Controversial Mammogram Debate
Do women really need mammograms? According to a 25-year study out of Canada, the recommended annual screenings were not shown to be effective in reducing the number of breast cancer-related deaths in middle-aged women. The study also suggests that breast cancers detected via mammograms were over-treated, often at the cost of patients’ health.
Mother's Inspirational Recovery from a Stroke
The birth of a healthy child is often considered the most cherished moment in many people’s lives. But for one young mother, that precious moment was followed by a sudden struggle to survive.
On June 10, 2012, first-time mom Lindsay, then 26, delivered a baby boy named Easton. Approximately two hours after giving birth, Lindsay developed a severe headache accompanied by an increase in blood pressure.
Several hours after her symptoms began, Lindsay suffered a seizure. Doctors diagnosed her with eclampsia, a life-threatening pregnancy complication characterized by elevated blood pressure, seizures and swelling of the brain.
Lindsay was transported to a larger medical facility, where she suffered a more severe seizure, which caused a brain hemorrhage and a resulting stroke. Lindsay was unresponsive, and she was given a slim chance of survival. However, the following morning, a nurse noticed that Lindsay had regained pupil and brain activity. Lindsay then underwent an emergency craniotomy, where a portion of her skull was removed to reduce the pressure on her brain.
Lindsay spent nine weeks in a neuro intensive care unit, before being transferred to a rehabilitation facility in September 2012. She participated in several hours of therapy each day to gradually re-learn how to perform basic functions, such as blinking and swallowing, as well as more complex movements, such as hand gestures and walking. In October 2013, Lindsay was finally able to come home.
Smoker’s Health Scare Experiment
Smoking is typically associated with an increased risk for lung cancer; however, the unhealthy habit is also directly related to progressive lower respiratory conditions, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an irreversible restriction of lung function.
Studies show that up to half of long-term smokers older than age 60 develop COPD, and it has recently surpassed stroke as the third leading cause of death in America.
To demonstrate just how debilitating COPD can be, The Doctors conducts a health scare experiment on an audience member named Merry, who has been smoking for roughly half of her life.
Broadway Star’s Fight for Her Life
Valisia LeKae, 34, is a Grammy and Tony-nominated singer and actress who recently received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Diana Ross in the hit Broadway show, Motown: The Musical. Offstage, however, Valisia has been publicly battling a disease that affects more than 20,000 American women every year.
In the fall of 2013, Valisia had a routine sonogram performed to monitor a small ovarian cyst that was discovered years prior. Her doctor had initially attributed the cyst to endometriosis, an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Benign cysts, known as endometriomas, often form on the ovaries as a result of endometriosis, and the surrounding tissue can become irritated and develop scar tissue. During the sonogram, however, it was discovered that Valisia’s cyst had tripled in size over the course of a year, so she underwent surgery to have it removed.
Ten days after the procedure, Valisia received the results of her pathology report, which revealed that she had clear cell ovarian carcinoma — a rare and aggressive form of cancer that typically affects post-menopausal women. Her diagnosis was also especially unique, since she has no family history of the disease, and it's more commonly seen in Caucasian women.
Like all ovarian cancer, clear cell carcinoma is asymptomatic in its early stage, which is why the disease is often referred to as a “silent killer.” In advanced stages, common symptoms of ovarian cancer may include pelvic or abdominal pain, frequent bloating and abnormal menstrual cycles.
"For me, I didn't feel any pain," Valisia says. "The bloating that I was experiencing was also the same thing that I would be dealing with during menstruation, so nothing was abnormal for me."
Since her diagnosis, Valisia has undergone a second surgery to have her right ovary and fallopian tube removed, and she is currently receiving chemotherapy treatments. "More than anything, I really have to give it up for the doctors who religiously fight for us, and continue to do their research about such a disease as ovarian cancer," Valisia says. "I'm so grateful for the team that I have."