Don’t Make Cancer Doctors Drop their Patients

Do Not Allow Gynecologists to Lose Their Board Certification

Target: Larry C. Gilstrap, III, M.D., Executive Director of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Goal: Demand that gynecologists, who specialize in treating women, not be forced to drop the male patients for whom they also provide essential care.

Gynecologists are doctors who specialize in the female reproductive system, and primarily treat female patients. Some, however, have also been providing much-needed treatment to men who are HIV+ or who have anal cancer. While this is not their main focus, gynecologists are familiar with techniques and monitoring practices that allow them provide essential care to these male patients. It makes sense for them to offer this treatment, and many male patients are grateful that gynecologists who are willing to treat them.

But the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology recently issued a ruling that gynecologists who wish to keep their certification can only treat female patients. Most gynecologists rely on board certification to keep their jobs, so this ruling is absolutely critical to the future of their practices. It is important for gynecologists to be allowed the freedom to choose their own patients.

If they have the equipment and knowledge to provide health care services to male patients, gynecologists should be allowed to keep their certification. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology has no right to pull certification from doctors who are willing and able to provide additional services. Urge the board to reconsider the ruling immediately, so not a single male patient has to miss out on crucial appointments.


Dear Larry C. Gilstrap, III, M.D.,

Traditionally gynecologists have treated only female patients. This is the basis for the ruling passed down by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology stating that gynecologists who wish to keep their certification can only treat female patients. But this ruling has devastating consequences for some gynecologists who treat male patients who are HIV+ or have anal cancer.

Even though gynecologists’ primary specialization is female patients, these hardworking doctors do not deserve to lose their board certification just because they are willing to take on extra patients who need them. Do not punish these doctors for wanting to help. Do not make them choose between their jobs and helping those who need their services. Gynecologists who have the ability to help additional patients should be allowed to extend their practice to male patients, as long as they have the equipment, techniques, and knowledge necessary to appropriately and efficiently assist these patients.

It is absolutely critical that gynecologists be able to extend their services to anyone who needs them, especially the many existing male patients who already have connections to gynecologists, emotionally and medically. Having to switch doctors is a difficult enough task; do not insist that patients struggle with this task for no good reason. We urge you to reconsider the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s ruling immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: jpalinsad360 via Flickr

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