People say that ovarian cancer is a silent killer because we can rarely sense it coming; its symptoms are so vague and unapparent, that by the time they’ve been noticed, it’s often too late.
Cancer survivor Erin Barrett was first diagnosed with the disease after becoming incredibly sick from what she thought was her pregnancy. But after a mass growing on her ovaries was found when doctors ran tests, her baby had to be delivered through a C-section and her tumour needed to be removed. It wasn’t an easy process, but she’s one of the lucky few who got an early stage cancer diagnosis.
“The mass was so big,” she told CTV News. “It was bigger than a volleyball. And it actually turned out, size-wise, to be bigger than my baby.”
While going through chemotherapy in 2015, Barret posted her story to Facebook, outlining the symptoms of ovarian cancer in the post, hoping that it’d save somebody else’s life.
And thanks to her intention to raise awareness, five other women suffering from the disease were able to be diagnosed early too. In other words, Barret’s eye-opening post actually saved five other lives.
So how about we try to save a few more? After all, it’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and being aware of the signs and symptoms of the deadly disease is the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from it. Here’s what to look out for:
According to Ovarian Cancer Canada, frequent bloating and or a growing abdomen could be a sign of ovarian cancer. So if your abdomen is swollen for long periods of time, and you haven’t just been overeating, it’s definitely worth talking to a medical professional.
Loss of appetite
Losing your appetite could be an indicator of so many things: dealing with a cold or even being upset or nervous about something. But having difficulty eating or getting full faster than usual could also be indicative of the early stages of ovarian cancer.
Feeling some discomfort near the pelvis or abdomen could be a sign of the disease, so be sure to pay attention to any frequent pain in that area.
Going to the Bathroom
Having to pee often and urgently can mean several things, many of which are not life-threatening. But it’s also a common symptom of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Canada notes on their website that “occasionally there can be other symptoms such as changes in bowel habits, extreme fatigue or unexplained weight loss.”
Don’t get nervous if you do happen to have any of these symptoms, though — it doesn’t mean you definitely have ovarian cancer. But if your symptoms are new or frequent, be sure to make some time to see what your doctor has to say.