I’m done with Ovarian Cancer Treatment, now what?
This is a common question among women who have recently gone through treatment for ovarian cancer–and rightfully so. While the thought of remission can bring a sense of relief, there are also concerns about what other challenges may lie ahead regarding lifestyle changes, fertility, and the possible chance of recurrence.
If you have recently finished ovarian cancer treatment it is important to remember to give yourself time to adjust to any physical and emotional changes you are going through. Eventually, ovarian cancer survivors re-establish a daily routine–and you will too, at your own pace.
6 ovarian cancer signs and symptoms every woman should know:
- Changes in appetite
- Bloating or increase in abdominal girth
- Frequent urination
- Changes in menstruation
- Discomfort in the pelvis
- Low energy
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to learn more about early detection and save lives. About 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year in the US. While about half of all cases happen in women who are age 63 and older, all women face some risk of developing the disease. Certain risk factors, including being overweight and a history of ovarian cancer in the family, may increase your chances of being diagnosed. Ovarian cancer research clinical trials are underway, but it’s still good for patients to be educated about detecting ovarian cancer early.
Only 19% of women are diagnosed in the early stages of this disease. That’s because many symptoms of ovarian cancer could also be signs of less serious medical problems. However, if you notice any of these symptoms for more than 12 days per month and they are new to you, it is time to visit your gynecologist for a checkup:
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month – a time dedicated to informing women and their families about a disease that affects thousands of women each year.
Ovarian cancer, a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries, is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it isn’t usually diagnosed until it has progressed to an advanced stage. Many early symptoms either aren’t apparent or they are mimicking symptoms of other stomach and digestive illnesses. This is why it’s not only important to know the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, but also to pay close attention to any new or unusual changes in your body and have them addressed by a medical professional.
Nearly 22,280 women are expected to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. Unfortunately, because most ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage when the disease has already spread beyond the ovaries, nearly 14,240 will lose their lives. Ovarian cancer accounts for five percent of cancer deaths among women.
The five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer, if caught in early (stage one), is a promising 92 percent. If detected in an advanced stage (stage three or four), that survival rate drops to just 27 percent. Currently, there is no dependable screening for ovarian cancer, but because early diagnosis is so important, women should be aware of the risk factors and symptoms and consult their healthcare provider if they are at risk or notice any changes that may be signs of the disease.
Before playing a key role in raising $46,000 in cancer research funds last month, authoring a book about beating cancer, or tackling a hike through the Alps, Scottsdale resident Janice Coggins had to beat stage-three ovarian cancer.
In 2010, at the age of 58, Coggins received her diagnosis. Like anyone receiving such life-changing news, Coggins felt shock and fear. Yet she didn’t let it rule her for long. Only days after her diagnosis she began treatment. An unrelenting can-do attitude helped her survive, she says. “I sprang into action,” she recalls. “There was no way I was going to leave this cancerous mass inside of me one minute longer.”
Coggins refused to wear wigs or scarves — she was proud to be fighting — and winning. When she went in for a treatment, she wore bright orange shoes, just to remind herself and others “this wasn’t the end.”