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Cancer care during the coronavirus pandemic: This is how I deal with mine



I also get routine blood tests to check CA-125, a tumor marker that tends to be elevated in people with high-grade serous ovarian cancer, says Dr. Gorelick, the guy I had. Other factors such as menstruation and diseases such as endometriosis can also increase CA-125 levels. Experts are still unsure whether the benefits of CA-125 testing after ovarian cancer treatment will increase the overall lifespan of survivors of ovarian cancer, but many doctors choose to use this as a way to see how their patients are doing

"Just because CA-125 has increased does not mean that the cancer will come back," says Dr. Gorelick to SELF. But he adds, "If the CA-125 remains normal and stable, it gives us additional assurance that the cancer won't come back and the person will still be cancer free."

When discussing whether he should be brought along or not Dr. Gorelick tells me that in this new and rapidly changing environment there are often no guidelines for making such decisions. "Many of the decisions we are currently making are really based on our judgment and are very individual," he says.

Monitoring a patient through blood tests is often the most important medication at the start of a new process because you don't know how they will respond, says Dr. Gorelick. I have been taking this drug for a year and have never had a problem or developed serious long-term side effects. "It tells me that you tolerate this [medication] well," he says. In addition, my appointment in April would have been in the middle of what some experts had predicted for the COVID 1

9 summit in New York City. Between these two factors, my doctor thought it best to skip my blood test last month.

"This is only a one-time decision," says Dr. Gorelick. "When you come up for a blood test next month, I think we'll probably be in a better place, and it may be safer if you come in then."

I do virtual gynecological oncology examinations, if possible – without pelvic examination.

As part of my routine follow-up care for ovarian cancer, I am examined by my gynecological oncologist every three months. I should have one at the end of April. A little over two weeks before the appointment, I received a call from an IT representative in my hospital who said that this visit would be via telemedicine. He told me how to download and install the hospital app for a secure video appointment portal.

"During this pandemic, visits to telemedicine are preferred to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading to patients and providers," says Dr. Levine. "Most of the information can be obtained through contactless approaches such as telemedicine, for which we quickly increased the availability."

My gynecological oncologist Dr. Gorelick tells me that the vast majority of his patients have no personal appointments at the moment. (The exception is people who need to be physically examined for abnormal bleeding, another urgent complaint, or irregular laboratory results.)

Although tele-health has obvious limitations, it can still perform many of the same tasks as an In-person visit Dr. Gorelick.

“You can not only speak to the patient, but also carry out a limited examination. If you have an incision, you can look at the incision. If they are in pain, they can show [to where it is]. You can see them walking, ”he says. Similar to a personal visit, they can ask questions, discuss CT scans and laboratory results, and go through the treatment plan. People who cannot or do not want to use this technology can also make an appointment by phone. This has additional restrictions, but depending on the circumstances, it can still be better than an appointment.


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