Ovarian cancer survivors encourage discussion about disease

- Over the weekend, ovarian cancer survivors gathered for a first-of-it's-kind event, and the results were amazing. Just ask organizer and 14-year survivor, Dr. Meredith Mitsitfer.

"It was very emotional, it warmed the soul of my heart to see these women finally open up and talking to each other, and really feeling hope," Dr. Mitsitfer said.

The group of more than 45 women got makeovers, won prizes, relaxed, but more importantly, did the one thing people aren't doing about the disease -- talking.

"It's the fifth leading gynocological cancer rated test. There's one in 75 that are diagnosed. And it is so isolating, it can be so isolating, and unfortunately it's not caught until later stages of the disease," Dr. Mitsitfer said.

Unfortunately, there's no test for ovarian cancer.

That's why often so many women don't get diagnosed until the later stages. The symptoms, although easy to recognize, are common to many other ailments like bloating, frequent urination, feeling full and lower stomach pain. 

And even though it's a disease that only effects women, men should be aware of the signs.

"We will notice these changes sometimes before the woman does. And if you get diagnosed or a diagnosis to a person earlier, the results can be dramatically different," Steve Allen said.

Allen lost his wife Vikki to ovarian cancer two years ago, but continues her vibrant legacy through work with the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. He says the mission of the weekend is simple.

"[I hope] they get hope and encouragement. And an understanding that they're not alone," Allen said.

And even though the event was just for one weekend, the group hopes it provides support for a lifetime.

"We calculated 251.4 years of survivorship in the room, so for those that are newly diagnosed and going through treatment, I could tell this was just a great experience for them," said Dr. Mitsitfer.

 

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