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An Eye Opener on Ovarian Cancer.
I hope you take the time to read this and pass it on to all you can.
This is the emailed story of Kathy West.
I, Kathy West, have Primary Peritoneal Cancer. This cancer has only recently been identified as its OWN type of cancer, but it is essentially Ovarian Cancer.
Both types of cancer are diagnosed in the same way, with the “tumor marker” CA-125 BLOOD TEST, and they are treated in the same way – surgery to remove the primary tumor and then chemotherapy with Taxol and Carboplatin.
Having gone through this ordeal, I want to save others from the same fate. That is why I am sending this message to you and hope you will print it and give it or send it via E-mail to everybody you know.
One thing I have learned is that each of us must take TOTAL
responsibility for our own health care. I thought I had done that
because I always had an annual physical and PAP smear, did a monthly Self-Breast Exam, went to the dentist at least twice a year, etc. I even insisted on a sigmoidoscopy and a bone density test last year. When I had a total hysterectomy in 1993, I thought that I did not have to worry about getting any of the female reproductive organ cancers.
LITTLE DID I KNOW. I don’t have ovaries (and they were HEALTHY when they were removed), but I have what is essentially ovarian cancer. Strange, isn’t it?
These are just SOME of the things our Doctors never tell us: ONE out of every 55 women will get OVARIAN or PRIMARY PERITONEAL CANCER. The “CLASSIC” symptoms are an ABDOMEN that rather SUDDENLY ENLARGES and CONSTIPATION and/or DIARRHEA.
I had these classic symptoms and went to the doctor. Because these symptoms seemed to be “abdominal,” I went to a gastroenterologist. He ran tests that were designed to determine whether there was a bacteria infection; these tests were negative, and I was diagnosed with “Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” I guess I would have accepted this diagnosis had it not been for my enlarged abdomen. I swear to you, it looked like I was 4-5 months pregnant! I therefore insisted on more tests.
They took an X-ray of my abdomen; it was negative. I Was again assured that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and was encouraged to go on my scheduled month-long trip to Europe. I couldn’t wear any of my slacks or shorts because I couldn’t get them buttoned, and I KNEW something was radically wrong. I INSISTED on more tests, and they (reluctantly) scheduled me for a CT-Scan (just to shut me up, I think). This is what Imean by “taking charge of our own health care.” The CT-Scan showed a lot of fluid in my abdomen (NOT normal).
Needless to say, I had to cancel my trip and have FIVE POUNDS of fluids extracted. Scary I assure you, but NOTHING compared to what was ahead of me). Tests revealed cancer cells in the fluid.
Finally, finally, finally, the doctor ran a CA-125 blood test, and I was properly diagnosed. I HAD THE CLASSIC SYMPTOMS FOR OVARIAN CANCER, AND YET THIS SIMPLE CA-125 BLOOD TEST HAD NEVER BEEN RUN ON ME, not as part of my annual physical exam and not when I was symptomatic. This is an inexpensive and simple blood test!