Hard to Gauge Federal Health Reforms on Screenings

Oct 28, 2013

Credit ukhealthcare.uky.edu

The long time director of the University of Kentucky’s Ovarian Cancer Screening says it’s hard to say how the federal health care reforms will affect future screening.  Dr. John Van Nagel says it’s difficult to determine if more or fewer Kentucky women will be screened for ovarian cancer under the new Affordable Care Act.

“When the time comes that prevention is a major emphasis in American medicine, whether it be in the Affordable Care Act or some other type of coverage that we will have the most effective type of screening for ovarian cancer that we can have,” said Van Nagel.

Free screenings are offered through the UK Markey Cancer Center for eligible women.  Van Nagel says more than 240 thousand examinations have been conducted through UK’s screening program.

Van Nagel says there can be physical conditions which can present challenges to successful screening.  Van Nagel says excessive weight and a thick uterine wall can complicate exams.

“Having uterine enlargement is not per se a risk factor for ovarian cancer, but it makes clinical detection of an abnormality in the ovary very difficult,” added Van Nagel.

The UK Ovarian Cancer Screening Program receives funding support from a number of sources including grants and the state legislature.  In addition to the Markey Cancer Center in Lexington, Dr. Van Nagel says there are six other satellite sites in towns like Somerset, Maysville, and Prestonsburg.