A beautiful word or thought that is not accompanied by corresponding acts is like a bright flower that bears no fruit. It would not produce any effect. ~The Buddha

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Annual Exam

Quick disclaimer!  I'm not a medical expert nor do I claim to be, but I do like to pass on information especially when I think it's important.  A few years back, I was quick to share the news that a deficiency in Vitamin D was linked to several cancers.  Frankly, I can't name them all because I stopped listening after my doctor said, "breast cancer" and named her source as The New England Journal of Medicine.  Although, I do remember she mentioned prostate cancer too.  I was quick to jump on the bandwagon, and had a Vitamin D panel done to make sure I wasn't deficient.  I wasn't, but I do take 1,000 iu of D3 on a daily basis.

I think it's important to be your own health advocate and if your doctor hasn't suggested a Vitamin D panel, ask for one.  And while you are having blood drawn anyway, ask for the CA 125 test.  It's an inflammatory marker and this year I'm asking for this one.  I know I'll be having blood work done (cholesterol, etc.) so while they are at it, I want this included on the lab slip.  Why, you ask?  Because  "CA 125 is a protein that is found in greater concentration in tumor cells than in any other cells in the body, and is measured from a blood sample.  Increases in this protein can be seen in ovarian cancer, "the silent killer," as well as malignancies of the uterine tubes, endometrium, lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract." 

Of course, as with any test, there are false positives and "a number of benign conditions can cause elevations of the CA 125 level, including pregnancy, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pancreatitis, normal menstruation, pelvic inflammatory disease, and liver disease.  Benign tumors or cysts of the ovaries can cause an abnormal test result."  For me, dealing with a false positive would not be such a bad thing.   

I'm no stranger to asking a doctor for what I want or need for my own sanity.  A little over 12 years ago, my aunt on my mother's side found out she had Factor 5 leiden, an inherited clotting disorder.  I asked my doctor if I could have the test, and she said I didn't need it because I wasn't at risk.  I wasn't smoking, wasn't using an oral birth control, and I had no surgeries planned.  The following year, after another aunt died, as a result of a cardiac embolism, I insisted on the test.  Turns out, the results were positive.  I have found it's useful information to provide in the course of a pregnancy, and further when I travel, I know it's important for me to drink water and get up and walk around if possible (like when I'm flying).  I also know I shouldn't cross my legs.  Slowly she uncrosses her legs as she's typing now.  Asking for the test made me feel empowered, and I was glad I did.  
As a woman in her mid-forties, risks for certain cancers rise, and if this inflammatory marker can detect one of the many "silent killers," the cancer that isn't detected early enough, or before it's to late, than I'm asking.  Will you?
P.S. I would like to give credit to MedicineNet.com for helping me in my research. 

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