Friday, February 10, 2012
Did you get your bi-manual screening today?
Today I have a lot of information to share, and hope that you take the time to read through the material.
The link below to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance reveals three studies that show the medical profession is still at odds as to the best screening tools for ovarian cancer. To me these findings are a little disappointing, only because we have to at least agree on the basics. I completely agree that unnecessary surgeries are a possible danger for some women, but overall, if a thorough evaluation is done before surgery, the risk would be minimal.
I say this because the insurance industry and medicare need to know what can be covered and make a difference. A real difference.
Medicare covers pelvic exams only once every 2 years. According to http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/ovary.html
approximately 46% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are age 65 or older. Think of all the women over 65 who will be diagnosed at an advanced stage because medicare doesn't cover this important screening tool more frequently!
I did not receive a bi-manual exam from my regular gynecologist and 5 months later I had Stage IIIC ovarian cancer and severe cervical dysplasia.
This hit me like a brick while being part of Survivors Teaching Students a few days ago. Our facilitator was genius, a woman from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. She kept talking about how important the bi-manual exam is and that it's "free". The students appeared so interested. I wonder if they were taken back though, like me. It's almost too simple. Sometimes we over-rely on technology........
This whole time I have been focusing on blood tests and trans-vaginal ultrasounds and CT scans. We need all of the above, but the bi-manual exam is so important. Our symptoms (see below) are primarily reflective of the displacement of the tissues and organs surrounding the ovaries, which is why interdisciplinary communication is SO important. Especially the GI doctors and the Gynecologists.
The facilitator was explaining that if the students know what normal ovaries feel like and where they are supposed to be, when they feel anything different, it can trigger them to look for more problems.
I never got the results of a trans-vaginal ultrasound that I had received about 10 months prior to diagnoses. I was refused a CA 125 because of having rheumatoid arthritis. I was told three times I was too young to have ovarian cancer. If any of these people would have been aware of the basics, including the doctor who didn't even do a bi-manual exam, my ovarian cancer would have been caught in an earlier stage.
For women, early stage diagnoses of ovarian cancers can mean longer survival rates. I try not to cling to statistics, but this is just common sense.
So if you are a medical student, please try to attend a Survivors Teaching Students presentation in your area. It will make a big difference in the number of lives you save. I was so honored to have a chance to share my story and the beautiful souls who participate in this program are just amazing. I am so grateful to have had this chance and look forward to more opportunities to meet these incredible students.
The students are incredible because when they go to a presentation such as this, you know that they really care about their responsibility. They are so busy, and that they took extra time to listen to us makes me feel good about their future.
Here is the link to the recent studies on what providers believe about ovarian cancer screening: