Five years ago, I entered my doctor’s office for my yearly check-up. I had no reason to think the appointment would be anything but ordinary. I had been feeling fine, or at least as fine as a full-time university student could be. But my doctor telling me that I had a lump, never crossed my mind. And while the lump turned out to be non-cancerous, the experience leading up to the diagnosis taught me a great deal about life.
In the midst of our hectic lives, it’s easy to let our health slip between the cracks. Other aspects of our daily routines take precedence. For me, I was so focused on finishing nursing school, completing my minor and graduating with honours. I never considered anything might be wrong with me. My family and my career are important, but so is my health. I am not invincible, no matter how young or healthy I feel, and taking care of myself in addition to others is a necessity, not an option. Life is for living and for spending time with loved ones. Nothing must stand in the way of that – not work, not chores, and certainly not neglecting my health.
Even though my experience was not specifically with ovarian cancer it did teach me to be more aware of my body and it is better to be safe than sorry. When I had the opportunity to take part in the #KnowNow campaign I was more than happy to do so. World Ovarian Cancer Day is every May 8th
The goal to unite ovarian cancer organizations from around the world to raise awareness and educate their communities about ovarian cancer
A common misconception is that a Pap test can detect ovarian cancer. But ladies it does not. In fact ovarian cancer is the lowest survival rate of all female cancers. Often diagnosed in advanced stages, which is more difficult to treat. Annually there are approximately 140,000 deaths.
Please be aware of the following symptoms which are often confused or misdiagnosed with less severe illnesses:
- persistent bloating
- abdominal/pelvic pain
- frequent and urgent urination
- difficulty eating/feeling full more quickly
Risk factors include age, family history, and genetics. If any of you have a family history of ovarian, breast or related cancers, please speak with you doctor to find out if you are eligible for genetic counselling and testing
There is currently no reliable screening test for ovarian cancer. If you have signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, your doctor should perform a:
• Complete pelvic exam
• Transvaginal or pelvic ultrasound
• CA-125 blood test
If any of my readers out there have any shared life experiences- personal or through loved ones, I encourage you to share some words of encouragement or advice on the Wall of Wisdom. Visit OvarianCancerDay.org and use hash tag #KnowNow