Dr Oz: Ovarian Cancer
Dr Oz highlighted the warning signs and tests every woman needs to know in a special episode on Ovarian Cancer. This special episode could save lives by helping connect women with potentially life-saving information about their health. Do you know the warning signs? Most people don’t, which is why Ovarian Cancer is known as the Silent Killer. But this show was created to Break the Silence and raise awareness about Ovarian Cancer, so don’t be shy about sharing this information with every important woman in your life.
Dr Oz’s first guests were families whose lives have been affected by Ovarian Cancer. Sharon was diagnosed in December 2009. She noticed that she was having a very heavy period, but her doctor dismissed this as a symptom of Perimenopause. A year later, she found herself in such excruciating pain that she couldn’t get herself up off the floor. By the time she was evaluated at the hospital, she learned she had Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer.
Dr Oz: Menopause Vs Ovarian Cancer
Another woman, Barbara, had a similar experience, but was also told that the change in her period was a sign of Menopause. She also complained about pain on her left side, but was referred to a psychologist because nothing was supposedly wrong with her physically. (Aren’t we supposed to have quality healthcare in this country?) After two years and nearly two dozen doctor’s visits, Barbara got her Stage 2 Ovarian Cancer diagnosis in November 2004.
Dr Oz also met Paul, whose wife Jill was diagnosed in spring 2005. She had complained about feeling bloated and having frequent headaches. Her OB/GYN said a cyst on her ovary was nothing to worry about. By the time she was accurately diagnosed, she needed an emergency Hysterectomy and aggressive Chemotherapy. Paul had to tell the couple’s five children that their mother was dying. Though Jill passed away at age 44, her life could’ve been saved with an earlier diagnosis.
These are just three stories of how Ovarian Cancer affected women. Hopefully others can learn from what happened to them and prevent the same mistakes or miscommunications from occurring in treatment. That’s why Dr Oz featured the Break The Silence On Ovarian Cancer campaign.
Break The Silence on Ovarian Cancer
Dr Barbara Goff and Dr Carol Brown are both experts in Ovarian Cancer. Dr Oz wondered why women with this type of cancer are so often misdiagnosed. Dr Goff said that a study of 1700 women with Ovarian Cancer found that the majority were initially misdiagnosed. A full 30% were even given prescription treatments for other conditions. The education campaign about Ovarian Cancer needs to happen for both patients and physicians.
Dr Brown said that most women don’t discover their Ovarian Cancer status until it has begun to spread throughout the body. By the time the disease reaches Stages 3 and 4, the success rate for treatment is only around 30%; the odds are much better if this is detected early. Dr Oz also noted that the condition becomes much more painful for the patient as it spreads to other organs, like the Bladder and Uterus. Finally it invades the intestinal tract, at which point it becomes very difficult to effectively treat.
If there is any good news here, it’s that symptoms can be detected early if patients know what to look for. Dr Oz compared a normal Ovary to one with cancer. The typical Ovary is the size of an almond after Menopause. Before Menopause, it’s a bit larger; think of the size of a walnut. With Ovarian Cancer, it is enlarged due to cancerous cysts.
Ovarian Cancer Warning Signs
Here are the five most critical warning signs you can look for when it comes to Ovarian Cancer. Knowing these and sharing them with the women you love could save a life.
- Bloating – Persistent bloating for weeks or a change in abdominal size are a cause for concern. Take note of how many days in a month this condition lasts.
- Pelvic/Abdominal Pain – If this type of pain or discomfort is going on daily over the course of weeks, it’s time to ask your doctor about it. Be sure to track how long the pain lasts and how severe the pain is, on a 10-point scale.
- Fullness/Appetite Changes – Ovarian Cancer can cause constipation because food isn’t moving properly through the digestive system. This can lead to feeling full earlier than normal or loss of appetite. Keep track of what percentage of your meal you eat before noticing you are full.
- Frequent Urination – Though this symptom is most often associated with a Urinary Tract Infection, it can also be a sign of Ovarian Cancer. If symptoms persist, especially after a UTI treatment, you should ask your doctor for an Ovarian Cancer screening.
- Family History – Do you know your family medical history? If someone in your family has had Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer, or Ovarian Cancer, that means you are at an increased risk as well.
If your doctor dismisses your concerns or downplays them, you might need to think about finding a new physician who will take your symptoms and observations seriously. When it comes to cancer, your life could be at stake.
Share these symptoms with the women you love and encourage them to ask their doctors about any changes, abnormal symptoms, or cancer screenings that are available. Think about how much the women you love mean to you. Early detection could save a life.