“You have ovarian cancer.”
Those are words that are tough to hear. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 20,000 women in the U.S. hear that diagnosis each year. Most of them are over age 60. But the woman you’re about to meet was diagnosed very young in her 30’s. This is her story -- one of inspiration and triumph.
In 2004, Cindy Weiss’ doctor told her something no one wants to hear – she had ovarian cancer.
“It really wasn't the cancer diagnosis that caught me. It was the moment after he said you have stage 4 ovarian cancer and you need an immediate hysterectomy, radiation and chemotherapy, and I just went, hmm. So I don't have kids yet. I'm not married, and I have always wanted to be a mom,” Weiss said.
Cindy endured the treatment, and was cancer free for almost two years. Then Cindy says she just didn’t feel right. The cancer had come back.
“Ovarian cancer has been called the silent killer, and the reason for that is the initial symptoms, if you will, may be very vague and nonspecific,” said Dr. Matthew Robertson, MD, Mayo Clinic Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Dr. Matthew Robertson says because symptoms can be vague, abdominal bloating maybe a stomach ache, some women figure it’s something else and don’t get diagnosed until the cancer has spread. But the good news is that treatment keeps getting better.
Experts are learning more about what drives the progression of ovarian cancer and what leads to recurrences.
It’s been five years since Cindy’s second cancer diagnosis. She married her long-time boyfriend after her recurrence and they adopted a daughter, Charlotte.
Cindy, like most ovarian cancer patients, has to have tests done every three to six months to make sure she remains cancer free. She says it’s important for women to talk to their doctors, like she did, if they feel something is wrong.