In Guyana Ovarian Cancer is reported to be the third most popular form of cancer, while Breast Cancer is rated as number one and followed by Cervical Cancer, according to the Oncology Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
In 2016, there were 33 reported diagnosis for Ovarian Cancer. With insufficient knowledge on the causes of the disease the World Health Organization (WHO) supports the theory that ‘Early Detection and Diagnosis Saves Lives.’
According to a report from the WHO, almost half the women who were diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer were unable to identify any symptoms of the disease.
The symptoms of Ovarian Cancer can be vague and similar to other common conditions, if any of the symptoms are experienced, especially if they are unusual or persistent it is important to see the doctor, according to the report.
These symptoms may include abdominal bloating, or increased abdominal size, abdominal pelvic pain, appetite loss, feeling full quickly or indigestion, urinary changes such as frequency and urgency, changes in bowel habits such as constipation, unexpected weight loss or weight gain and unexpected fatigue.
Ovarian Cancer is one of the most deadly of women cancers and in 2016 it was estimated by the WHO that approximately 182,000 women died as a result of Ovarian Cancer worldwide.
This cancer typically occurs in women in their fifties and sixties with the median age being 63, but has not been limited to that age group according to the WHO.
Many of the women who were diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer have had a genetic history that may include carrying the BRCA mutation gene and having a strong family history of Ovarian Cancer.
Unfortunately many women don’t seek help until the disease has begun to spread, but if detected at its early stage, the 5 year survival rate is more than ninety three percent, the report stated.
Guyana Daily News spoke with Patricia Rahaman who now resides in Atlanta Georgia, and is currently battling with stage 111 C of the disease.
According to the 36 year old former school teacher and mother of 2, “It was September of 2000 I had a month long menstrual period, and was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst and given oral medication to dissolve the cyst and my period returned to normal.”
She said in December of that year she had several odd, unrelated symptoms that included numbness in her fingers, Ocular Migraines, Superficial Phelebitis in her legs and an irregular heartbeat.
“I went from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I was gaining weight and I had very little energy,” she noted.
Rahaman also said in January of the following year, she had her regular scheduled OB/GYN appointment but her cancer still went undetected.
She told this news entity that a month after the appointment she started experiencing a slight pressure on her bladder, and after returning to her OB/GYN was told that she had a mild Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and was given medication.
“Two weeks after, my symptoms did not go away it was not until I was given a Trans Vaginal ultrasound that a large tumor on my ovary was discovered. After emergency surgery I was told that it was possible that the tumor could have been cancerous,” Rahaman said.
The woman said that the 7 inch tumor had burst and was removed from her body leaving an additional mass that was attached to her bowel behind.
She said in December of 2002 she underwent a complete Hysterectomy and staging surgery to better her chances of survival.
Rahaman said she subsequently migrated to the United States and that same year she participated in a clinical trial study and had fifteen rounds of Chemotherapy.
“Today I am in remission, having this cancer does not mean my life is over, but it has made me realize how fortunate I am to live in this day and age, to have received the medical care and not forgetting how fortunate I am to have the love of my family, friends, the nurses and doctors. I urge all women to be proactive in their health care and to make use of every test available. Having cancer does not mean your life is over,” Rahaman stated.