CDC Symptom Diary Card

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Remember Ovarian Cancer and Dr. Oz

I'm thinking out loud here...........

Why is the medical training segmented into body systems versus body regions?  I ask this because this "systems" frame of reference is probably one of the biggest reasons ovarian cancer is often detected in an advanced stage, if at all.

I attended a very informative survivors course on May 20th designed to help ovarian cancer survivors better heal, understand this illness and look for ways to start to move forward with their lives.  I enjoyed it and was fortunate to hear my gynoc speak, she did amazing.  I met some women from my online ovarian cancer support group, yay.  Overall, I learned a lot, walked away with good resources, and made new friends.

Dr. Goff presented incredible research done on early detection of ovarian cancer.  But we are really still in the research stage.  Of course I can't remember all the details and left my notes in another place, but it's safe to say that Ovarian Cancer researchers are aggressively testing for valid and reliable early detection methods.    It's on the agenda and we must continue the fight.

So at the end of the day, the best mechanisms for early detection are for women to pay attention to their bodies, look for early signs of ovarian cancer and tell their doctors what's going on. Then we need to depend on the physician to know what tools are needed to accurately detect what illness is present, and know then how to properly treat the illness. Is it IBS or ovarian cancer?  We are constantly amazed at how frequently a woman with deadly ovarian cancer is told she probably has IBS and almost dies.

So what about women who aren't even aware of the symptoms?
What about women who have few or no hard symptoms?

We pray for good doctors.  If a female has an under-informed or misinformed or outright negligent primary care doctor or regular gynecologist, please pray for her.  

If you know my history, you know what I'm talking about.  Here's a reminder.....early symptoms for me were low back pain, cruel/severe abdominal pain, whacky periods........eventually bloating, even more abdominal pain, unable to eat real food, getting full quickly, problems with urination ( I was told to do kegel exercises).

All of these symptoms occur in the abdominal and pelvic region of a woman's body.

BUT, instead there are multiple doctors evaluating the same region of your body, all looking at different systems. Not ONE, not ONE detected my ovarian cancer early.  Early detection rarely occurs.  

I went from PCP to regular gynecology to gastroenterology and even oncology.  The last gynecologist who treated me in California never did a bi-manual pelvic exam.  I was having problems.  I'll always wonder if he could have detected it early....

The gastroenterologist did a colonoscopy/endoscopy and found nothing.

My PCP was worthless, and said it was up to the specialists to figure it out.  She's the one who told me to do kegel exercises for my urinary frequency.  Meanwhile I was having other problems....ugh

And, I'll remind everyone I was told by at least three doctors I was too young to have ovarian cancer.  One oncologist (who only saw me one time) told me he chose not to do a CA125 test on me because of my rheumatoid arthritis.  Since I was told I was too young to have ovarian cancer, I actually believed them.

Again I thank God that He sent me an excellent surgeon and then an excellent gynoc in Seattle.  It's like finding the last lifeboat on the Titanic.

So here's my solution.  Instead of a million doctors looking at different systems in the same region, lets have a few specialists look in the abdominal as a whole and see how things work together for a change.

If medical care was based on regions, then all the organs and tissues in THAT region would be analyzed.  It doesn't mean that the doctors couldn't incorporate their comprehensive system knowledge, it just makes diagnosis more efficient.  I think we assume that the PCP is supposed to wear this hat, be the central information communicator.  Alas the PCP seems to have been reduced to a referral agent.  I hate to say it but they don't seem to know as much as they used to, maybe that's all in my head.

In other words maybe a new area of medicine is necessary, an abdominal cavity specialist.  Not to detract or add to the multitude of specialists already in existence, but in the case of ovarian cancer, the symptoms show up when the tumor grows large enough to negatively impact other "systems".  It impinges on say the ureter or the bowel or some other organ nearby.  It is then that we know something isn't right.

You would think that logic would dictate that because the ovaries are hidden, that doctors would be MORE aware of ovarian cancer, because they should be aware of hard to detect illnesses/diseases as well as easily detected diseases.  It's like the medical community only wants the easy patients sometimes.  How harsh us patients must be if we were to expect a gastro doc to be aware that ovarian cancer symptoms are similar to IBS.  We are demanding aren't we....

So at the end of the day, we as women need to tell the doctors we might have ovarian cancer.  Unless you are favored by God to have an amazingly bright and informed physician who remembers ovarian cancer, you may get misdiagnosed.  


In the mean time, please link to Dr. Oz show as he is taking the daytime TV show lead to help teach women the signs of ovarian cancer.  Dr. Goff is also on his show.  She provides valuable and lifesaving information and explains very clearly how dedicated she is to ending this deadly disease. She also reveals new research in the field of ovarian cancer, please watch the program. 


Peace and Blessings

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for giving to me your precious time. I look forward to what you have to say. Peace and Blessings, Always.