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Saturday, November 19, 2011

"When Cancer Hits Home" by Dr. Patrick Maguire

"When Cancer Hits Home" by Dr. Patrick Maguire

Hello to my blogger family. I hope all is well and that the sun shines brightly in your heart today.

I wanted to share with you a wonderful resource that helps people navigate the minefields of cancer-land.  It's called "When Cancer Hits Home" by Dr. Patrick Maguire.  I was honored to have had the opportunity to ask Dr. Maguire a few questions about Ovarian Cancer.

Dr. Maguire's book is detailed and yet broad enough to include information on many forms of cancer. All of us are damaged by cancer. Either we have it or love someone who has or is battling cancer.  Hopefully we are looking in the mirror and saying we beat it, but sadly that is not always the case.

When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, research was frightening. My family and I were thrown into research mode and it was very stressful.  Searching within the internet, contacting cancer resource centers, helping me ask questions.  I was constantly on the computer.  When I went to my local library there was only ONE book on ovarian cancer! We were overrun, beaten and confused by hunting for reliable and accurate, and mostly hopeful information.

"When Cancer Hits Home" provides a much needed guide as we enter this deep and often dark path towards treatment.

Here are the questions I had asked with the help of his publisher.

 Thank you Dr. Maguire for taking time to share your thoughts and expertise with me in the hopes that others can benefit from your work and your book.  


1.  Is Dr. Maguire willing to tell us details about current medical training for PCPs on Ovarian Cancer?  What kind of training do our medical students receive?

Most medical students' training in oncology is limited overall. Generally, third and fourth year med students learn from patients who have cancer during their internal medicine, surgical, and sometimes ob/gyn rotations. At major medical centers, students may choose an elective experience in medical, radiation, or surgical oncology including gyn onc. Interactions with patients who have ovarian cancer would be limited to these experiences for the most part. Since most primary care physicians are trained in internal medicine and family practice, their knowledge base and experience with ovarian cancer would also be limited. Most general gynecologists should have at least basic knowledge of ovarian cancer and interacting with patients in this regard, since they spend time during residency training specifically with gynecologic oncologists treating female cancers.  

2.  The trend seems to be to eventually divert gynecological follow-up back to a regular OBGYN when an OC survivor is in remission.  What is Dr. Maguire's position on this trend? 

Because ovarian cancer is generally found when advanced and has high risk of recurring/returning, immediate follow-up for at least the first few years should be with a gyn oncologist rather than general gynecologist in my opinion. When likelihood of cancer returning starts to decrease after few years, it's not unreasonable for patients to change their follow-up care back to their general gynecologist if more convenient and they are comfortable with gynecologists'  handling of their survivorship plan. 

3.  How can we teach family members and caregivers and even doctors and social workers about the chronic side effects of TAH-BSO and chemo? (total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy)

Because ovarian cancer is both less common and more deadly than breast cancer, for instance, general medical providers as well as the public have less understanding of the disease, its treatment, and potential long-term side effects. Patients, their families, and other advocates will need to continue to be vocal in this regard to spread the word and teach others (& get more research dollars for the cause!).

4. Does he recommend clinical trials for women who are in remission? 

I am a vocal proponent of clinical trials in general, because I firmly believe they're the best way to rapidly advance our understanding of cancer, its treatment, and move towards a cure. While most clinical trials are geared toward improving methods of treatment, there are many "symptom management" trials open for cancer survivors that can be quite beneficial. I usually tell my patients who are candidates for a clinical trial that "it may help you, and will definitely help future patients."

5.  How does a woman with ovarian cancer know she has a good gynecological oncologist?  What are the signs? 

In When Cancer Hits Home as well as my new eBooks, Empowered Against Breast Cancer and Empowered Against Prostate Cancer, I discuss the "Three C's of a Good Cancer Doctor." They are competence, compassion, and communication. Even gyn onc surgeons need to have all three C's to rate as good doctors in my book!  

6.  Any other advice? 

Raising awareness about ovarian cancer is critical because in cancer research, as in many aspects of life, "the squeaky wheel often gets the grease." It's no coincidence that dramatic advances in breast cancer have occurred during the past several decades of excellent funding of laboratory research, clinical trials, etc. While potentially more challenging for ovarian cancer, I'd like to see more rapid advancement of less toxic treatment options and an effective screening test for the disease. You are advancing that cause right now, which is very valuable!

Parick Maguire, MD

( I do not receive any payments from this link, I am just sharing it for your benefit in case you want to buy the book............Denise  Peace, Love  and Blessings to all)


  1. Hey really like this post. I've found some great information about clinical research and trials that are being conducted across the country for ovarian cancer.

  2. Hi Stephen,
    After my surgery I was told I needed chemo because it was malignant. I was so scared of chemo, I wanted to do a clinical trial instead. Although I have side effects from the chemo, it was still smart to do it. Now, it cancer progresses, I am ready for a trial if possible. Thank you for your care and for being part of my blogger family. Peace

  3. Servivorgirl,
    I'm very happy to be accepted as part of your blogger family. I hope things are going well. If you do decide that a clinical trial is the next step, there is plenty of information available to you.

  4. Hello Servivorgirl, I hope that things are going well for you now. I am very appreciative that you were willing to take the time to share your difficult journey, because it is quite inspiring.


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