Annette, an ovarian cancer and breast cancer survivor, introduces herself and shares what symptoms she had that were ovarian cancer indicators.
My name is Annette Leal Mattern, and I am a 21-year survivor of ovarian cancer. I am also a patient advocate, and I work for issues that affect women’s health, particularly in gynecologic cancers. I am also a breast cancer survivor and my mission is to help eradicate cancers for women so that they can achieve their full potential.
Like most women with ovarian cancer, I didn’t know anything about the disease, and there were symptoms that presented, but I didn’t know what they were, so I ignored them.
There’s bloating of the abdominal area, abdominal or pelvic pain, pain with intercourse, and I had all of these symptoms. Some women experience a fullness in their digestive area so they are not able to eat fully, normally, or urgency of urination, which is another key symptom.
And most women are misdiagnosed; 85% of us are found late stage. Mine was so advanced that I didn’t know until my tumor literally ruptured and hemorrhaged and I nearly died on the operating table, and that was the first clue that I had cancer.
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