A cancer diagnosis is naturally unsettling, evoking a wide range of emotions. Because talking about gynecologic organs is still practically taboo for so many women, a below-the-belt cancer diagnosis can be even more distressing. Studies consistently demonstrate that many women are reluctant to even ask their doctor questions about gynecologic cancer testing, risk factors, and genetic predisposition, much less discuss potential symptoms.
Gynecologic surgeon Dennis Chi discusses why screening for ovarian cancer is not as widespread as it is for certain other cancers. Dr. Chi is Deputy Chief of the Gynecology Service, Director of the Fellowship Program for the Gynecology Service, and Co-Director of Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery in Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Department of Surgery.
Gynecologic oncologist Carol Brown was invited by the White House to speak at the United State of Women Summit in Washington, DC. Dr. Brown spoke about the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative and how it can help alleviate cancer disparities among women. She emphasized the importance of increasing the enrollment of minority and underserved populations in clinical trials and the need for women to prevent cancer through a healthful lifestyle, screening, and getting the HPV vaccine.
Ovarian cancer is the ninth most common cancer for women in the U.S., but it is also one of the deadliest. The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 22 thousand new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed this year (2014). More than 14 thousand women will die from this disease.
Ovarian cancer symptoms
Ovarian cancer is deadly because it is a “silent killer.” It does not cause noticeable symptoms in its early stages. By the time a woman notices any of symptoms and goes to see her doctor; it is too late to successfully treat her.
MSK gynecologic surgeon Ginger Gardner talked about some common misconceptions about gynecologic cancers.