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.