Cancer

Wear Teal in September for Ovarian Cancer Awareness

James Pavelka MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Good Samaritan Hospital’s Women's Center for Specialized Care, discusses ovarian cancer signs, symptoms and awareness during Local 12’s Ask the Expert segment.

Ovarian Cancer: Awareness

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and Dr. Pavelka wants to stress the importance of early detection. "If you find ovarian cancer early, it can be very curable,”he explains. “Only about one in four women who have ovarian cancer have it diagnosed at stage one, so a majority have it diagnosed after it's spread or metastasized."

One of those patients is Debbie Heile, an ovarian cancer survivor. Debbie understands just how lucky she is to have found the cancer in an early stage, thanks to genetic testing, which exposed she was at risk for the disease. Debbie is a breast cancer survivor as well, which is why she decided to have genetic testing, and she wants women to understand the connection between the two cancer types.

Debbie is using her experience as a double cancer survivor to hopefully influence others on the importance of understanding your personal health, and speaking up when things don't seem right. 

When speaking about her personal journey, "I would never have changed my life. The journey that I've taken – the journey that I've been on – has been a tremendous one, in that I've learned about myself, and hopefully influenced others."

When Should I Visit My Doctor?

While many ovarian cancer symptoms are common, it’s recommended that you visit your primary doctor if you have sudden or continued symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Urinary frequency
  • Change in bowel habits
Tags Cancer , Women's Health

Last Updated: September 09, 2013