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Be Your Own Advocate: Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Most posts about ovarian cancer awareness begin “Primary symptoms include – pelvic or abdominal pain, bloating, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, feeling the need to urinate urgently or often” and every time I read them I think BUT HELLO, I’M A WOMAN I EXPERIENCE ALL OF THOSE THINGS ON A ROTATING BASIS EVERY 28.5 days. Or at least I did. Until I found out I had ovarian cancer and treatment threw my 28-year-old body into menopause. But that’s a different story.

September is ovarian cancer awareness month. And the reality is – it’s really hard to know if your constant bloat is because you’ve eaten pizza for the last 7 days (NOT ME NEVER) or if you have cancer. I had cancer and I didn’t know. I got really lucky with a routine procedure where they happened to do an ultrasound and they happened to notice a tumor.

Sure, in hindsight, I had been having some lower back and abdominal pain but I’m not sure there was any way I would have known until the cancer spread and the symptoms got worse.  Here’s what I can tell you – know the big symptoms (as seen above), especially if you are higher risk.  If you have the privilege of health insurance, go to your OBGYN annually.  Tell them if anything feels abnormal.  Don’t skip that, even if everything is 100.  It saved my life.  

And finally, cut out all that shame about talking about your body and all its magical and mysterious forces.  Be your own advocate.  It’s better for your doctor to tell you it’s your diet than to realize later it was cancer.  

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