Every year, thousands of women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Because there is no early ovarian cancer screening test, many women are diagnosed with this disease at an advanced stage. Women like Diane Papamarkos who had no idea a bloated stomach, that seemingly appeared out of nowhere, would lead to a Stage 3 ovarian cancer diagnosis.
“I was shocked, it all happened so quickly,” says Diane, who underwent several rounds of chemotherapy before having a total hysterectomy. “My doctors refused to give up and neither would I and I’m just so grateful that I listened to my body when I did.”
Ovarian cancer used to be called a “silent” killer. This is because the early symptoms of this cancer can be difficult to detect.
But ovarian cancer is not silent. “Symptoms may occur in the early stages and every woman should know what they are,” says Dr. Donna McNamara, gynecological oncologist with Hackensack University Medical Center. This is why September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month to help women understand the risk and know the signs that can include:
- abdominal bloating
- pressure or discomfort in the abdomen
- feeling unusually full after a meal
- difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- changes in urinaiton
- back pain
- changes in menstruation
- painful intercourse
If any of these symptoms are persistent or you experience them more than 12 times per month, make an appointment with your doctor so you can get to the bottom of what’s happening in your body. Diane did and she is now cancer free, beating the odds.