It Whispers...So Listen Closely.

Sorry folks. No Good Morning Ohio post today...instead, I'm going to talk about something a lot more serious and a lot more personal. Yesterday, my family found out that my step-mom has ovarian cancer. She had surgery yesterday and is recovering now. She had a full hysterectomy, had most of her large intestine and some of her small intestine removed. She's going to need chemo, but we won't know what kind or for how long or any of the details until her results come back from the Pathologist. She'll be there at least a week.

All of this...this bullshit cancer affecting another amazing person in my life. It makes me so angry and sad and scared. Honestly, I didn't know very much about ovarian cancer until yesterday. In my attempt to understand the disease my step-mom is fighting, I did what any technologically-savvy person would do. I Googled it. Did you know that there are signs to look for? Signs of early detection?

So today, for yourself and for every woman you love, I'm going to share those early warning signs with you. Please take the time to read this + share it -- email it, tweet it, whatever. If we can arm ourselves with knowledge, maybe we can prevent more women from having to go through what my step-mom is going through right now. 

The most important thing to know about ovarian cancer is that there are signs...but they aren't obvious. They say ovarian cancer whispers...so we need to listen very closely. There is no annual screening test and it's the most deadly of the female cancers. The only way it can be detected is through an annual Gynecological exam -- I implore you to make an appointment NOW if you haven't been in the last year

There is NO SCREENING TEST for ovarian cancer. 
The best tool we have for early diagnosis is awareness of symptoms.  Symptoms represent a significant change in the body, and they are persistent, lasting almost daily for more than a few weeks. 

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

(Gynecologic Cancer Foundation Consensus Statement)

Historically ovarian cancer was called the "silent killer" because symptoms were not thought to develop until the chance of cure was poor. However, recent studies have shown this term is untrue and that the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population1,2.

These symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)

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 cancer3. Several studies show that even early stage ovarian cancer can produce these symptoms2-6.

Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist. Prompt medical evaluation may lead to detection at the earliest possible stage of the disease. Early stage diagnosis is associated with an improved prognosis.

Several other symptoms have been commonly reported by women with ovarian cancer2-5. These symptoms include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. However, these other symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer because they are also found in equal frequency in women in the general population who do not have ovarian cancer1.

  1. Goff BA, Mandel LS, Melancon CH, Muntz HG. Frequency of symptoms of ovarian cancer in women presenting to primary care. JAMA 2004;291:2705-12. Level II-2
  2. Olson SH, Mignone L, Nakaraseive C,, Caputo TA, Barakat RR, Harlap S. Symptoms of ovarian cancer. Obstet Gynecol 2001;98:212-7. Level II-2
  3. Goff BA, Mandel L, Muntz HG, Melancon CH. Ovarian carcinoma diagnosis: results of a national ovarian cancer survey. Cancer 2000;89:2068-75. Level III
  4. Vine MF, Ness RB, Calingaert B, Schildkraut JM, Berchuck A. Types and duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis of invasive or borderline ovarian tumor. Gynecol Oncol 2001;83:466-71. Level III
  5. Yawn BP, Barrette, BA, Wollan, PC. Ovarian cancer: the neglected diagnosis. Mayo Clin Proc 2004;79:1277-1282. Level III
  6. Goff BA, Mandel L, Drescher CW, Urban N, Gough S, Schurman K, Patras J. Mahony BS, Anderson M. Development of an ovarian cancer symptom index. Cancer 2007;109:221-7. Level II-2


  • Increasing age
  • Family history of ovarian, breast, colon, prostate, endometrial or pancreatic cancer (consider genetic counseling)
  • Infertility/low number of children
  • Personal cancer history

Again, please share this information with a woman today, whether it be family, friend, co-worker or stranger. Rise above your ordinary interactions with the Internet today. Do something great. Sharing this information might help someone. It might save someone's life.

Thank you,


cabin + cub said...

I hope she gets well soon! We have a family member going through the exact same thing right now.

Diana Mieczan said...

What a powerful post! I am so moved and so sad for your family...I hope she will be better soon!
Thank you so much for this post!
Kisses and I hope tomorrow will be better!
(Stay strong my friend)

Mrs. B said...

I am so truly sorry too learnabout your step mother, and for this horrible disease.

I truly pray for her full recovery. With good and strong people like you behind her I am sure will survive this, and have many more happy years to live.

I hope they find a cure soon. How much joy that would bring to the world!

Take care.

Chantale said...

Hey Evelyn, Oh I'm so sorry to hear this! If you need someone to rant to, write on! Please know that we're praying for her and your family to pull through. I'm sure with everyone's positive vibe and energy, she will pull through! Small steps.. small steps.. Lots and lots of love to you!

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