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Dr. Oz on Ovarian Cancer

By HERWriter
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There’s just no one better at putting complex medical conditions in understandable, digestible lay terms than Dr. Mehmet Oz. Vice-chair of surgery at Columbia University, director of the Heart Institute of New York Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center, and author of several best-selling books on health and wellness, Oz is a superb translator of medical mumbo-jumbo, intent on giving normal people the straight and uncomplicated truth. Truth that could save their lives.

On last night’s show, the esteemed doctor tackled ovarian cancer and, as usual, brought clarity and understanding to this mysterious disease. He demonstrated – with computer animation – how the disease starts in the small, innocuous ovaries (Stage 1 of the disease when the cure rate is in the 90’s). Then, without notice, it expands though a woman’s body, overtaking surrounding organs and planting cancer cells along the way. Finally, with about 80% of women with the disease, it steals the life if its host.

For years ovarian cancer was called the Silent Killer because there were no studies on early warning signs. But, when women with the condition got organized and started talking about their experience, the overwhelming majority expressed symptoms, even at early stage. Finally, the medical community responded with a scientific study and determined that symptoms, although subtle, were evident in most women with the disease. And yet, most women are still misdiagnosed and about 30% (according to Oz) are on treatments for the wrong problem – some losing precious time while the disease continues to spread.

Dr. Oz repeated the symptoms over and over so that women who experience them will remember and will seek resolution. So, here they are once again:
--Pelvic Pain
--Abdominal Pain
--Abdominal Bloating
--Urinary Urgency or Frequency
--Digestive Problems, such as unexplained fullness or constipation or gas

The program stressed that women should not panic if they have these symptoms because, quite frankly, who doesn’t have them from time to time? But if they are new for you and they are persistent for more than a couple of weeks, you should see a gynecologist.

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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Annette - I didn't see this particular program, but boy do I agree with your assessment of Dr. Oz. What I really like is that he's so straight-forward, and doesn't talk down to his audience. He's careful to use language that the average person will understand while not dumbing down the conversation. The beauty of his work is that it can also help those with a serious illness explain it better to others by having them hear Dr. Oz in action.
Take good care,

November 13, 2009 - 5:29pm

Thank you, Diane. Dr. Oz is a model for what is possible when the doctor is committed to the patient understanding as much as possible about her body. And, he listens!

November 13, 2009 - 10:46am


You are 100% right on target. I saw the show and I also admire Dr. Oz's ability to cut through dense medical information and tell me things in a way that I not only understand them, I have a good chance of remembering them.

His show on ovarian cancer was an eye-opener. The emphasis on symptoms, on early detection and on being your own advocate was empowering (I almost typed empowhering, lol!)

A woman on the show had been treated for digestive issues, GI tract issues and something else before her back pain convinced her doctor to examine her ovaries. An ultrasound found a cyst, but in taking it out they felt the cyst was not a big issue. So she was shocked a few days later when the lab tests came back and the cyst was found to be malignant.

The story has a happy ending - her cancer was found so early that she is fine. In fact, she had a baby girl a little over a year later.

Here's a link to the Dr. Oz site and a video in which he discusses those important warning signs:


November 13, 2009 - 10:18am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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