Thursday, September 1, 2011

Those Subtle Symptoms!

If you've been reading my blog for some time you will recognize the's a repeat from one year ago. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. And so I'm joining with other ovarian survivors who are helping promote an awareness...including a list of subtle (oh, ever so subtle) symptoms. (If you want to read all my posts in regards to ovca, click here.) Now follows part of my original post of one year ago....

I've learned more than I want to know about ovarian cancer in the past 20 months 32 months...the multiple kinds of chemo/radiation/surgery that ovarian patients may have to endure...the abysmal survival rates (for those diagnosed late stage; which most are)...the importance of having the debulking surgery done by a Gyno/Onc rather than an "ordinary" surgeon...the so-often very short times of "remission" between one series of chemo and the next.

I've learned that the difficulty of diagnosing OVCA means that most women are diagnosed when their cancer is already advanced...meaning treatment is much less likely to provide long-term survival. Early detection is difficult but it is so important!!!

I've learned that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and I'm dismayed that so many know so little about ovarian cancer, its silent symptoms and its difficulty in being diagnosed.

So on this last first week in September I want to remind the ladies (of all ages!) amongst my readers of the nearly silent symptoms of ovarian cancer. (I don't care how old or young you may be...Pay attention to your bodies!)

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms (from the Nat'l Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Inc.)
1. Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort
2. Vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea, and indigestion
3. Frequency and/or urgency of urination (day or night) in the absence of an infection
4. Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating and/or feeling of fullness
5. Ongoing unusual fatigue
6. Unexplained changes in bowel habits.

(If symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, ask your doctor for a combination pelvic/rectal exam, a CA-125 blood test, and transvaginal ultrasound.)

It's a fine line between paranoia and persistent "listening to your body". But Ladies! Pay attention. Listen for these so-called "silent" symptoms and be aware of your body.

Bless you.

P.S. Ovarian cancer is a chronic disease. I am on my third chemo regimen. And doing well, all things considered.