HEALTH

Ovarian cancer affects 20,000 women per year

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Often known as the silent killer, ovarian cancer rocked the world of a local woman five years ago. Today, she’s in remission and working to help other women know the warning signs.

In 2008, Jenny McGihon began experiencing breakthrough bleeding during her monthly cycle. After several months and rounds of tests, her doctor diagnosed her with ovarian and uterine cancer.

“At that time I was diagnosed with Stage IIIA ovarian cancer because my tumors on my ovaries had metastasized to the outside of my colon and bladder,” McGihon says.

McGihon had several rounds of chemo and a total hysterectomy at just 32 years old.

“To be single and 32 and trying to live a normal, young professional life and watching friends get married and have babies all around you while you’re going through this treatment, that was very tough,” she says.

Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly forms of gynecologic cancers. More than 20,000 women are diagnosed with the cancer and over than 14,000 die from it each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Doctors say the problem is that by the time it’s detected, it’s usually too late.

“Certainly research is needed in this fore screening so we can pick up some of these deadly malignancies like ovarian early,” says Dr. John Elkas.

McGihon is one of the lucky ones. She now volunteers with The Foundation for Women’s Cancer, educating women on what to look for.

“If you have symptoms that something is off for more than two weeks you absolutely have to investigate it and investigate it until you really get an answer that satisfies you,” she says.

According to CDC, common symptoms of ovarian cancer are abdominal pressure, bloating and lower back pain.

The National Race to End Women's Cancer is Nov. 3. The race begins and ends at Freedom Plaza. Click here to register.

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