1 Sep 2011

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and we'll do our best to cover the issues surrounding the signs and symptoms of the disease as well as prevention.

What are the some of the possible signs of ovarian cancer?
  1. abdominal pressure, fullness, bloating
  2. pelvic discomfort or pain
  3. persistent indigestion, gas or nausea
  4. changes in bowel habits such as constipation
  5. changes in bladder habits such as frequent need to urinate
  6. loss of appetite or quickly feeling full
  7. increased abdominal girth - clothes fitting tightly around the waist
  8. a persistent lack of energy
  9. low back pain
  10. some of the above...none of the above.
As you can read, most premenopausal women experience all or some of these symptoms on a monthly basis.  They are commonly attributed to PMS and not typically alarming to any of us.  The difference between one's monthly experience and cancer is usually persistence and worsening .  OR NOT...which is why the disease has been labelled "the silent killer".
In my own case, I had no symptoms other than discovering a lump in my groin which I had attributed to a hernia.  How could I make such a diagnosis?  I had had a trans vaginal ultrasound only 7 weeks prior to my discovery with an "all clear".  On the day I felt the lump, my husband and I had played an aggressive game of tennis and upon over-reaching for the ball, I ended up performing  the splits really hurting myself in the groin area.  That's my story.

I've had three friends whom I met over the last four years at the Cancer Centre - all three dead now - all three mis-diagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome instead of ovarian cancer - a common mistake given their complaints.  In their cases, however, the doctors missed the word persistent - all three were symptomatic for an extended period of time.
There is no screening test for ovarian cancer.  A Pap smear cannot diagnose this disease.  There is no reliable blood test.  Ovarian cancer, gone undetected, spreads throughout the abdomen where it is very difficult to treat.

Treatment however, is possible.  New drugs are being discovered daily - sign up for our Tweets for the proof - it's extremely encouraging.  There is a race on to develop the blood test which will be 100% accurate in early diagnosis of the disease - when cure not palliation is possible.  Defective genes are being uncovered at a fantastic pace paving the way for individualized treatment in the future.

Next blog...awareness of inherited genetic abnormalities which can lead to ovarian cancer prevention. Ovarian Cancer INFOGRAPHIC Know The Facts


Anonymous said...

Those symptoms are so vague! I would think they are more the norm for alot of women. No wonder ovarian cancer is "the silent killer".
Very scary!
We NEED an early detection test!!

ovarian cyst rupture said...

I Dont guess there is nothing do with my ovarian cyst rupture , wat say?

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