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Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

With September being national Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to be informed on what this disease is and the risks involved. (KATV Photo)

With September being national ovarian cancer awareness month, it’s important to be informed on what this disease is and the risks involved.

“Ovarian cancer is a term that is used pretty broadly to encompass cancers that arise in the ovary and also cancer that arise in the fallopian tube” said Dr. Laura Huffman, Gynecologic Oncologist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “The most common type of ovarian cancer is what’s called an epithelial ovarian cancer. Research studies are showing us that we think a lot of these cancers are actually arising in the fallopian tubes as opposed to the ovary.”

Because there are currently no good screening tests for ovarian cancer, that can cause for a late diagnosis.

“A lot of times we see patients who come in with a mass on the ovary that may look abnormal. We don’t know if it’s ovarian cancer or not until we remove it surgically” said Dr. Huffman.

Within the general population, ovarian cancer is considered rare with a risk factor just over one percent. However, risk factors involved include increasing age where the average age of a diagnosis is in the early sixties.

“Factors that increase your risk for developing ovarian cancer is having a family member, a first degree relative such as your mother, or your sister, your daughter; being diagnosed with ovarian cancer greatly increases your personal risk for developing ovarian cancer. Other genetic or heredity genetic mutations increase your risk for ovarian cancer as well” said Dr. Huffman.

Not having any children can also be a risk factor for developing the disease.

In the interview below, we speak with a woman who went through cancer treatment and overcame the worst with faith and hope.

At the age of 61, Ms. Jo Roberts received news that nobody wishes to ever hear. Ms. Roberts was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer.

“It was the fall of 2011, and I started having symptoms; bloating, and I couldn’t get my jeans buttoned” said Roberts. “Yet, I had a lack of appetite and was eating less but I was gaining weight, and I had some indigestion.”

A tumor was found in one of her ovaries which resulted in surgery and six months of chemotherapy where she was cured, for that time.

“With many cancers, ovarian cancer does have a tendency to come back. So, it did return three year later in my lymph nodes. That happened twice. I’ve been through chemo twice and I’m currently in remission again. I had the last chemo about two to three months ago” said Roberts.

With the support from friends, family her faith, and a great medical team; Ms. Roberts was hopeful for the best possible outcome.

“It was scary. There is no two ways about it. Being told you have cancer is scary because of the unknown. But, I have faith in God and I knew that no matter what happened I would be okay” said Roberts.

She continues to be monitored very closely as she takes blood tests every three months to make sure the cancer hasn’t come back.

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