Tuesday, August 31

In The News: The Silent Killer

Do you know what the fifth leading cause of death for women in the United States is?

Nope, not that.

Not that either.

It's ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly cancers out there. I know this not just because of what I've read, but because of what I've seen.

My cousin, who, at 39, is only a year older than me, has been fighting ovarian cancer for four years. That she's lived so long is--in and of itself--a miracle.

But she's been through every possible chemotherapy option available, and is now on experimental trials, hoping and praying that she'll go into remission.

Hoping she lives.

My cousin's ovarian cancer was caught fairly early--she went to a doctor, explained that her stomach had been bothering her a lot lately, and that she was tired. The doctor ordered a battery of tests, including a blood test called CA 125, which is usually (although not always) elevated in people who have cancer.

She was lucky to have such a good doctor.

She was lucky that test was ordered--it's not usually done for someone who is feeling tired and who's been having stomach trouble.

She wasn't so lucky with the results. My cousin's levels were very high, and more tests were ordered, including an MRI, which is what finally found the cancer.

Despite what a doctor may tell you, Pap smears *can't* find ovarian cancer (unless it's spread to your cervix, which, quite frankly, means your chances of survival are pretty bad) and, as I write this, there is still no accurate test to diagnose ovarian cancer in the early stages.

What does this matter?

Because in 2009, it was estimated that there would be 21,550 cases of ovarian cancer.

And that 14,600 women would die from it.

Do you like those odds?

I don't either.

Please visit the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition for more information.

If you're interested in spreading the word, (don't forget that September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month!) there are a world of options available to you here and through the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance's BEAT program, which has a flyer you can download and share here

Please help spread the word.

Please help the odds.


Susan said...

Thank you for sharing this information. I honestly knew nothing about ovarian cancer until this post, and now I'm reading up on it. I appreciate you spreading the word, and now I'll do the same.

Amanda Ashby said...

My thoughts and prayers are with your cousin. I really hope the odds are going to be on her side. Cancer seems to be sneaking into everyone's lives more and more, so thank you for helping to raise awareness. I'm off to check out those links right now.

Alyson Noel said...

I am so sorry to hear about your cousin. I've lost too many loved ones to cancer, and ovarian is especially tricky since it's so difficult to detect. Thanks for bringing this to people's attention, and may your cousin continue to beat all the odds! My thoughts are with you!

elizabeth scott said...

Susan, Amanda, and Alyson--thank you all for the kind words, and for helping to spread the word!

kathryn said...

My grandmother passed away of ovarian cancer about 15 years ago. She was in the final stages of it before it was finally diagnosed, so didn't suffer long. Every year my family sponsors a Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer group. Thanks for speaking up about terrible disease.

Melissa Walker said...

I had no idea about the difficulty of diagnosing ovarian cancer--I figured the gyn visit once a year was enough. Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing this information. Sending lots of good wishes to your cousin.