MANHASSET, NY— The Osler Society of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell hosted, Diagnosing Ovarian Cancer: Awareness, Signs and Symptoms, at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research on Nov. 14, 2018. The program opened with chamber music played by the acclaimed Cassatt String Quartet, followed by a program featuring Tracy Winters, an ovarian cancer patient who shared the story of her long road to diagnosis. Expert speakers and panelists also joined the discussion, including Andrew Menzin, MD, MBA, FACOG, FACS, Veena Susan John, MD, Diane Delliliune, BSN, RN-BC, CCRC and Stefanie Taylor from the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.
After a captivating musical performance of 18th-century classical compositions by Austrian composer, Joseph Haydn, and 19th-century Russian composer, Alexander Borodin, Ms. Winters spoke of her long quest for a diagnosis after suffering for months from increasing bloating symptoms which were dismissed by her gynecologist as signs of menopause. Her diagnosis of ovarian cancer came from a visit to her gastroenterologist. Ms. Winters, diagnosed at 55 and celebrating her 57th birthday on the night of the event (with a special rendition of “happy birthday” by the Cassatt String Quartet), spoke of her arduous journey. While she continues to seek normalcy in her daily life since her diagnosis, which is busy with her taking care of her family and her mother, she is reminded every day that she is “fighting for her life.” In addition to following standard protocols prescribed by her doctors, she enrolled in clinical studies, walks miles, and attends pilates and gym classes every day, often in between several doctor visits.
“I will do everything possible because I intend to be around for a very long time,” said Ms. Winters.
The focus of the event was to spread awareness about ovarian cancer which is typically not diagnosed until the disease has progressed to a late stage. Ms. Dellilune, a co-organizer of this event who spent the last 10 years working tirelessly on clinical research trials to find new treatment and lifestyle protocols for women afflicted with this disease, said that listening to Ms. Winters inspired her to continue her “nearly life-long mission of spreading awareness of this ‘cancer that whispers.’”
With an audience of over 100 health professionals, medical students, patients, as well as their family members and friends, physician panelists shared the current state of knowledge about the causes and early symptoms of this disease, as well as information about treatment protocols, including new promising drugs that are awaiting FDA approval. Audience members posed many difficult questions, seeking answers that the medical community and research cannot yet provide.
The Osler Society of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell is the home of the institution’s Humanities in Medicine Program. The program brings the arts and medicine together to bring new perspectives to the study of disease, highlighting the impact of illness on patients and their families, and providing opportunities for students, patients and health professionals to get to know one another outside of the clinical setting. For more information, please visit medicine.hofstra.edu/humanities or contact Lisa Martin, Director, Humanities in Medicine at Lisa.Martin@hofstra.edu.
Written by Lisa Martin
Director, Humanities in Medicine/
Contracts and Communications Specialist