Ovarian cancer most often presents in stage III, comprising more than 50% of all cases. Briefly, a stage 3 diagnosis means that cancer is found in one or both ovaries and has spread to other parts of the abdomen. This is a serious challenge for anyone to endure, but although it may seem initially overwhelming, I am writing this article as a measure of hope for those who are going through this right now.
Ten years ago a woman I knew, let’s call her “Lisa,” was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. She had no risk factors of the disease, was diligent about going for her annual gynecological exams and checkups, and she never missed her yearly mammogram. Unfortunately, she was not aware of the early warning signs she was experiencing including indigestion, bloating, pelvic discomfort and pain, and a change in her menstrual periods. Had she realized these were signs and symptoms she should be on the lookout for, she would have seen a doctor earlier and it might have been the difference in stage 1 and stage 3. But she didn’t know the symptoms to look for.
Once finally diagnosed, she underwent surgery with removal of a large tumor, and then 6 sessions of chemotherapy over a period of 15 weeks. During this time she listened to her doctor’s prognosis (not great) and researched the disease, discovering the 5-year survival rate was somewhere around 20%. But she was a strong woman and she was determined to watch her 3 children grow up, finish college, have careers, and raise a family themselves. She was determined to beat this disease. She changed a few things in her life, exercising at least once a day, drinking more water, and eating healthier. Of course she had to go for checkups every few months for the first couple of years, and then every 6 months thereafter.
Just a few months ago, Lisa had the most amazing news. She went for her regular checkup at her oncologist’s office and she was told that since she has been with no evidence of disease (known as NED) for 10 years she is now considered cured and she was discharged from the oncologist’s care.
If you have been diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer, don’t even read the statistics because you are not a number. Especially in this day and time, it is so easy to find negative information on the Internet. I will tell you that I believe the reason for this is people go on the ‘net with their problems and rarely go to talk about things that are going great in their life. This is why I wanted to share this with everyone. Take heart from Lisa’s story and know that a cure is possible for anyone, regardless of what the numbers say.