swedish offers patients the highest quality care and the most advanced technologies and treatments in nearly every medical specialty and is an eight time winner of the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice Award and a Top 100 Hospital recognized by Reuters. An acute care hospital with 368 licensed beds, Swedish is located in the south metro Denver area where it has been a proud member of the community for more than 100 years. Annually, Swedish cares for more than 200,000 patients with a team of 2,000 dedicated employees, 500 volunteers and more than 1,300 physicians.

Fighting Cancer with Faith: Stephanie’s Journey Continues

Stephanie-2“I beat it once, I’ll beat it again.”

Patient Stephanie Madsen describes her journey with battling cancer as not only a fight for her life but a story to share with others; a story to motivate, encourage and give hope to others in her shoes.  She speaks candidly about her ups and downs on her blog, www.derailingmydiagnosis.com.

Stephanie was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer of the cervix in early 2012. After having surgery and under-going an aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatment, she was told she was cancer-free. “I was super excited!” says Stephanie, “I thought, I can finally move on and start planning the future.”

Stephanie and her husband Matt discovered the treatments had left them unable to conceive, so they made the decision to consider adoption. In the midst of planning, Stephanie started having pain in her stomach. “I felt this hard lump on my left side,” she explains, “I knew something wasn’t right and I was praying my cancer wasn’t back.” Next she would receive news she’d hoped not to hear, doctors found a massive tumor the size of a soft-ball.  Not only was her cancer was back, she would have to undergo emergency surgery to remove it. “I took it a lot harder than the first time,” says Stephanie, “this time I knew what it was and I knew it wasn’t going away.”

Swedish gynecologic oncologist, Dr. Mary Jo Schmitz has seen Stephanie through her battle and performed her surgery. Stephanie says overall the surgery went well and the good news was the tumor hadn’t attached to any other organ and it was successfully removed from her body. “I was in the best hands and I had complete confidence in my doctor,” she explains.

Since surgery, Stephanie has been put back on a treatment plan. She will have chemotherapy once a week for six weeks. “It’s a constant battle, but I’m confident that I will be cured again. I believe my story can help a lot of people, I truly believe I wouldn’t be able to fully understand cancer if I didn’t have this recurrence. I’m a fighter and I’m not giving up.”

If you would like to follow Stephanie’s journey, check out her blog at http://www.derailingmydiagnosis.com.

More about Gamma Knife

There is important news for patients with brain tumors and abnormalities—especially those who were previously told that their medical conditions precluded them from undergoing surgery. A new treatment system called Gamma Knife is available to you at Swedish Medical Center, your local hospital in Denver.

The Gamma Knife is an advanced piece of equipment used to treat tumors and other abnormalities in the brain without an incision and with minimal effect on surrounding healthy tissue. For patients whose age or medical condition rules out surgery, the Gamma Knife can be a viable treatment option.

The Gamma Knife uses intense doses of radiation to treat malignant tumors that arise in or spread to the brain (primary brain tumors or metastatic tumors), benign brain tumors (meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, and acoustic neuromas), blood vessel defects (arteriovenous malformations) and functional problems (trigeminal neuralgia). The Gamma Knife treatment is highly effective for smaller brain lesions and those that are near critical structures in the head, such as the brain stem and cranial nerves.

The Gamma Knife treatment procedure is called stereotactic radiosurgery, and it is minimally invasive and creates few side effects or complications. It minimizes the risks of postoperative complications, infections, and internal hemorrhage. Often performed as an outpatient procedure, the Gamma Knife treatment does not require that patients stay in the hospital for more than 24 hours, which significantly reduces medical costs for the patient. Even better, the Gamma Knife treatment is covered by Medicare and many other insurance providers.

Gamma Knife is one of the state-of-the-art treatment options we offer here at Denver’s Swedish Medical Center. As a Level 1 Trauma Center, we are available to treat a wide variety of medical problems and disorders. If you would like to learn more or are ready to schedule an appointment, please give our hospital staff a call at (303) 562-3132.

What is the NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System?

If you or a family member has recently been diagnosed with cancer in Denver, you should know that technology is always advancing and providing hospitals with new ways to treat cancer before it spreads. The NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System is a recent innovation in cancer care that is currently available at our hospital in Denver.

The NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System is a revolutionary new method of removing cancerous tumors from the body. The NanoKnife System is FDA-approved for all soft tissue organs, including the kidneys, liver, heart and lungs.

This is a minimally invasive treatment that can remove difficult-to-reach tumors at a cellular level. Since the NanoKnife System relies on the body’s natural healing process to replace cells, there is little to no scarring after the procedure.

The NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System directs electrical energy directly at the tumor, which opens the walls of cancerous cells, effectively destroying them. This also leaves healthy tissue undamaged, a wonderful breakthrough in the treatment of cancer.

Patients with small tumors that are less than five centimeters are eligible for treatment—these small tumors may have been considered inoperable in the past. The NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System can be used for primary liver tumors or tumors that have spread to the liver from other parts of the body.

