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NY Times says only 1/3 of ovarian cancer patients get the best treatment

seatown's picture
Posts: 266
Joined: Sep 2012

Must admit, it’s more than a little unsettling to come across articles like this one, which says only a third of ovarian cancer patients are getting the best treatment.


I was surprised to read some ovarian cancer patients have surgery at the hands of someone who performs only a handful of such surgeries each year. I was encouraged to learn my surgeon does several similar surgeries at least weekly and hundreds yearly, though I never knew there were that many ovarian cancer patients here. I have complete confidence in my medical team, and it appears they bring the best credentials and experience to the game. But every now and then I can’t escape the fleeting thought that maybe there is some other treatment or method out there.

I’ve also had the occasional regret that we don’t live in a city with one of the 21 leading cancer centers of the Natl Comprehensive Cancer Network. I’ve known cancer patients who traveled thousands of miles for treatment at one of these centers. But I think that’s not for me—I’d find the travel and dislocation far too burdensome.

The NCCN guidelines (see theTimes story) for ovarian cancer treatment explain that these protocols are also the best treatment for my much rarer primary peritoneal cancer. I’ve pored over NCCN’s 92 pages of ovarian cancer patient guidelines and satisfied myself that my treatment has been exactly what’s  specified, so I guess I need to stop worrying and just be glad I’m apparently not in the two-thirds of ovarian cancer patients who don’t get the best treatment. Still, I’ll think for a long time about the fact that the NY Times thought it important enough to editorialize on the subject of inadequate treatment of ovarian cancer.



wholfmeister's picture
Posts: 314
Joined: Dec 2012

Thanks for sharing these news articles.  The facts presented are sobering. 

Our family doctor is a nice enough guy.  I liked him because he took care of whatever the issue was, suggested the usual recommended tests as we get older, but he never insisted on anything, which was fine with me.  I was pretty darn healthy and only went to him once a year to get a prescription renewal.  I didn't think he was the smartest, or the best, but he met my needs to my satisfaction. 

But when I started having severe pelvic pain, he systematically ordered a colonoscopy (all clear) and then a CT scan.  As soon as he saw the CT results, he got me an appointment right away with a leading gyn-onc.  What a stroke of genius!  As near as I can tell, my cancer care has met every standard of excellence.  Last time I was in to see the family doctor (to get the annual prescription renewal) I thanked him for that life-saving referral to the absolute best gyn-onc.  You know what he said?! "I read a lot."  So, I'm grateful he read the right article to get me to the best cancer care.

It is very sad that many women are so overwhelmed they just blindly go non-gyn/onc surgeons because they don't know any better, and no one tells them.

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