September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month - Raising Awareness in the Medical Community
By Carey Fitzmaurize, Teal Toes Founder
Those of us who have been affected by ovarian cancer seek to raise awareness of the disease anywhere we can. My organization, Teal Toes, does so by encouraging folks to paint their toenails teal, the color of ovarian cancer awareness and, when people ask about it, to spread the word about the disease and its symptoms.
But, the most effective, in the long run, will be to raise awareness in the medical community. All too often, the diagnosis stories we hear from ovarian cancer survivors involve missed symptoms and misdiagnosis. Ovarian cancer has symptoms, but they are subtle and often mistaken for something else. There is no screening test.
The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance's Survivors Teaching Students® (STS) program seeks to change this by educating medical professionals. The program brings ovarian cancer survivors into medical schools to help future doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and PAs put a face with the disease.
We talk about how we were diagnosed and, often, answer specific questions the instructor has asked us to address such as how we were told we had cancer or secondary effects of treatment. The hope is that, whatever branch of medicine these students ultimately pursue, they will remember us and that ovarian cancer should be one of the possibilities to be considered when a woman complains of certain symptoms. The Survivors Teaching Students® Program is currently offered in over 100 medical schools nationwide and last year began offering presentations in nursing schools, NP and PA programs.
As of this writing the program is offered in over 50 of of those programs. If you know of a school where the program is not currently being done, please contact Susan Leighton, National Program Director of the STS program, at email@example.com. For more information about this innovative educational program or to learn more about ovarian cancer, please visit www.ovariancancer.org.
Have you been trained to detect Ovarian Cancer in your patients?