Fight for Early Prevention Screenings to Detect Ovarian Cancer
• Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than ANY type of female reproductive cancer. Due to its progressive nature, symptoms often remain difficult to diagnose until it reaches the later stages. In part, some common indicators of ovarian cancer include: bloating, lack of appetite, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, pelvic or lower abdominal pain, abnormal menstrual cycles, unexplained back pain that worsens over time, digestive problems (constipation, gas, indigestion, nausea/vomiting, weight gain or loss), sudden urge to urinate or increases in urination frequency (National Institute of Health Medical Encyclopedia, 2012).
• Although the exact cause is unknown, certain risk factors make women more susceptible to developing this fatal disease:
(1) Genetic Predisposition: a woman’s risk to developing ovarian cancer increases if there is family history of cancer, especially ovarian or breast.
(2) Age: as women age, their risk for developing ovarian cancer steadily increases; typically this disease strikes post menopausal women, 55+.
(3) Hormones: studies conducted on women taking estrogen replacement hormones for 5 or more years indicate a higher risk for developing ovarian cancer in their lifetime.
(4) Children: research suggests that the more children a woman gives birth to earlier in her lifetime decreases risks for ovarian cancer National Institute of Health Medical Encyclopedia, 2012).
• While yearly OBGYN exams continue to monitor for early screenings of cervical and breast cancer, they fail to take into account pre-cancerous cells or changes in uterine and ovarian functioning. Research suggests that a CA125 blood test (which observes possible tumor markers within the ovaries) in conjunction with an ovarian pap-test or transvaginal ultrasound may actually serve as a useful pre-screening measure to detect early warning signs of ovarian cancer (http://ovarian.org/research.php).
• Currently routine screening for ovarian cancer is not recommended by any medical organization. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (which consists of an independent panel of national medical experts) also advocates against using the CA125 blood test (which presents a 50% accuracy rate in diagnosing Stage 1 Ovarian cancer and 80% accuracy rate in diagnosing Stages 2, 3 and 4 ovarian cancer) and trasvaginal ultrasound as a preventative screening for ovarian cancer. Due to risks of false positives, the Task Force claims that these measures are not accurate predictors of ovarian cancer and would ultimately lead to unnecessary and costly procedures. Additionally, they maintain that these early screening measures would not reduce the number of deaths caused by ovarian cancer. Finally the Task Force also states that the “potential harms” of “needless surgeries and increased anxiety outweigh the benefits” or early screening measures (http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/3rduspstf/ovariancan/ovcanrs.pdf).
Please join me in my crusade to spread awareness to this fatal disease and help the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recognize the devastating consequences of ovarian cancer gone undetected...
This petition closed over 1 year ago
Kelly Maloney, my life partner of 5 years suddenly passed away on June 25, 2012 from Stage IV Ovarian Cancer. Kelly visited her OBGYN yearly, presented no abnormalities relating to her...
Kelly Maloney, my life partner of 5 years suddenly passed away on June 25, 2012 from Stage IV Ovarian Cancer. Kelly visited her OBGYN yearly, presented no abnormalities relating to her reproductive functioning and had regular monthly menstrual cycles. Kelly was 48 years old, had no family history of breast or ovarian cancer, maintained an active and healthy lifestyle and presented no symptoms until 2 months prior to her death. In the beginning of May 2012, Kelly reported some discomforts relating to slight abdominal pain and digestion (bloating, gas, difficulties eating, etc). She remained hesitant to seek medical attention as she stated that she was probably just going to start her period.
By the time Kelly contacted a doctor to address these progressing discomforts, an ultrasound revealed a large mass wrapped around her left ovary. Following, a CA125 blood test was conducted to measure the severity of the tumor markers. The test revealed highly elevated levels and possible pre-cancerous cells; Kelly was referred to an oncologist to undergo an abdominal CT scan. Three weeks later, Kelly was admitted to the hospital to undergo surgery and doctors removed a cancerous tumor the size of a basketball from her stomach. A complete hysterectomy was conducted and physicians noted that chemotherapy would be administered following recovery to ensure all cancerous cells were destroyed.
Kelly's health dramatically declined following surgery in June 2012. She was re-admitted to the hospital where her vitals began to shut down. Doctors reported that the cancer had spread throughout her body; she had a severe infection from the surgery and was put on multiple IVs of fluid and antibiotics to treat...but Kelly's health continued to fail. Following, she was put on a heart monitor, ventilator, and had IVs administering fluids and blood pressure medications to assist with maintaining vitals… Within 3 days her kidneys were shutting down, septic shock was setting in and the family was told that it was "only a matter of when." Kelly's family collectively made the decision to take her off all machines and let her pass peacefully…she died within 3 minutes of this process.
I am seeking to collect signatures to sign a petition for the U.S. Preventative Task Force to recognize pre-screening measures as useful and necessary tests to detect early stages of ovarian cancer. Currently no medical organization condones preventative testing for this deadly disease. If insurance companies can include a simple CA125 blood test and ovarian pap-smear/transvaginal ultrasound into the yearly OBGYN exam, I am advocating that more lives can be saved when compared to no pre-screening measures at all. Ovarian cancer IS the silent killer as I have found out; and regardless of the risks of "false positives" and "costly procedures" we as a nation must ban together and fight for our health care rights!
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