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Focusing on cancer prevention saves lives

Research done at the Swedish Cancer Institute is providing new opportunities in cancer prevention. Sponsored by Providence Swedish.

SEATTLE — February is National Cancer Prevention Month, and we all can take steps to help prevent cancer, like applying sunscreen and quitting smoking. Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying on top of screenings are important factors too.

“There’s something really special in Seattle,” said Dr. Sara Jo Grethlein, executive medical director of Swedish Cancer Institute. “Drinking coffee prevents cancer.”

A recent study found that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of skin cancer and other cancers. Regular visits with your primary care physician and specialists like dermatologists, urologists, and gynecologists also play an important role in cancer prevention.

“It’s really important to partner with your team of healthcare folks,” Dr. Grethlein said.

The initiative for prevention and early detection of cancer at the Paul G. Allen Research Center at Swedish Cancer Institute is looking at gathering cells from places known to become cancer so the team can intervene.  

“We’re doing a lot of great things with our current tools, and we’re also trying to improve the tools that we have,” Dr. Grethlein said.

Dr. Sravanthi Parasa is using artificial intelligence to help detect precancerous lesions during colonoscopies. This technology has improved the detection of precancerous lesions by 30 percent. Providence Swedish is also comprehensively studying fallopian tube and ovarian cancer precursors to learn how ovarian cancer develops.

The Swedish Cancer Institute has mobile mammography and partners with community groups serving underrepresented populations to help close gaps in cancer care.

“Part of the challenge is, as a profession, healthcare and medicine needs to regain the trust of some of those communities,” Dr. Grethlein said. “We partner with groups that are in the community and already have the trust.”

Swedish’s new mammography van was funded by philanthropic dollars through the Swedish Foundation. Last year, Swedish received $5 million from generous donors in the community. 

To learn more about cancer prevention and the work of the Swedish Cancer Institute, visit the Swedish website or call 1-855-XCancer.

Segment Producer Suzie Wiley. Watch New Day Northwest at 11 a.m. weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.

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