A patient undergoing the NanoKnife System can expect to be put under general anesthesia. With the use of a CT scan or ultrasound guidance, the doctor will insert the electrodes on or near the tumor. Once the electrodes are placed, the NanoKnife generator sends a series of short and intense electric pulses directly to the tumor. The NanoKnife System requires only a brief hospital stay, and patients normally experience only a small amount of pain or discomfort following the procedure.

Call the Swedish Medical Center in Denver, Colorado at (303) 562-3132 if you are interested in learning more about the NanoKnife Cancer Treatment System. We offer state-of-the-art treatments and employ top-quality medical professionals.

Skin Cancer vs. Cancer

By: Joel Cohen, M.D.

Skin Cancer is the number one cause of cancerous disease in the United States. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more men and women are diagnosed with skin cancer every year than with breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers combined. Fortunately, unlike other forms of cancer, skin cancer can usually be seen on the surface of the skin, diagnosed, and treated before the disease becomes severe. Read on to learn more about how skin cancer compares with other forms of the disease.

  • It is caused by sun exposure: Your skin is responsible for protecting your tissues and organs from the harmful substances and germs found in your environment. For this reason, it is more easily affected by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. It is estimated that about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers (mainly Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma) are caused by overexposure to sunlight.
  • It is more preventable: Because skin cancer is most often caused by excessive sun exposure, it is easier to take steps to prevent its development. Avoiding the sun during peak hours of the day, wearing protective clothing, applying proper sunscreen (and re-applying every 2 hours), and avoiding tanning salon use can help prevent the mutations that lead to skin cancer.  (see below for links to more specific information on sun-protection).
  • It can often be cured if caught early: Like other forms of cancer, skin cancer is much more easily treated if detected early. Checking your skin regularly (once a month is recommended) for any abnormal growths, sores, or pigmentations can help to ensure that you seek treatment in time. If you are at a higher risk for skin cancer (such as having a personal history or family history), seeing a dermatologist at regular intervals can also facilitate early detection. One person dies every hour in the US from Malignant Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer as it can spread very quickly.

At Swedish Medical Center in Denver, our highly skilled dermatologists are experienced in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of cancers of the skin. We have 5 Board-Certified Dermatologists right on our campus (Joel Cohen, Mike Contreras, Judy Chiang, Samantha Stoler, and Stephen Ho). We are also very proud to offer skin cancer patients the Mohs Micrographic Surgical Procedure.  Dr. Joel Cohen is one of only a handful of full-fellowship trained surgeons in Colorado through the American College of Mohs Surgery, and he is a 7-time 5280 Top Doc.  Dr. Cohen explains Mohs surgery as “an advanced treatment for skin cancer that minimizes scarring while providing the highest cure rates to optimize removal of cancerous tissue”. If you would like to request an appointment with one of our skin cancer specialists, contact our hospital in Denver today by calling (303) 788-5000 or by visiting http://www.SwedishHospital.com.

Tips for Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to better cope with the diagnosis. Read on to learn a few tips that can help you manage any stress and anxiety that you may be feeling as a result of your diagnosis.

Do your research. Knowing your current condition and becoming aware of what to expect can calm your concerns and help you to approach your treatment with more confidence. Get all of the information that you can regarding your diagnosis, including whether or not it has spread, what your treatment options are and what you can expect during the course of your treatment. Be sure to also ask your doctor about resources that may help you learn more about your condition.

Stay healthy. Staying healthy now is even more important than it was before your diagnosis. Making healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a varied and balanced diet and getting plenty of rest, will help you to better manage the stresses of cancer and any treatment that you may undergo.

Accept support. During this time and in the near future, your family, friends and loved ones may offer you their help and support. Accept this help and encourage your caregivers to do the same. A little extra support can not only help you to stay positive during this difficult time, but it can also allow others to feel like they are making a positive contribution to your well-being.

Swedish Medical Center is proud to offer a variety of state-of-the-art cancer treatment options to patients living in the Denver area. Our oncology experts are committed to providing only the highest quality of medical care while focusing on the needs of the whole patient, not just the disease. If you are interested in learning more about what our cancer care center has to offer, we are happy to answer any questions. Please call us at (303) 788-5000.

About Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer occurs when malignant, cancerous cells develop in the breast. Although all women are at risk for this disease, there are certain lifestyle decisions that can increase, or reduce, a woman’s risk.

By watching this video, you can learn more about what affects breast cancer development and what is unlikely to change a woman’s risk. The hosts in the clip also discuss the importance of regular mammograms and other potential screening processes that can help to detect the disease at its earliest stages.

Swedish Medical Center is proud to provide the women of the Denver community with the most advanced diagnostic and treatment options available for breast cancer. The Swedish Breast Care Program is designed to help you understand the medical system so that treatment is easy for you to access and options are fully explained. Your care involves oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and many other medical disciplines. Our approach is to coordinate all of these services, referrals and therapies for you so that you can focus on your most important task — restoring your health. We are here for you.

To learn more about your risk, contact the staff of Swedish Medical Center today at (303) 788-5000.