Black women ovarian cancer (A plea)


[00:00:00] All right, team. I'm not gonna say, oh my God. Sorry. I'm still talking about ovarian cancer cuz there is so much more to talk about. But right now I am going to be talking about ovarian cancer and racial disparities because as we know, racial disparities affect health in millions of different ways. And ovarian cancer is not immune to that. 

So black women are more likely to develop ovarian cancer for a variety of reasons that are. Known and not known. So the theories have on one hand to do with factors that in theory could be changed based on the environment, like, um, the diet and exercise and increased risk of diabetes and hypertension and renal disease that are due to. 

Food and lack of access to good quality food in many of the more poor neighborhoods in America. So that's one aspect. What goes along with that is also vitamin D deficiency, because [00:01:00] darker skin and genetic differences make them less likely to absorb Vitamin D, which increases the risk of all cancers, including, um, ovarian cancer. 

Unfortunately, there. Aspects that are very changeable, that are completely just due to lack of access in America to hospitals. So in other words, in the poorer neighborhoods, you will have different access to good quality hospitals, good quality oncologists. This change is not only your ability to seek. 

Diagnosis, which we'll talk about in a sec, but also women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, who are African American, are less likely to be involved in studies and trials that would increase their ability to survive stage three and four disease because we're making strides in three and four disease, and in fact, the five-year survival of white women. 

in ovarian cancer has increased over the last decade and a half, and the survival for the five year survival for black women in America has not only not increased, [00:02:00] but in certain studies has even decreased. And again, this can be due to factors like lack of diagnosis because they don't necessarily have access to care. 

Lack of aggressive chemotherapy and their, their, um, genetic variations that have them respond to chemotherapy differently. So not only do they respond differently, but they don't necessarily get the same chemotherapy and they don't necessarily get access to studies and trials that will improve the outcomes. 

And again, nutrition, vitamin D deficiency, hypertension, diabetes, um, a host of things. And so I. I don't know even know what to say. I think I will say to any black women that I know out there, please know that we can do better and we need to do better. I need to unfortunately, enlist you as a willing participant in your health in trying to make sure that if you have. 

Bloating, pain, pressure, all the things that I say all the time. I needed you to go to your doctor's office [00:03:00] and ask for a pelvic ultrasound because again, lack of diagnosis and later diagnoses, which like I said in one of my videos today, 66 plus maybe up to 70% of women are diagnosed at stage three or four. 

So that is something we definitely need to change. Um, other aspects which are. Again, maybe changeable. So birth control pills. Do you guys know decrease the risk of ovarian cancer? I know birth control pills getting maligned a lot, but birth control pills, which stop ovulation decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. 

Unfortunately, if you have hypertension or kidney disease, you can't go on birth control pills. And that is also something that is, um, at increased risk in the African American community. So there are things that we can change as a community, and there are things. Um, we can improve as far as access and improve as far as our ability to enlist African American women in trials and studies. 

So it needs to be a hugely collaborative effort. And as always, I think that none of us can rely on everyone else to do these things. So I think. We as [00:04:00] doctors need to do better in being really quick to jump to pelvic ultrasounds even though they're not always covered, which is a whole nother issue. I need you as patients to be very, very, very clear in knowing your body and knowing that if you have pain or pressure, again, that lasts more than two weeks. 

Don't freak out, but please, please, please call your doctor. Feel free to say, listen, I listened to this crazy doctor on, uh, Instagram, and she said, I need an. pressure them into it. I know that sounds terrible because I really do trust that most doctors do the right thing for the right reasons, but unfortunately, ovarian cancer gets missed over and over, and part of it is because patients aren't coming forward. 

But part of it is very much because doctors are not sending people as early as they can for an ultrasound. Let me be clear again if I haven't said it enough. There's no screening test, but an ultrasound, if someone has symptoms, is the best way to check. We don't want your symptoms to be months and months and months of agony before you come forward. 

We would like your symptoms to be a couple of weeks and then come in [00:05:00] sooner. And sometimes it is a process to find out, but again, I say this to white women, black women, Hispanic women, women of all backgrounds. You guys need to unfortunately be more aggressive in knowing your bodies, and I will continue to enlist the medical community as I can, but I'm only one person. 

Okay? So to black women out there, please take note, it is something that we as a medical community should and I hope will do better at. Um, but I want you to know that this is something we can work together to find this. Okay, bye.