Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecologic cancer.
There’s no standard screening test, and the cancer often isn’t diagnosed until later stages, when the chances of survival drop.
Symptoms include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and urinary issues, according to Ovarian Cancer Together!, the nonprofit started by Kay Kerbyson of West Richland.
“Women with ovarian cancer report that symptoms are persistent and represent a change from normal for their bodies. The frequency and/or number of such symptoms are key factors in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Several studies show that even early stage ovarian cancer can produce these symptoms,” said a news release from the group.
Women who experience symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should see a doctor, the release said.
They can ask for a CA125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound, it said. The disease can afflict women of all ages.
Ovarian Cancer Together! is putting on the May 25 awareness walk in memory of Julie Davis.
Kerbyson, who herself is dealing with another recurrence of ovarian cancer, said Davis’ story isn’t uncommon — and that needs to change.
More money is needed for research, and greater awareness is needed too, she said.
“The message is, make sure you’re aware of the symptoms. Tell all your family — your sisters, girlfriends, moms. Pass the message onto everyone you know,” she said. “Be your own advocate, really push for the proper testing. It truly can save your life.”