(DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING) -- Using Technology to Maximize the Clinician's Role
By Luther B. Adair II, MD
I recently had the misfortune of having to explain to a patient why we were performing a nuclear medicine bone scan on her. She was admitted to the hospital with a presumptive diagnosis of ovarian cancer and we were performing this test to see if the cancer had invaded her bones.
Her symptoms started when she noticed that her abdomen had grown over the course of the last two months, at which point she had been told by her doctor to lose weight. Her current provider believed that she may have ovarian cancer because ovarian cancer causes a large amount of fluid to accumulate within the abdomen and pelvis. This is known as a peritoneal effusion, which can be sampled for cancer by drainage and sending it for pathological diagnosis. Ovarian cancer is the third most deadly cancer among female patients because of this insidious pattern of presentation.
This experience elucidated two points for me: First, I felt really good about being able explain a complex situation to her because she seemed very upset that she didn't know what was going on with her body. When I asked her why she was so distraught, she said that it was because she had been looking information up on the computer and that none of her providers could explain why she was having this "big belly."
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