A new survey of 2000 women by the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre and the National Ovarian Cancer Network, shows 60 per cent wrongly believed pap tests detected ovarian cancer and 20 per cent could not name a symptom of the disease.
The Director of the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre, Dr. Helen Zorbas, said the symptoms were often vague and common to many other diseases. She said about 1400 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, most of them in late stages. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynaecological cancer and has a five-year survival rate of 42 per cent which is less than half that of breast cancer.
Ovarian cancer symptoms include abdominal bloating, abdominal or back pain, loss of appetite or feeling full, constipation, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss or gain, indigestion or heartburn and fatigue. Most of which women have every month and soldier on through it all.
Ovarian cancer runs in my family. Both Aunts had enormous tumours removed successfully. Even though one had spent months trying to roll the lump in her stomach flat with a rolling pin.
My mother, being an identical twin, missed on this as her doctor advised her to have the ovaries removed. (She'd already had a hysterectomy due to massive infection)
I had all the symptoms and took no notice. I was lucky, I only had ovarian cysts on both ovaries, if you can call that lucky. Cysts like this can go on for a long time but they can also twist and that is pain. The type of pain that knocked me to my knees and took my breath away. It was half an hour before I could crawl to the phone to get help. I had an ultrasound which showed two enormous cysts and was booked in the next day for an exploratory op to find out if they were cancerous. 50/50 given our family history. I had a hysterectomy with everything inventoried and inspected.
When I came to, it was a relief to hear that everything was clear. I haven't forgotten what I felt as I watched that image on the ultrasound or the relief at the all clear. That's why I can't believe that all these years later, with so much information at our finger tips, that women still don't know enough about this killer. If your doctor says not to worry but you are, get a second opinion from a cancer specialist. It's worth every cent to find out for sure.