Gynecologists may treat men after all as Ob-Gyn Board reverses decision

By ACSH Staff — Nov 27, 2013
ACSH applauds the commonsense response of the American Board of Ob-Gyn in reversing their counterproductive stance on allowing their members to deal with male patients. It takes guts to admit error, and the Board members deserve our admiration.

91289209The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology takes the cake for the fastest decision reversal regarding the treatment of male patients. After insisting in early September that members treat only women and limit the time they spend doing non-gynecologic procedures, the group eased the restrictions to allow male patient screening for anal cancer and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

The move comes after an overflow of criticism from experts, doctors, patient advocacy groups and ACSH, if we may say so ourselves, that the prohibition would be harmful to men who are at high risk for anal and cervical cancers, both of which are usually caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted. Although rare, the incidences of these cancers have been steadily increasing in men with high risk factors. The decision would have also slashed participation of male patients enrolled in studies.

Practicing gynecologist Dr. Elizabeth Stier who works at the Boston Medical Center told the New York Times she is relieved to hear the directive was reversed.

Having canceled all the men out of my clinic, I now have to un-cancel them, Dr. Stier said. They ll be very happy, she told the NY Times.

Dr. Stier treats both men and women, using her knowledge to detect anal in cervical cancer in all of her patients. She is part of an upcoming study on cancer screening and prevention that that would have been affected had the male participants been excluded.

After much feedback, the board has decided they would protect the ongoing doctor-patient relationships.

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