What would you give to extend your life span prognosis by 15.9 months? Correct treatment of ovarian cancer results in a survival rates of 65.6 months. Without treatment according to published guidelines the survival rate is 49.7 months.
Fewer than 1/3 of ovarian cancer care patients receive the best possible care. That’s a stark and ugly fact reported in today’s New York Times.
The “best possible care” sounds like a high standard, but it’s not. Best possible care follows published guidelines established in 2006 that, for some unfathomable reason, some doctors don’t follow and some patients don’t know about. The standard is that the women must be operated on and care for by a gynecological-oncologist, not a general surgeon or gynecologist. The surgery required is called debulking which removes all the visible cancer. The chemo required is IP therapy – intraperitoneal therapy. IP therapy uses the same cancer-fighting drugs but is pumped directly into the abdomen. The standard is set by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
80% of women with ovarian cancer are cared for by “low provider” doctors, those that don’t see enough of this type of cancer to be skilled in the protocol. The New York Times article states that one should seek out gynecological-oncologist surgeons who do this surgery more than 10 times a year, in a facility that treats more than 20 patients a year with ovarian cancer. Staying local, with the gynecologist or internist that you’ve trusted your health and the births of your children to, won’t work for ovarian cancer.
MedShadow Foundation focuses on side effects and long-term effects of medicine. This post technically does not belong on this web site. But we have to break the rules when 65% or more of our mothers, sisters and friends are getting substandard care. We are using the web site we have to have one more place that patients seeking the best care for themselves can find information that is unjustifiably hard to discover.