Ovarian Cancer Treatment Path
- A woman in the UK was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 24 after seven months of symptoms which included stomach pain and bloating.
- Ovarian cancer symptoms can be hard to spot and include bloating, abdominal pain, decrease in appetite, change in bowel habits, pelvic pain, and fatigue.
- Common treatment paths for ovarian cancer are surgery and chemotherapy.
- If you’re feeling unwell or have unexplained symptoms, always book an appointment and get it checked out with your doctor. You are your best healthcare advocate!
Etheridge also experienced difficulty eating as one of her symptoms. Today, she’s using her experiences to encourage others to seek medical treatment if they have worrying symptoms and not to delay.Read More
Chloe’s Ovarian Cancer JourneyEtheridge was diagnosed with ovarian cancer seven months after she started experiencing painful symptoms, reports the Daily Mail. She went to the emergency room in April 2022, where she was given an ultrasound which showed two tumors on her ovaries. “One was 18cm long, and one was 11cm long,” recalls Etheridge. She was later officially diagnosed with germ-cell ovarian cancer in July 2022. She recalls how she was “relieved to finally get a diagnosis. The waiting was horrible, and knowing all the time it is growing bigger, I wanted to get started on the treatment.”
Etheridge says she went into “action mode” to commence treatment, which started with six months of chemotherapy the day after diagnosis. She says, “The doctor said it was one of the most aggressive forms of chemo they could prescribe, and it is only available at two hospitals in the UK.”
“I ignored all of [my symptoms], which wasn’t the right thing to do,” she says. To treat her disease, she had chemotherapy and surgery, a common treatment path for ovarian cancer. Etheridge says the chemotherapy’s side effects were challenging and included fatigue, nausea, and hearing loss.
In an earlier interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Amanda Nickles Fader, a Gynecologic Oncologist at Johns Hopkins, explains the course of events from diagnosis to treatment. She says, “We might see a mass in the ovary or more than one mass. And that might lead to, then, the decision to do a biopsy or to proceed to surgery at that point.”
Dr. Fader continues, “And surgery and chemotherapy, for most ovarian cancers, are both very important, if not equally important. The decision about which to do first really must be tailored on an individual case-by-case basis.”
Ovarian cancer has been called “the cancer that whispers,” due to its hard-to-detect symptoms. Dr. Beth Karlan, a gynecologic oncologist at UCLA Medical Center, explains in an earlier interview with SurvivorNet, “What we’ve found from multiple studies, it’s this constellation of symptoms,” she said.
“If that’s really happening and you’re experiencing it every day, and they seem to be crescendo-ing, getting worse, even if that goes on for only two weeks, you should call your doctor.”
Ovarian cancer symptoms may include:
- Feeling full earlier/decrease in appetite
- Feeling bloated
- Changes in bowel habits
- Pain in the pelvis
- Urinary symptoms, such as an urgent need to go
- Extreme fatigue
- Abdominal swelling
- Pain during sex
Being an Advocate for Your Health
We love how Etheridge is using her cancer diagnosis to encourage others to speak up and be powerful advocates for their health!
The young cancer survivor is speaking out and urging women to see a doctor if they have symptoms. She says, “Book your GP appointment, and don’t stop going until you get an answer.” We couldn’t agree with her advice more. It’s so important to be a fierce advocate for your own health and to keep insisting on answers and seeking them if you don’t find a conclusive diagnosis.
Etheridge says, “If you feel like you don’t have an adequate answer – keep going back [to your doctor].”
In an earlier interview, Cedars-Sinai’s Dr. Zuri Murrell, a colorectal surgeon, says, “The truth is you have to be in tune with your body, and you realize that you are not the statistic.”
He continues, encouraging people to be “pushy” if need be. “That’s why it’s important for you to actually educate yourself and be your own health care advocate,” says Dr. Murrell. “And that’s something that I think is really important. You should lead each doctor’s appointment with a plan.”
Etheridge agrees, saying, “‘If you are feeling uncomfortable, you should go to your doctor and get it checked out.”