PARKER, Colorado (KDVR) – Know the symptoms. This is the message that the 23-year-old from Parker hopes to spread for the month of the fight against ovarian cancer.
Emily Picthol remembers the day she was diagnosed. “It simply came to our notice then. I’m like, I’m only 21, “she said.
It is rare to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer at such a young age, but it does happen. Pickthall says she knew something was wrong, but she never knew how to talk to her doctor about the possibility of ovarian cancer.
“If I had learned about the symptoms and knew in advance, I might have caught it earlier,” she said.
Now she wants to spread the word. Symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating, a feeling of fullness very quickly, abdominal pain, nausea or a change in bowel habits.
The problem is that these can be symptoms of many other diseases.
Dr. Saketh Guntupalli, a gynecological oncologist at UCHealth, says ovarian cancer is a whispering disease and these types of symptoms should be discussed with your doctor.
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If caught in one or two stages, Dr. Guntupali says ovarian cancer has an 80% cure. But the doctor says 75% of women are diagnosed at stage three or four.
“And because the symptoms aren’t very specific, people tend to ignore them,” he said.
Dr. Guntupali says patients need to stand up for themselves and talk about their symptoms. Pickthall agrees.
“Honestly, you have to want answers,” she said.
After surgery and six cycles of chemotherapy at UCHealth, her cancer was no longer detected.
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