Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month! (by Suzie)

"Who is NED and why does everyone want a nice slow dance with him?" asks EyesOnThePrize, a nonprofit that provides gyn cancer support and information. NED stands for "no evidence of disease." That's what doctors say when they can't detect any signs of cancer, but don't feel comfortable proclaiming a patient cured. Some of us relish our relationship with NED.

Six gynecologic oncologists formed a band named NED, and they rocked the San Antonio convention center at the annual meeting of the Society of Gyn Oncs in February. I joined the young 'uns, jumping up and down by the stage.

Their first CD, "Rhythm Heals," went on sale Tuesday, with proceeds going to the Gyn Cancer Awareness Movement. In the clip above, Dr. Joanie Hope sings lead vocals on the title song. This is what their record company says:
The mission of the band is to enhance knowledge about gynecologic cancers and bring hope through rhythm for women undergoing treatment. The doctors strongly believe music heals. In fact, more than 250 journal articles report findings investigating the beneficial effects of music on pain, anxiety or depression. In a recent study at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, investigators found that patients who received music therapy while undergoing chemotherapy reported 37% less mood disturbance than other patients and 28% less anxiety. Other studies have shown that music can assist patients in coping with difficult illnesses. N.E.D. is focused on using music to convey this comfort.
If you know nothing about gyn cancers, you may want to take a moment to familiarize yourself with symptoms. Here's an example of a common myth, from the Women's Cancer Network:
Historically, ovarian cancer was called the “silent killer.” That’s because symptoms were not thought to develop until the chance of cure was poor. Recent studies, though, have shown this term is not accurate. The following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population: bloating; pelvic or abdominal pain; difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency).
If you think it's silly to have months dedicated to various causes, perhaps you've never had to fight to get your existence recognized. That brings me to my only criticism of the band. On its page that details gyn cancers, I wish it would mention sarcoma. I've written before on women, cancer and politics.