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Tips for catching ovarian cancer early!

Tips for catching ovarian cancer early!



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  • Warnings that whisper… How to listen to what your body tells you…catch ovarian cancer early before it spreads
  • Some missed opportunities are hard to accept…
    • When my mom told me that she was feeling bloated, I could have taken her to the doctor. But instead I told her that she had been eating out too often… Ekta
    • (I) started gaining weight and feeling persistently bloated more than a year before (my) diagnosis…had several tests for gallbladder problems. "I just figured I'm getting old and stuff happens.'‘ Colleen Olund
    • Unusual vaginal bleeding…my doctor thought it was fibroids but then zeroed in on ovarian cancer three months after her initial symptom. "Looking back I was very tired,'' she said. "I thought it was stress.'' Darlene Bressler
    • She became worried about ovarian cancer after her sister, Peggy Yuhas, was treated for the disease…began annual ultrasounds. Two years later, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Despite the vigilance, the cancer was in early Stage III. Barbara Swift
  • It whispers…so you really have to listen to your body
    • Like in Barbara’s case, annual screening is not enough. Even being screened every three months is not enough.
    • There are no definitive tests for ovarian cancer
    • An ultrasound can reveal a cyst but everyone’s ovaries get cysts at one time or another
    • A blood test or a tumor marker can be elevated because of endometriosis or pelvic infection. Even a urinary tract infection can shoot up CA 125 levels so that is never definitive
    • Physical examinations often miss out or ignore ovarian cysts
    • Pelvic or abdominal cramping, swelling or pain
    • Persistent gastrointestinal problems
    • Nausea, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea
    • Gas, bloating, a feeling of fullness
    • Urgency or frequency of urination
    • Menstrual disorders
    • Unexplained weight gain or loss
    • Pain during intercourse
    • On-going fatigue and backaches
    • Any of these symptoms, if they persist for more than 2 weeks CAN signal ovarian cancer.
  • Don’t listen to any one else except your body!
    • DO NOT listen to a doctor who says “it is nothing”. A LOT of ovarian cancers have been missed on the early (curable) stages by physicians who mean well.
    • A study published in 2000 in the journal Cancer found a deadly lag time between the appearance of first symptoms and arrival at a correct diagnosis -- two months or more for 45 percent of patients and six months or more for 26 percent. In 11 percent of cases, it took a year or more to find the right answer.
    • Patients and doctors share blame for this!
  • If YOU suspect something…
    • Do: Get a trans-vaginal ultrasound.
    • Do: Get a CA 125 for two months in a row. If it is elevated, insist on a CT scan/MRI.
    • Do: Get a hysterectomy asap if you are beyond reproductive age. Hysterectomies have been proven to PREVENT & treat ovarian cancers
    • Ovarian cancer occurs in one out of 57 women - regardless of age. Over half will die within five years.
    • The annual number of cases has increased 10% over the past 25 years.
    • Ovarian tumors may grow to considerable size without producing any symptoms and are first detected upon examination of the pelvic organs
    • Over 75% of cases will be diagnosed in the late stages, resulting in a five year survival of less then 30%.
    • If diagnosed in its early stage, the chance of survival is 90%.
    • Unlike breast and cervical cancer, there's no reliable screening method for detecting ovarian cancer, nor any real test at the present designed to catch it before it spreads. (A PAP smear does not test for ovarian cancer, neither does a mammogram.)
    • It accounts for 18 percent of all gynecological cancers and occurs most frequently in women over the age of 50.
    • The risk for ovarian cancer is greater for women who have never had children, who had their first child at a later time in life or who have a personal history of breast cancer, colorectal cancer or endometrial cancer.
    • You can get a form of ovarian cancer even if you do not have ovaries.
  • Don’t be too scared to get it checked! If caught early, it is curable. But if you get scared and put off diagnosis, it might be too late…..
  • Catching it early is up to YOU Catch it, cure it!