Adora Rodriguez was only 16 years old as soon as she arisen a feeling of heaviness in her lower abdomen, in addition to severe bloating.

You are watching: Early signs of ovarian cancer stories

“I to be like, ‘Mom, something isn’t right,’” Adora recalled. “My mother literally explained it as, ns ‘looked pregnant.’”

The feeling of heaviness in her ship was causing earlier pain and making it hard to sleep.

So, she went with her mother to one urgent treatment clinic, where medical care providers notified a pregnant test. Once it came back negative, they ordered one ultrasound exam.

“All they claimed was, it might possibly be severe constipation,” Adora told gendergeek.org.

After many tests and scans, Adora learned that she had a fixed in her abdomen.

A surgeon gotten rid of the mass later that week, in addition to Adora’s ideal ovary and also fallopian tube. Biopsies revealed it was a form of germ-cell ovarian cancer, well-known as dysgerminoma.

Adora is now two decades old and also studying to become a pediatric oncology nurse. In part ways, she to be lucky: The cancer to be found and also removed at an early stage when it was still at phase 1, before it might spread to various other organs.

“My surgeon and my oncology physician both said me, ‘If you waited, perhaps a week later, it’s feasible it would have actually spread,’” Adora said.


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Share on PinterestAdora with her mother. Image via Adora Rodriguez
In those who receive a diagnosis ~ the cancer has spread, the survival rates are lot lower.

But only around 20 percent of ovarian cancers room detected at very early stage. Most people who build ovarian cancer don’t learn they have actually it until after it’s already spread.

That’s because the symptom of ovarian cancer are often very subtle and also easy to miss.

The symptoms space also comparable to those of other conditions, raising the danger of misdiagnosis.

We speak to four women who have been diagnosed v ovarian cancer come learn much more about your diagnosis experiences and what advice they have actually for others.


According come Mariangela DiPietri, a 73-year-old ovarian cancer survivor, mom of three, and also grandmother that 10, learning around the symptom of ovarian cancer might prove lifesaving.

“I have actually been retirement from my project at Stanley foods as a business representative because that 7 year now,” Mariangela called gendergeek.org, “but ns remember the day ns was at a client restaurant throughout an appointment, when the excruciating ache in mine abdomen gained so bad I can hardly ask because that a glass of water.”

After lot of hospital visits and an initial misdiagnosis, Mariangela learned she had actually masses top top both ovaries. Those masses turned out to be phase 1 ovarian cancer.

Two months before then, Mariangela had actually attended a wellness conference through her daughter where she learned around ovarian cancer because that the very first time from women who had actually survived it.


Share on PinterestMariangela with one of her grandchildren in ~ a nationwide Ovarian Cancer Coalition event. Picture via Mariangela DiPietri

“I’m forever thankful because that the day ns attended the health event,” Mariangela said. “I can not stress enough the truth that awareness of symptom of ovarian cancer and also early diagnosis conserved my life.”

Looking back, Mariangela realizes that she had actually been living with subtle symptoms of the an illness for some time — including fatigue, bloating, back pain, and also bladder fullness.

Other potential symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

nauseabelly painabdominal swellingfeelings that fullnesstrouble eatingconstipationpain throughout sexirregular periods

Less 보다 2 year ago, Vesna, a 46-year-old mom of three and owner that a martial arts fitness studio, checked out her gynecologist to talk around a symptom that simply wouldn’t walk away: persistent abdominal bloating.

Vesna, who asked to go by her first name only for this story, had been offered to waking up v a flat stomach. Climate the bloating started, and also her stomach wasn’t level in the morning anymore. “It was sort of protruding out,” she said gendergeek.org.

Her gynecologist thought that she likely had a urinary tract infection.

But Vesna was particular that wasn’t it.

“I said, ‘Can you do an inner sonogram?’ and she said, ‘No, no, no,’” Vesna recalled, “and she proceeded come tell me the she to be going ~ above vacation with her kids, therefore she was picking them up from college in 20 minutes.”

Vesna left she gynecologist’s office feeling dismissed, without any kind of answers yet sure the something to be wrong.

When she drive by her primary treatment doctor’s office a few weeks later, she determined to make an instant visit. The receptionist told her the no medical professionals were available to check out her then, however something in Vesna propelled her come stay.

“I said, if ns don’t advocate right currently for myself, I recognize I’m going come let this go. So i pointed in ~ a chair — this is so unlike my personality — and said, ‘I’m going come sit best in that chair till somebody sees me,’” Vesna said.


Share top top PinterestImage via Vesna

“That was my turning point. That moment right there was what conserved my life,” she added.

A physician’s assistant i agree to offer Vesna one exam. After ~ palpating her abdomen, they sent her across the street for imaging tests.

Vesna learned that she had actually a cyst in her abdomen the size of a seedless watermelon.

When a surgeon gotten rid of the cyst, they discovered both phase 1 ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer inside.

Now Vesna urges others to listen to your bodies, support for the treatment they need, and also if they don’t feel confident in a diagnosis, gain a second opinion.

“No one, not also the best doctors in the world, knows her body like you know your body,” Vesna said, “and her body provides you signs by pain, by discomfort. Hear to it.”


An ovarian cancer diagnosis changes your life, Kristinna Abalos, a 30-year-old English teacher, writer, and survivor of stage 4 ovarian cancer, said gendergeek.org.

Kristinna’s advice for acquiring through the process? take it it at some point at a time.

“One that my great friends inquiry me, ‘Are you constantly going to explain yourself together a cancer patient?’ and I think what i learned through this is that looking at such a big time framework of ‘always’ is as well much,” Kristinna said.

“I have the right to only phone call you exactly how I feeling today. Tomorrow might be different, and also I think every day us wake up, we’re still simply going to be at today,” she continued.


Share ~ above PinterestKristinna Abalos. Picture via D’Marie PhotoStory

Kristinna learned that she had ovarian cancer around 4 years earlier during one emergency cesarean shipment of her son, Shiloh.

The cancer had actually spread to various other organs in her abdomen and also required comprehensive surgery and also chemotherapy to treat.

Support from loved ones assisted Kristinna cope through the obstacles she confronted along the way.

“My whole family, they were praying because that me. And also you know, ns come native a faithful family on both sides, mine husband’s side and my family’s side. For this reason they every prayed for me,” she recalled.

All the the survivors whom we spoke with talked about the prestige of community support, and also finding inner sources of resilience and also determination.

“There’s a fine line between feeling sorry because that yourself when you listen you have actually cancer and also crawling into a big, dark, deep space,” Vesna said.

“I got angry. All of that developed anger within of me, that provided me a warrior mentality, and also that warrior mentality walk something to me. Ns was up for the challenge,” she added.


Currently, there are no dependable screening tests for ovarian cancer.

That’s why that so crucial to salary close attention to your body.

If you build symptoms the ovarian cancer the persist for much more than 2 weeks, the nationwide Ovarian Cancer Coalition recommends making an appointment with your doctor.

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If you don’t think the your healthcare provider is taking your involves seriously or you’re not confident in the diagnosis or treatment plan they provide, get a second opinion.

“Because i listened to my body, i stood firm and also became my own advocate,” Vesna said. “I feel choose that’s what saved my life.”