My post today is written by a very dear friend, Debbie Stevens. Debbie lost her mother to Ovarian Cancer. Please read the post, take the test, and follow a freesia, to help raise awareness of this deadly disease.
“The ovary is small, homely, and innocuous at first glance, but its tumors of gigantic proportion and exotic appearance continually widen the eye of the most jaded gynaecologist as they exert fascinating effects upon its patients. Such an organ deserves respect” wrote Kraus in his 1967 textbook of pathology.
The lifetime risk of ovarian cancer for Australian women to age 74 is one percent [1%], but the impact on society is far greater than this figure implies. Ovarian cancer is the most common cause of death from gynaecological malignancy. For the majority of women who develop ovarian cancer, it will ultimately be lethal.
Here in Australia, it is the 8th most common cancer in women, affecting around one in a hundred, every year! Sadly, someone is diagnosed approx. every ten hours, and most cases, are at advanced stages.
But ladies, unlike having a mammogram to screen for breast cancer, or the pap smear for our cervix, Ovarian cancer has no real screening method. What it does provide, are its symptoms. The only guide available, and one we need to be more aware of. Now this doesn’t mean you need to panic! It simply means you need to be alert, and pay closer attention to things your body may be trying to tell you.
So what are some of the symptoms? The list includes everything from lower back pain, swelling of the abdomen, indigestion to urinary changes…pretty common, right? But if your symptoms are persistent, or if there’s a family history of breast or bowel cancer, this could be a warning to you.
I urge all women to take back control of their bodies by being well informed! Ignorance is NOT bliss, but rather having knowledge, gives us power!
For myself, meeting this cancer face-to-face was nothing short of horrendous.
Even though my mother had already laid her bombshell diagnosis upon her loved ones, it had not completely registered. The time I set about researching, was precious time I should have been spending by her side, but the clock was already ticking.
April 2000-A trip to Europe, that both mum and dad were all packed for, cancelled, her bags re-packed for a trip into hospital.
A few ‘niggly’ pains in her back and legs, a bloated tummy, the only visible evidence this cancer had left as clues. We simply put down to the recent increased exercise from walking and perhaps a bit of ‘gas’??
But as the strange pain in her back became more prominent, so too the unusual swelling of her tummy. There was indeed more to this story, and today, it’s a story I continue sharing to all who will take the time to listen. Mum’s dream of celebrating her 63rd birthday in London, replaced with a death sentence. An 80% chance of surviving 3-5 years.
June, 2000-Six weeks after her radical surgery, we were able to take mum home.
July 3rd, 2000-Twenty days shy of my 40th birthday, my dear mother lost the fight.
Now do you see the urgency? This is just one case, one story and sadly I know of way too many others. Without an early detection test, every woman and every young girl [Ovarian cancer knows no age-barrier!] are at risk. The aftermath of a late diagnosis is cruel, many are forced to undergo immediate full hysterectomies, never to bear a child, then, its their life they fight to hang onto! We owe it to the females in our lives; our family, friends & co-workers, to spread the awareness message!
I remain in hot pursuit of this pariah, even though I cannot control its existence, I most certainly can see all women/girls are armed with knowledge!
Are you aware? Follow a freesia and help spread the message of Ovarian Cancer.