What People With Ovarian Cancer Wish You Knew

Ovarian cancer occurs when there are abnormal cells in one or both of your ovaries. These are the parts of your reproductive organs that produce hormones and store eggs. There are many ways to treat ovarian cancer, including surgery or chemotherapy. Here’s what people with ovarian cancer want you to know about ovarian cancer.

Ask questions and be your own advocate.

Kate Welsford was just 19 when she had her first ovary harvested due to a low malignancy tumor. These are tumors with certain cells that could become cancerous. Five years later, her doctors discovered another tumor in her other ovary. “At th

at one point we were about to remove my only remaining ovary. And we wanted kids, ”she says.

Today, Welsford and her husband have three children – aged 2, 6 and 8. But she says having biological children wouldn’t have been possible if she hadn’t had open and honest conversations with her doctor in her early 20s.

Welsford and his doctor decided to postpone ovarian tumor surgery to do a round of ovarian stimulation. This allowed them to save her eggs so that she could still have children.

“I think the biggest part of this whole trip for us was asking questions,” she says. “If we didn’t ask what our future would look like, I don’t know if, at that point, we would be thinking about [fertility] or looking for options. “

The first symptoms can be mistaken for something else.

Kate Thompson-Maher, a 66-year-old retired doctor, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just under 2 years ago. She remembers symptoms like pelvic cramps, bloating, the need to pee more often, nausea and heartburn, but never thought that these were signs of cancer in her. ‘ovary.

“They were so unspecific that I ignored them,” she says. “I attributed them to other things and completely ignored them.”

Thompson-Maher’s doctor later diagnosed her with early stage III ovarian cancer. She often wonders if her medical team would have detected it sooner if she had noticed symptoms earlier.

This situation is common. Early-stage ovarian cancer usually doesn’t have many warning signs, and advanced cancer symptoms are often mistaken for other conditions.

“We need to get the word out about the vague symptoms… don’t overlook them, watch them,” says Thompson-Maher.

Get a second opinion.

After strange symptoms like an acceleration of the heart and aches, Benita Dallas, 62, has scheduled several appointments to refine the cause. Her doctor at the time did an ultrasound and eventually diagnosed

Dallas with ovarian cancer. Right after, Dallas was admitted to the hospital and said her prognosis was grim.

“I went through 12 days, three times a day, of [doctors] telling me that I had stage IV cancer and that I was going to die. And that I needed to get my things in order and there was nothing they could do for me, ”she said.

Dallas was determined to overcome obstacles and fight for her life. She decided to seek a second opinion from another doctor. Two days after a PET scan, she received a call from her second doctor telling her that her prognosis was not as bad as the first diagnosis suggested.

“I screamed for probably 2 minutes straight. It was like having an out-of-body experience. I will never forget that, ”she said.

Dallas is urging others, especially those diagnosed with advanced cancer, to speak to several doctors. “The second opinion changed my life.”

Ovarian cancer is a lifelong disease, but treatment makes it manageable.

Some conditions, such as ovarian cancer, are not always curable. You may have to live with symptoms for the rest of your life, such as diabetes or heart disease.

But you can control your ovarian cancer with therapy. “The treatments currently available really put you in remission during times when you feel normal. It’s not like you walk around feeling bad all the time, ”says Thompson-Maher.

In some cases, a certain type of treatment may not work. But there are other options to explore, as experts are always studying new therapies.

Take it step by step.

Juggling ovarian cancer surgery and future family planning at the same time taught Welsford to slow things down. “When you take it piece by piece, and problem by problem… you can tackle that. But if you look at the end, all the things that need to be done along the line, it’s overwhelming, ”she said.

Find support in many forms.

Taking care of your mental health is an important part of managing ovarian cancer. The good news is that there are several options for relieving anxiety or dealing with depression. Support groups can help you learn from other people who are going through similar things. You can also talk privately with a mental health professional.

Dallas maintains an optimistic outlook through its work at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). She is able to help others, which allows her to focus less on her own anxiety and more on the well-being of those around her.

It is essential for her to remain positive in all aspects of her life. She finds that reading material, watching comedy, and trusting a Higher Power keeps her from slipping into negative thoughts. And her family, friends, and counselor help her find and keep courage.

“Once you get up, you have to stay awake. You must be busy, ”she said,“ Mentally I’m stronger now than I was. “

Sources

SOURCES:

Kate Welsford, woman with ovarian cancer, Yardley, PA.

Kate Thompson-Maher, woman with ovarian cancer, Port Orchard, WA.

Benita Dallas, woman with ovarian cancer, Baltimore.

Mayo Clinic: “Ovarian Cancer”.

National Cancer Institute: “Treatment of Low Malignant Potential (PDQ) Ovarian Tumors – Patient Version.”

Emory Healthcare: “Step 1: Ovarian stimulation with fertility drugs.”

American Cancer Society: “Managing Cancer as a Chronic Illness”.

Cancer Commons: “New treatments for ovarian cancer in 2020”.


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