Thursday, July 13, 2006

Public Service Announcement

I just got word that one of the branch managers I used to work with (before fleeing Middle Management) has passed away. She fought her ovarian cancer for 18 months, with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Unbelieveably, she also kept working.

If ovarian cancer doesn't scare the shit out of you - it should. At this moment there is still no consistently reliable test to detect it. Hello?! What is wrong with this picture? So when you hear about a woman being diagnosed it's usually a death sentence. By the time many realize that something is "not right," they've hit Stage III. Which was the case with my coworker. She wasn't feeling well. She was losing weight. Her library staff essentially goaded her into seeing the doctor. Surgery was performed right way, the staff took turns taking her to chemo, she kept working.

We have a test for breast cancer. We have a test for colon cancer. We even have a test for cervical cancer - assuming you're not a dumbass and refuse to get an annual PAP. Yeah, I know PAPs aren't fun. I figure if I'm going to spread my legs and put my feet in stirrups I should be 1) half drunk and 2) having a really good time - but you know what? It has to be done. No PAP - no idea if you are cancer free. Also, a PAP usually comes with a matching pelvic exam - which can help your doctor determine if there is any abnormal swelling or tenderness around your ovaries. So get your damn PAP!

For more information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment click here. In the meantime, get your annual PAP and pelvic done.


Nicole said...

I get a pap and pelvic exam every year even though the docs now say you don't have to if everything's been fine before.

We have a friend who had cervical cancer that was detected early enough that she was treated and now cancer-free.

So I fully agree with you! People, get to your doctor. And for those women who are allowing self-esteem issues to avoid going, remember that your doctor has seen it all.

Cancer is so scary.

ReneeW said...

Excellent reminder for everyone. I do my annual exam without fail and only have to do the PAP every other year now. And don't forget your regular mammogram too! I hate getting my breasts squished but it's so important, ladies.

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Eerie...I am a regular reader of your blog but today's topic is so coincidental - yesterday I had a conical biopsy for pre-cancerous changes in the cervix - and I had had three paps in three years...only the last one showed any changes.

Thanks for talking about this.

Please urge your friends and loved ones to stay regular.

PS> I enjoy your blog.

Wendy said...

Hey! A new comment-leaver. I can just imagine how everybody lost their minds in Italy when they won the World Cup.

Anonymous said...

I have a don't be like me story for you. I went 10 years without a PAP thinking that since I wasn't having sex and my periods didn't give me any trouble except being an annoyance why bother? Then I ended up in the emergency room because an ovarian cyst I didn't know existed that was the size of a baseball had ruptured. Later testing also showed uterine fibroids and endometriosis and I had no idea anything was wrong!