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Dr. Oz on Ovarian Cancer

by on June 22, 2012

Ok, confession time… I am sooooo not a fan of Dr. Oz or any show of that ilk… The Doctors, even Oprah (don’t hate me!).  I don’t really have a reason for my distaste; I just don’t like them.  So I was kind of dreading having to sit down and watch this episode even if it is for a good cause.

Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised.  He was very informative about symptoms, diagnostic tests and a few simple things you can add to your diet to reduce your ovarian cancer risk.

I took notes again.  This time directly in this very wordpress blog post window.  Man, I hope I can make it all make sense!

To begin, a few bits and pieces…

  • Med students for many years were taught that ovarian cancer doesn’t have symptoms.  This misguided notion is starting to change.
  • 30% of women with ovarian cancer are given prescription for something else before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
  • During the show, Dr. Oz actually shows a post-menopausal ovary – about the size of an almond and one with ovarian cancer – HUGE, I’m honestly not even sure how to describe it.  It was crazy.
  • Go with your gut – if you feel like your doctor is misdirecting you, get a second opinion.  He talked with two different women who have many ovarian cancer symptoms; one who was referred to a gastroenterologist and another who was referred to a neurologist.
  • At an event in Dallas, he met a girl who was 11 when diagnosed with ovarian cancer!

The first main topic he discussed with his panel of experts was symptoms.

  1. Abdominal bloating or increased bloating that occurs every day and lasts more than 2-3 weeks.  What doctors should be looking for is a pattern or routine that is a change from the norm.
  2. Abdominal pain.  Again pain that occurs every day or most days and lasts for 2-3 weeks.
  3. Difficulty eating and/or quickly feeling full.  Dr. Oz showed an animation showing how the ovary releases chemicals which paralyze the guts and make digestion more difficult leading to feeling full.
  4. Urination.  Increased frequency every day for 2-3 weeks.  Your doctor should check for a UTI but if it’s not that, there’s a chance it could be something more.
  5. A family history of breast, ovarian, colon cancer isn’t exactly a symptom but it should be considered along with the other symptoms as well as a personal history of breast or colon cancer.
To help you talk with your doctor, Dr. Oz created a one-sheet to discuss symptoms. Here’s a screen shot.
Screen Shot of Dr. Oz Ovarian Cancer One-Sheet

Next Dr. Oz discussed three tests that should be considered if you have some of the symptoms listed above.

  1. Transvaginal ultrasound.  With a transvaginal ultrasound, the probe goes much closer to the ovaries than in a regular abdominal ultrasound.  This test is a great starting point toward a diagnosis.
  2. Rectal vaginal exam.  A rectal vaginal exam is also used for a closer inspection of the ovaries as opposed to the vaginal exam that you are used to getting at your annual gynecological exam.
  3. Blood test for CA-125 which, as we’ve mentioned before, measures a protein that ovarian cancer cells secrete into the blood stream.

The final segment of the show was on how to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer with diet.  Dr. Oz’s guest was Dr. William Li, President of The Angiogenesis Foundation, who said that fruits are key because there are many factors with cancer that you can’t control but you can control what you eat.  He made three suggestions:

  1. Endive – A study of 62,000 women in the Netherlands showed that 1/2 cup of raw endive twice a week can reduce risk of ovarian cancer by 75% by cutting the blood supply to ovarian cancer cells.
  2. Sea bass – A study of 18,000 in northern Italy showed that 2-3 servings (the serving size should be about the size of your palm) per week reduces risk of ovarian cancer by 30%.
  3. Onion – A study (sorry, I didn’t catch the stats on this one) showed that 1/2 cup of onions produced a 72% reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer.  Red onions are preferred as they have the highest levels of flavenoid the chemical responsible for the reduction.  One important point – don’t boil the onions or it cancels out the effect.
They even cooked a delicious sounding meal with all the ingredients: Sea Bass with  Mediterranean Sauce.  Read Dr. Li’s article on the Anti-Ovarian Cancer here.

Ok… so there was a lot of great information packed into that episode, I hope that I’ve captured the gist of it.  Please visit Dr. Oz’s website to learn more and click here to watch the episode’s segments.

– Marcy

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From → education, Events

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