As an Atlanta local for the past twenty years, Dr. Carson witnessed firsthand the dire healthcare needs in his community from an early age. Inspired by those needs, and the women in his family who battled uterine fibroids, Dr. Carson set his sights on a career in medicine.
“One of the things that drives a physician’s passion is when they see something that is not happening — a void within medicine,” Dr. Carson explained on the show. From the lack of physicians available to the challenges of access and awareness, the problems that he observed were stark. Dr. Carson set out to help the women in his community that were suffering from uterine fibroids after completing his extensive medical training at Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Temple University, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts, and Columbia University.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous masses that grow on the walls of the uterus. Dr. Carson explained during his interview that some women do not experience any symptoms from this condition, while others experience heavy bleeding, pain, and problems with intimacy.
“80 percent of women of color and 60 percent of most other women will develop fibroids. Most women will not experience symptoms,” Dr. Carson said. “Of the 80 percent of women of color that will develop fibroids, 20 percent will develop symptoms and about 10-15 percent of other women will develop symptoms.”
Dr. Carson and Dr. Feinberg discussed historical treatment options as well as a non-invasive treatment called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). This outpatient procedure involves creating a small incision in the groin area and inserting a small catheter into the femoral artery. Using real-time imaging, Dr. Carson explained that the physician guides the catheter through the artery and then releases miniscule particles, the size of grains of sand, into the uterine arteries that supply blood to the fibroid tumor. By doing so, this prevents blood from flowing to the fibroid tumor, causing the fibroids to shrink and eventually go away.