From CBS Denver:
A 22-year-old woman battling a rare form of stage 3 ovarian cancer wants everyone to know the subtle symptoms of the disease. Emily Pickthall just completed her sixth and final round chemotherapy.
“It’s insane honestly when you get that cancer diagnosis… it’s a whole whirlwind,” said Emily.
Emily had to put everything on hold when tests and subsequent surgery revealed a softball sized growth.
In order to receive treatment, you first need a diagnosis.
“Just because you have those symptoms doesn’t mean that you have ovarian cancer, but in woman who have ovarian cancer those are the most common symptoms.”
It is called the “whisper disease” because the symptoms like bloating, feeling full after eating, nausea and diarrhea can be subtle and easily misdiagnosed.
He says your genetics can also play a role in your chances of getting the disease. “If you have a very strong family history of either breast or ovarian cancer it is really important to talk to you doctor about getting tested for the BRCA gene mutation.”
This is the gene mutation that famously led actress Angelina Jolie to take extreme measures to protect herself from getting the cancer.
Emily says her symptoms started several years ago, “I was having very severe back pain for a long time. I really started having symptoms when I was 17.”
She says although the pain would last up to three weeks at a time and was debilitating, her doctors brushed it off, “They always tell you, ‘Oh, this will go away eventually,’ and it never did.”
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Featured image credit: CBS.