There is an email circulating lately titled “SIGNS OF OVARIAN CANCER (even in the absence of Ovaries and no matter what age you are)”. At first I thought, “oh, great, another one for the trash along with all the others I had received warning me that if my under arm deodorant doesn’t kill me my under wire bra will.” But, after skimming through this one I decided that perhaps it deserved a second look.
If you haven’t received this email yet you either:
1. don’t have internet
2. you are not a woman, or
3. you are a woman that no one likes
It seams that every blogger in blogosphere has a copy posted so I will provide just a brief summary. For the full meal deal you can Google or Twitter …whatever you‘re into now…“SIGNS OF OVARIAN CANCER (even in the absence of Ovaries)” and you will find it. It is worth while to read and you can make up your own mind about it.
SIGNS OF OVARIAN CANCER (even in the absence of Ovaries, and no matter what age you are)
This email begins with a account of how a famous comedian Gilda Radner (widow of Gene Wilder) died of ovarian cancer in 1989 at the age of 42.. Her symptoms were inconclusive, and she was treated for everything under the sun until it was too late. A simple blood test CA-125 finally identified her illness too late to help her. Before she died she wrote a book to heighten awareness.
It goes on to tell of another woman, Kathy West and her experience with Primary Peritoneal Cancer. which is essentially Ovarian Cancer. This lady had a total hysterectomy in 1993, and thought that she did not have to worry about getting any of the female reproductive organ cancers.
The classic symptoms are an abdomen that rather suddenly enlarges and constipation and/or diarrhea. She had these symptoms and went to the doctor. Because her symptoms seemed to be "abdominal", she went to a gastroenterologist and was diagnosed with "Irritable Bowel Syndrome". But, because of the size of enlarged abdomen., she insisted on more tests. She was finally given a CT-Scan that showed a lot of fluid in her abdomen which is not normal. Tests revealed cancer cells in the fluid. But it wasn’t until they did a CA-125 blood test, that she was properly diagnosed.
Of course the rest of the email went on to tout the wonders of the CA-125 test for detecting ovarian cancer and urges everyone to ask their doctor for the test and to pass the email on to all the women they know so they too can insist on one.
Before you start crying any Mulroney tears there is more to this email. It seems it has been going around for years in various forms, exactly the same text, only the name of the woman changes. Although the story gives an actual account of one woman’s experiences, it gives inaccurate advice. The original author, Carolyn Besiege, wrote it when she was angry and frustrated with the medical system. After some reflection on the CA-125 blood test and it’s efficiency as a screen test for ovarian cancer, she posted a revision to her original message in 2000.
Ovarian cancer is deadly. Because these little reproductive jewels are so well protected inside the pelvis, a tumor growing inside an ovary, which is normally the size of a walnut, can cause an ovary to grow to many times it’s original size. Therefore, it is easy it for a tumor to grow and spread before it is detected. The tumor is unusual in that it spreads around the abdomen in most cases and doesn’t invade outside the abdomen until quite late in it’s development. There may be no symptoms in the early stages and if there are, they tend to be so mild and vague that they are often mistaken for normal body changes.
1.Dragging sensation in the pelvis…what woman after childbearing, weight gain and being on their feet all day doesn’t have weakened pelvis muscles and some degree of prolapsed uterus and bladder?
2.Bloating…even good families fart!!!
3.Vaginal discharge…we’re women!!!
4.Irregularities in the menstrual cycle…if you’re at or close to menopause you expect these changes to take place.
5.Rapid enlargement of the abdomen due to a build up of fluids (ascites) in the abdomen. This is usually painless with just a feeling of bloating.
6.This cancer may interfere with normal bowel function causing a kink or obstruction. Often, the first sign of trouble is a sudden and severe colicky pain sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
7.The tumor can cause a pleural effusion. The fluid around the lung can cause a shortness of breath or a persistent cough.
Apart from the last three symptoms, there is very little to indicate that there is something nasty growing inside your body.
Diagnosis and test:
1.Pelvic exam…unfortunately will not detect early problems.
2.Rectrovaginal Exam…Part of the pelvic or gyn examination where the health care professional palpates (feels) the internal pelvic organs by inserting one gloved finger in the rectum and one in the vagina. This is the best way to detect certain abnormalities, including parts of the uterus, ovaries, and colon, and is part of a good screening for ovarian cancer.
(Don’t know about you, but in all the years I’ve had pelvic exams, this one was never offered)
5.Blood test called CA-125
For further information on symptoms and diagnosis of ovarian cancer check out MedicineNet.com
What is the CA 125 Test?
The CA 125 test is a blood test that determines the level of an antigen in the blood which is known to be a tumor marker. It is commonly used to monitor the state of the disease in ovarian cancer patients, because 80-90% of women with ovarian cancer in its later stages will have signs of the antigen in their blood.
Why isn’t the CA-125 Test used as a screening test?
The test is not as sensitive or specific as would be ideal. This means that there are "false positive" and "false negative" results associated with the test, and at unacceptably high rates to be used as a general screening test.
So, will this latest email send me running in a state of hypochondria to my doctor to demand a CA-125 blood test? NO! Should I tell my doctor the next time he is tickling my precious little reproductive jewels, "don't stop now, I want to go all the way", and ask for a CA-125 test...maybe I will. Will I continue to treat my body well and pay close attention to any signals my body is sending ...most definitely! Will I send this latest email to the trash bin?......It's already gone!
If you enjoyed this you may be interested it reading "BOTTOMS UP- A BELOW THE BELT COMMENTARY ON A SENSITIVE ISSUE" the first of my annual "Bum Plugs!"