Letter: Why regular exams with a gynecologist are important

Posted Online: April 24, 2014, 11:00 pm
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It is unfortunate and unacceptable that ovarian cancer is diagnosed so late in its course. In most cases the diagnosis is made in stage 3 and often in stage 3C. Survival is much less than in stage 1 or even 2 where long term survival and cure rates are much better.

There may be at least two explanations. The symptoms often point to a gastrointestinal or a urinary condition and most of the tests ordered, sometimes including colonoscopies, are aimed at ailments involving the digestive tract while the real culprit is ignored.

Another reason is that most women rely on their primary care physician or internist for their gynecological exams. They may be getting a pap smear with or without a pelvic exam. Family physicians do not go through the intensive training and experience of gynecologists. When a pelvic exam is performed it is easy to assume that they are feeling a uterus or hard colon content and miss an ovarian cancer.

It is more convenient and may involve less out of pocket expenses when deductibles have not been met for women to rely on their primary care physician only. A regular exam by a gynecologist is not carried out until a CT scan is ordered looking for something else.

I am aware of one situation when the scan was ordered before undergoing surgery for an umbilical hernia and lead to the diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer. The importance of also seeing a gynecologist for regular checkups and female issues cannot be overemphasized.

Julie E. Bingham RN,
clinical appeals nurse,
United Healthcare
Appeals and Grievances


Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.

(More History)