Letter to the editor: September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
As an ovarian cancer survivor nearing my four-year cancerversary, I would like to remind everyone that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. I was diagnosed in 2012 at Marshfield Clinic and have just finished my third line of chemotherapy there. A CT scan will help determine my next fighting steps.
Awareness is important because many women, like myself back in 2012, are unaware of symptoms that accompany ovarian cancer. Their concerns are often ignored and misdiagnosed at onset.
Awareness is also needed to encourage more research and funding to help find a cure rather than a temporary fix. Although today there are better ways to cope with side effects of chemotherapy and resultant low blood counts, there is no cure when a woman’s ovarian cancer recurs, and little progress has been made in the past 20 years in finding new treatments.
Subtle symptoms of ovarian cancer, often called the cancer that whispers, include bloating, sharp abdominal pains that come and go at random, feeling full quickly when eating, bathroom troubles, or a swollen belly. A pap test does not detect ovarian cancer. Often it is discovered through transvaginal ultrasound tests accompanied by a CA125 blood test. Do not be afraid to ask about these tests if you have symptoms.
This month I had the opportunity to attend a five-day retreat in Gold Creek, Montana, for ovarian cancer survivors. When I arrived at Camp Mak-A-Dream, I was surrounded by 61 women from across the United States all in the same boat as me.
I was surprised that there were 11 women from Wisconsin, none I had met before. We shared our cancer journeys, our sadness, frustrations, hopes, and dreams.
Attending this unique retreat left me feeling unalone. If cancer has taught me anything, it is to be grateful for the time I have already been given and that each new day is a bonus.
I would like to challenge the Green Bay Packers to wear teal in September, the color for ovarian cancer.
We need more voices. We need a cure.