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  1. #1
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    Post Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis - 10 Years Later

    On November 4, 1999 my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 64 1/2. All I knew about ovarian cancer at the time was that it had killed Gilda Radner. Three weeks after my mother was diagnosed Madaline Kahn died of ovarian cancer.

    My mother had generally been in good health all her life but for some time she had been having various (seemingly) minor health problems. None of them appeared to be particularly serious. We all just thought they were your everyday, ordinary, minor maladies. Little did we know they were the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Too late we learned that ovarian cancer does not announce itself loudly; it whispers. I wish we had been listening.

    For quite a while my mother had had abdominal pain but she attributed it to an earlier case of ulcers. She found she could ease the pain by applying heat with a heating pad. She had various digestive problems, e.g. diarrhea and indigestion. She had bouts of nausea. She lost a lot of weight (and she was normally a small woman).

    Suddenly she developed abdominal swelling. She had a LOT of swelling making her look 9 months pregnant. She was admitted to the hospital and placed in ICU. The doctors did not know what was wrong with her. They pumped several liters of fluid from her abdomen. (I think it was 7 liters the first time. And much more over several days. We later learned the fluid came from the tumors.) After several days, the doctors still did not know what her problem was.

    Finally, after a week in the hospital, we got the diagnosis. Ovarian cancer. Stage IIIC. That is very advanced. It hit me like a shot to the stomach. I researched ovarian cancer and everything I read scared me. The average 5-year survival rate for women dianosed at Stage III was something like 15%. Scary stuff.

    She had surgery. Due to her severe weight loss and generally poor state of health the doctors did not know if she would survive the surgery. But she did. And as soon as she recovered a bit from the surgery she started chemotherapy. This was all new stuff for us. This was something that happened to OTHER people. Or so I thought.

    The first round of chemotherapy worked great. Her CA-125 (a cancer antigen that doctors use to gauge cancer activity) dropped to low levels. But for only a while. Over time her CA-125 levels rose (indication the tumors were growing and spreading). So the chemotherapist tried another set of chemo drugs that worked great - for a while. Then on to other chemo drugs that worked - for a while. Then another surgery. And more chemo. And more chemo. After 72 chemotherapy treatments chemo did not work any more. The doctors were out of options. The end was near.

    My mother died April 7, 2004, almost 4 1/2 years after being diagnosed. The last few weeks were horrible. She was 15 days short of her 70th birthday. She was one of 16,090 women who died of ovarian cancer in 2004.

    I often think, "What if we had recognized the symptoms earlier? If she had been diagnosed at Stage I or Stage II would she still be alive today?" I don't know, but I know she would have stood a better chance to survive. And she may not have had to endure so much pain and suffering.

    Why am I telling you this story? So that you will know what the symptoms of ovarian cancer are. If you know the early symptoms of ovarian cancer you may be able to help yourself or a loved one or a friend get diagnosed early when the chances of survival are greater.

    Ovarian cancer does not get the exposure that breast cancer receives. It is estimated that in the US in 2009 about 9 times as many women will be diagnosed with breast cancer as will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. (192,370 versus 21,550.) And it is estimated that 2.75 times as many women will die of breast cancer as will die of ovarian cancer. (40,170 versus 14,600.) So while breast cancer affects and kills more women than does ovarian cancer it is obvious that ovarian cancer has a much higher mortality rate.

    From National Ovarian Cancer Coalition:

    While the symptoms of ovarian cancer (particularly in the early stages) are often not acute or intense, they are not always silent; they whisper, so listen. Some ongoing symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

    Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort
    Vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea and indigestion
    Frequency and/or urgency of urination in absense of an infection
    Unexplained changes in bowel habits
    Unexplained weight gain or weight loss, particularly weight gain in the abdominal region
    Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating and/or feeling of fullness
    Pain during intercourse
    Ongoing unusual fatigue
    Abnormal postmenopausal bleeding (this symptom is rare)

    Early diagnosis is key to surviving ovarian cancer.

    Ovarian cancer whispers. Are you listening?

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    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Columbus GA
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    Default Re: Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis - 10 Years Later

    Thanks for posting this, maybe it will help someone.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Healdsburg, CA
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    Default Re: Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis - 10 Years Later

    Thanks Bruce and my sincere condolences regarding your mother. I too lost my mom, but to pancreatic cancer and my sister to ovarian cancer. I also had prostate cancer and underwent radical prostatectomy in 2002. We are house doctors by trade checking the physical condition of a home’s systems and components and recommending specialists when necessary for further evaluation and correction when called for.

    We also need to keep a watchful eye on our own and loved one’s systems and components regarding their current operating condition and general health. I cannot emphasize enough how vitally important an annual PSA test is for the guys 50 years of age and more. Without a sharp eyed doc I wouldn’t be posting this message.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis - 10 Years Later

    Jerry,

    Sorry to hear ovarian cancer affected your family too. I have noticed when I get to talking to people about ovarian cancer that it is more common than people think.

    Somewhere I read that 1 woman in 70 will get ovarian cancer and 1 woman in 8 will develop breast cancer. 1 in 70 sounds like pretty good odds but it is devestating when it is you or a loved one that is the unlucky "1". If it is diagnosed at an early stage the odds of survival are dramatically higher. Unfortunately the early signs are fairly "silent" and usually the cancer goes unnoticed and undiagnosed until it is in a late stage (as was the case with my mother).

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis - 10 Years Later

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    Somewhere I read that 1 woman in 70 will get ovarian cancer and 1 woman in 8 will develop breast cancer.
    A cousin of my wife had both.

    Being as she is a very high up person in the New York Times financial department she had the absolute best of detection and care (money was no object for them, and time off was no object for her as she was allowed whatever time off was needed whenever - not many people get either consideration, she got both), and survived both after extensive chemotherapy for each (each was at a different time, not both at the same time, which was what allowed her to be a survivor of both).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis - 10 Years Later

    Re: PSA testing:

    "The PSA blood test, used to screen for prostate cancer, saves few lives and leads to risky and unnecessary treatments for large numbers of men, two large studies have found."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/health/19cancer.html

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  7. #7
    RANDY NICHOLAS's Avatar
    RANDY NICHOLAS Guest

    Default Re: Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis - 10 Years Later

    Bruce,
    My stepdaughter was diagnosised withe stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2002.
    Our family doctor said 2-2 1/2 years max.
    She had chemo. and several operations (obstructed bowels) tumors,etc.
    She fought the cancer and died in August 2008 at the age of 34.

    CANCER SUCKS

    StandUp2Cancer has done a lot in the last years to provide info, etc.
    More money goes to more research and info unlike The American Cancer Society, that is more of a political organization IMO.


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