VERY IMPORTANT HEALTH INFORMATION FOR WOMEN!
This is Kathy's Story.
As all of you know, I have Primary Peritoneal Cancer. This cancer
hasonly recently been identified as its OWN type of cancer; but it
is,essentially, Ovarian Cancer. Both types of cancer are diagnosed in
the same way (with the "tumor marker" CA-125 blood test), and they
aretreated in the same way (surgery to remove the primary tumor and
then chemotherapy with Taxol and Carboplatin). Having gone through this
ordeal, I want to save others from the same fate. That is why I am
sending this message to you and hope you will print it and give it
orsend it via e-mail to everybody you know.
One thing I have learned is that each of us must take TOTAL
responsibility for our own health care. I thought I had done that
because I always had an annual physical, had my annual mammogram and
PAP smear, did monthly Self-Breast Exam, went to the dentist at least
twice/year, etc. I even insisted on a sigmoidoscopy and a bone density
test last year.
When I had a total hysterectomy in 1993, I thought that I did not Have
to worry about getting any of the female reproductive organ cancers.
LITTLE DID I KNOW! I don't have ovaries (and they were HEALTHY when
they were removed!), but I have what is essentially ovarian cancer.
Strange, isn't it? These are just SOME of the things our Doctors never
tell us. ONE out of every 55 women will get OVARIAN or PRIMARY
PERITONEAL CANCER! The "CLASSIC" symptoms are an ABDOMEN that rather
SUDDENLY ENLARGES and CONSTIPATION and/or DIARRHEA.
I had these classic symptoms and went to the Doctor. Because these
symptoms seemed to be "abdominal," I went to a gastroenterologist. He
ran tests that were designed to determine whether there was a bacterial
infection; these tests were negative, and I was diagnosed with
"Irritable Bowel Syndrome." I guess I would have accepted this
diagnosis had it not been for my enlarged abdomen. I swear to you, it
looked like I was 4-5 months pregnant! I, therefore, insisted on more
tests. They took an X-Ray of my abdomen; it was negative. I was, again,
assured that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and was encouraged to go on
my scheduled month-long trip to Europe. I couldn't wear any of my
slacks or shorts because I couldn't get them buttoned, and I KNEW
something was radically wrong.
I INSISTED on more tests, and they (reluctantly) scheduled me for a
CT-Scan (just to shut me up, I think). This is what I mean by taking
charge of our own health care. The CT-Scan showed a lot of fluid in my
abdomen (NOT normal!). Needless to say, I had to cancel my trip and
have FIVE POUNDS of fluid drawn off at the hospital (not a pleasant
procedure, I assure you, but NOTHING compared to what was ahead of me).
Tests revealed cancer cells in the fluid.
Finally, finally, finally, the Doctor ran a CA-125 blood test and I was
I HAD THE CLASSIC SYMPTOMS FOR OVARIAN CANCER AND YET THIS SIMPLE
CA-125 BLOOD TEST HAD NEVER BEEN RUN ON ME... NOT AS PART OF MY ANNUAL
PHYSICAL EXAM AND NOT WHEN I WAS SYMPTOMATIC. THIS IS AN INXPENSIVE AND
SIMPLE BLOOD TEST!!!
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE TELL ALL YOUR FEMALE FRIENDS AND RELATIVES TO
INSIST ON A CA-125 BLOOD TEST EVERY YEAR AS PART OF THEIR ANNUAL
PHYSICAL EXAMS. BE FOREWARNED THAT THEIR DOCTORS MIGHT TRY TO TALK THEM
OUT OF IT, SAYING "IT ISN'T NECESSARY." BELIEVE ME, HAD I KNOWN THEN
WHAT I KNOW NOW, WE WOULD HAVE CAUGHT MY CANCER MUCH EARLIER (BEFORE IT
WAS A STAGE 3 CANCER)!!!
INSIST ON THE CA-125 BLOOD TEST; DON'T TAKE "NO" FOR AN ANSWER. THE
NORMAL RANGE FOR A CA-125 BLOOD TEST IS BETWEEN ZERO AND 35. MINEWAS
754 (THAT'S RIGHT, 754!) IF THE NUMBER IS SLIGHTLY ABOVE, YOU CAN HAVE
ANOTHER ONE DONE IN 3 OR 6 MONTHS AND KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON IT JUST LIKE
WOMEN DO WHEN THEY HAVE FIBROID TUMORS OR WHEN MEN HAVE A SLIGHTLY
ELEVATED PSA TEST (PROSTATE SPECIFIC ANTIGENS) THAT HELPS DIAGNOSE
PROSTATE CANCER. HAVING THE CA-125 TEST DONE ANNUALLY AN ALERT YOU
EARLY, AND THAT'S THE GOAL IN DIAGNOSING ANY TYPE OF CANCER & CATCH IT
I hope I haven't bored you with all of this. But I hope I HAVE scared
you enough to motivate you to action. Do YOU know 55 women? If so, at
least one of them will have this VERY AGGRESSIVE cancer - and maybe,
just maybe, it will be YOU. I hope not.
Please, go to your Doctor THIS WEEK and insist on a CA-125 test and
have one EVERY YEAR for the rest of your life. And forward this message
to every woman you know and tell all of your female family members and
friends. As the Nike ads say, "JUST DO IT!" Please don't think youth
will protect you, either. Though the median age for this cancer is 56
(and, guess what, I'm exactly 56), women as young as 22 have it. Age is
not a factor.
I have a co-worker whose mother did not survive this cancer. She
repeatedly requested a CA-125 blood when her troubles first started.
But like the lady in this e-mail, her dr. refused, saying that it was
something else besides her ovaries. Don't look at this as a morbid
subject. Consider this as a wake-up call for our health. If Susan G.
Komen's sister had not been so persistent, we would not have mammogram.
Well, after these two incidences, I made some calls. I found that the
CA-125 test is an ovarian screening test equivalent to a man's PSA test
prostate screening (which Ron's dr. automatically gives him in his
physical each year and insurance pays for). I called my general
practitioner's office about having the test done. The nurse had never
heard of it. She told me that she doubted that insurance would pay for
it. So I called Prudential Ins. Co., and got the same response. Never
heard of it - it won't be covered. I explained that it was the same as
the PSA test that they had paid for my husband for years. After
conferring with whoever they confer with, she told me that the CA-125
test would be covered. So I am having this blood test this Friday. For
those of you that still have these parts, go have the test taken. It is
$75 in a GP's office and $125 at the GYN's. This a screening test that
should be required just like a pap smear. (A pap smear cannot detect
problems with your ovaries). And you must insist that your insurance
company pay for it. Like the lady said, we must take care of our own
health. Who knows your body better than you.
This is what Gilda Radner had (Saturday Night Live..remember?) Gene
Wilder and Pierce Brosnan (his wife had it, too) are lobbying for
women's health issues saying that this test should be require in our
physicals just like the pap and the mammogram. (MadelynKahn died of the
disease in 1999 too.)
Pass this information along to every woman you know. I am making lots
and lots of copies for all the ladies at work. We need to take care of
Thank you for your time and my best wishes for continued good health.
Do You Yahoo!?
Send instant messages & get email alerts with Yahoo! Messenger.