“Know your body, know the symptoms” – Letitia Linke, wife and mother of two, owner of the The White Shed, and friend of the She Shopped community, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013. The diagnosis was entirely unexpected; Letitia has no family history of the disease and her symptoms could easily have been attributed to polycystic ovarian syndrome. Letitia has endured multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She is now on monthly maintenance chemotherapy treatment. Driven by a passion to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, Letitia wants to get her message out – know your body, know the symptoms, know if something changes and if it’s not right for two weeks or more, see your doctor. If you’re not happy with their opinion, don’t be afraid to see someone else.
Inspired by Letitia, She Shopped is raising awareness of Ovarian Cancer. Every woman needs to know the symptoms of. Do you? It is a disease where some of the cells in one or both ovaries start to grow abnormally and develop into cancer. One woman dies every ten hours from ovarian cancer. There is currently no single test to diagnose it and many of the symptoms do not present until the disease reaches an advanced stage. Research funding is desperately needed to help increase understanding of the disease, create an early detection program and to improve the prognosis of women affected by ovarian cancer.
Signs to look for
Ovarian Cancer Australia advises that the cancer can be difficult to detect as many of the symptoms can be the same, or similar, to those that women experience from less serious and more common health problems. However, ovarian cancer is not a silent disease – there are a number of symptoms to look for.
The most common signs reported are:
– Abdominal or pelvic pain
– Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
– Needing to urinate often or urgently
– Feeling full after eating a small amount
In addition to these symptoms, it is also important to be aware of the following:
– Changes in your bowel habits
– Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
– Bleeding in between periods or after menopause
– Back pain
– Indigestion or nausea
– Excessive fatigue
– Pain during intercourse
If you have experienced any of the symptoms, if they are new for you and they have occurred multiple times over a period of several weeks, then visit your GP. Ovarian Cancer Australia offers a free, easy to use, printable symptom diary that will help you to track any symptoms that are unusual for you. This tool will also assist your GP will diagnosis.
It’s important to be aware of the signs of ovarian cancer, but to not make yourself sick with worry. Most women with these symptoms will not have ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Australia and the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation are two organisations that aim to raise awareness, offer support and advocacy for those affected by ovarian cancer, and facilitate research. They require donations to carry out their vital research, with the goal to create early detection of ovarian cancer, to improve the mortality rate, management and long term survival of women with ovarian cancer, and to gain an understanding of the cause of this disease.
You can make a difference! Check out the links below for ways that you can show your support.
The Wrap Up