Cancer

Breakthrough Cancer Treatments: Sorting Through Media Hype

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Well they finally figured out that they can't detect ovarian cancer in regular screenings. In fact, the women who were screened had false positives and surgical complications as well as more deaths than the women who weren't screened. Oops. So I'll scratch that one off my list.

An annual mammogram, I can do that. A colonoscopy every ten years, I can do that. My husband, who had that bad colonoscopy followed by surgery, says he would rather have an annual colonoscopy than surgery again. I think prostate cancer screenings are up for debate these days. Annual skin checks I can cope with as well.

After one cancer diagnosis, never mind more than that, you get privileged to get every regular cancer screening there is. Because 'with your medical history, they need to be sure'.

Granted once you get on the cancer roller coaster, it's too easy to overreact to 'with your medical history, we need to be sure,' and start saying 'well I had cancer before, I need to make sure I don't have it again.'

But when talking with your doctor about a potential health issue that 'with your medical history, they need to be sure,' its a balancing act. I mean if they don't test and you have something, what if they catch it too late? Or do you need that extra trip on the cancer roller coaster as well as expense to get a negative test result?

But the point is that you should talk with your doctor. I like the times when my doctors tell me the normal protocol is this and there is no reason for anything more. I dislike the 'but with your medical history, we need to be sure,' so here go some more tests and medical adventures.

The media plays a big part in the emotional roller coaster. If you listen to what the media tells you, you will be running from doctor to doctor, and eating red meat this week but not next week, and upping your vitamin intake last week, but switching to new supplements. Never mind that it seems that the media either reports on medical breakthroughs that are in the mouse-test stage or ones that aren't news because they have been around for a while.

There has never been a medical breakthrough that I learned about in the media that applied to me and was appropriate. My thought is to ask my doctor and skip the news reports.