I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer aged 30…here are the symptoms people missed
- TikTok influencer Dr Amy shared the two baffling signs of her cancer in a video
- Some 80% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed late due to the vague symptoms
- READ MORE: The 28 year-old award-winning actress who lost her life to the disease
It has long been known as the silent cancer killer. Ovarian cancer, which affects more than 21,000 American women every year, is known for its collection of vague, subtle symptoms such as bloating that often go missed.
It’s why 80 per cent of cases aren’t diagnosed until the disease has spread, and half won’t survive more than five years.
Now, one young, former patient has detailed the two baffling signs of her tumor – which reached the size of a football by the time it was found.
TikTok influencer Dr Amy has shared her shock cancer story with her 45,000 followers to warn others of the little-known signs.
In a video posted in October, she told of her bewilderment at the diagnosis, aged 30, as she lacked any risk factors.
How I Found Out I Had Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer (Shocking Symptoms) – Part 1 #cancer #foryou #fyp
‘I was already doing all the right things to prevent cancer,’ says Amy, who worked in a local cancer center.
‘Eating right, exercising…at least that’s what I thought. That’s what in this video I am showing you exactly what my symptoms were. These are things that most people miss…sharing my story could save your life.’
At the time of Amy’s diagnosis in 2017, she was living a ‘pretty average life’. She had recently bought her first home with her fiancee, and got married three months later.
But shortly after returning from a two week honeymoon in Italy and Greece, the first symptom cropped up.
Dr Amy Fans had a 21cm tumor removed from her ovary, as well as the ovary itself.
‘After two weeks of over-indulgence I had naturally gained a little bit of weight,’ says Amy, who posts regular health tips to her popular channel.
‘Nothing major, maybe like five pounds or so. I kind of brushed it off but even weeks later it didn’t seem to be coming off.
‘I knew my body really well,’ she adds. ‘I eat well, i exercise. But I didn’t lose any weight. If anything, I gained weight.’
But then came the ‘number one symptom’ that began ‘ringing alarm bells’.
‘I had relentless heartburn,’ she says. ‘I had heartburn all the time. This had never happened to me before. I had to keep Tums in my desk drawer at the hospital because I just couldn’t get through a day without them. My inner voice was saying something wasn’t right.’
Eventually, Amy visited her family doctor who ran tests for ulcers among other problems, all of which came back negative. Next, the doctor sent her to the hospital for an ultrasound scan.
‘It was 5pm on Friday afternoon when my doctor’s name showed up on my phone. I stood there, frozen at my kitchen counter,’ she says. ‘She said: “You have a tumor on your ovary. It measures 21cm by 10cm. I’m sorry, you have cancer.”‘
Amy first started suffering symptoms of ovarian cancer weeks after returning from a European honeymoon.
Amy was diagnosed with stage three disease – which means the cancer has spread outside the ovary. Less than 40 per cent of women diagnosed at this stage will survive more than five years.
Later in the video, the medic explains why ovarian cancer is linked to heartburn.
‘The size of the tumor was pushing against my intestines and my stomach,’ she says. ‘It was causing me to have acid reflux. My stomach was running out of space.’
Shortly after her diagnosis, Amy began a gruelling regieme of treatment. First, she underwent a major operation to remove the tumor, and her abdomen was fixed closed using 33 surgical staples.
‘Surgery was the easy part. Chemo was up next. The side effects terrified me. And rightly so.’ The treatment made Amy ‘so exhausted’, nauseated’ and ‘depressed’, however it worked to destroy the cancer cells.
Now, six years on, she is still cancer free. ‘Even with only one ovary my husband and I were able to grow our family,’ she says, telling of her two ‘miracle’ children.
‘I am living proof that you really can put all your eggs in one basket.’
WHY OVARIAN CANCER IS CALLED A ‘SILENT KILLER’
About 80 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease.
At the time of diagnosis, 60 percent of ovarian cancers will have already spread to other parts of the body, bringing the five-year survival rate down to 30 percent from 90 percent in the earliest stage.
It’s diagnosed so late because of its location in the pelvis, according to Dr Ronny Drapkin, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who’s been studying the disease for more than two decades.
‘The pelvis is like a bowl, so a tumor there can grow quite large before it actually becomes noticeable,’ Dr Drapkin told MailOnline.
The first symptoms to arise with ovarian cancer are gastrointestinal because tumors can start to press upward.
When a patient complains of gastrointestinal discomfort, doctors are more likely to focus on diet change and other causes than suggest an ovarian cancer screening.
Dr Drapkin said it’s usually not until after a patient endures persistent gastrointestinal symptoms that they will receive a screening that reveals the cancer.
‘Ovarian cancer is often said to be a silent killer because it doesn’t have early symptoms, when in fact it does have symptoms, they’re just very general and could be caused by other things,’ he said.
‘One of the things I tell women is that nobody knows your body as well as you do. If you feel something isn’t right, something’s probably not right.’
Source: Read Full Article