Dear Ann Landers, I feel compelled to respond to the letter from "M.J. in Sarasota," who decided to have a hysterectomy to make absolutely certain she would never get ovarian cancer. She still needs to be careful.
I was diagnosed with fibroid tumors in 1988. Even though there was no family history of ovarian cancer, I decided not to take any chances and had a complete hysterectomy. Eight years later, I was shocked to discover I had Stage III ovarian cancer.
Many women do not realize that malignant cells in the ovaries can spread through the surrounding tissue. Even if the ovaries are removed, ovarian cancer can still develop elsewhere. It is important to continue watching for signs of the disease. I am enclosing a list of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and I hope you will print it for all the women in your reading audience. -- Shirley in Orlando, Fla.
Dear Shirley, Thank you for educating my readers today. According to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, a national education and advocacy organization, ovarian cancers occur in one out of 55 women at any age. Most women are diagnosed when the chance for survival for five years is about 20 percent. Early detection improves survival rates. Symptoms are subtle at first but become more persistent and identifiable as time goes on.
Any woman who experiences the following symptoms for more than two or three weeks should see her doctor and ask for a combination pelvic/rectal exam, a CA-125 blood test and a transvaginal sonogram:
-- Bloating, a feeling of fullness or gas.
-- Frequent or urgent urination.
-- Nausea, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea.
-- Menstrual disorders or pain during intercourse.
-- Fatigue or backaches.
For more information on ovarian cancer, contact www.ovariancancer.org orwww.ovarian.org.
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!
Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!
Patti Castro's Comment
Thank you for the article. I am 74 years old. I am so far blessed not to have Cancer symptoms. How long I live is strictly up to God.
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:
Dear Readers, , My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.