Viewpoint: Do male doctors tend to be paternalistic when treating ‘female’ diseases?

Doreen Carvajal. Image credit: Claire Zeggane
Doreen Carvajal. Image credit: Claire Zeggane

When my silent assassin emerged last autumn, I pressed my surgeon about the prognosis for a form of peritoneal cancer that strikes women in stealthy fashion.

“Do you really want to know?” he replied. “Your cancer is incurable.”

How were these paternalistic doctors so confident about their edicts for women? It gave me solace to challenge them with questions. After an eternity in the journalism business, it was all I knew how to do. What about alternative treatments at other hospitals? New medical techniques? Fresh hope? But clearly it annoyed my doctors.

[A]t last, a woman took command of my care as the leader of an ovarian cancer research project. This oncologist listened to my questions. She explained medical approaches. She promised me that her goal was a cure instead of surrender. And she was the very first to propose immunotherapy, which harnesses the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer.

Related article:  Bayer asks judge to overturn $80 million glyphosate-cancer verdict, citing evidence excluded from trial

With the addition of immunotherapy, over the weeks my CA125 count started plunging dramatically to a normal count of four.

Some days I gasp involuntarily for air, savoring this new hope. Today, 10 months after my symptoms first appeared, I am cancer free.

Read full, original post: Male doctors said my ‘female’ cancer was incurable. Then a woman took command and gave me hope

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