To the editor: September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 21,410 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer this year and about about 13,770 women will die from ovarian cancer. In January, I was one of the 21,410 that received an ovarian cancer diagnosis. After my diagnosis, I made it my mission to bring awareness to the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

OC is considered “the silent killer” because usually by the time it’s diagnosed, the cancer is at an advanced stage. However, it’s not always a death sentence. There have been great strides made in treatment options in the last several years and there will be more in the years to come.

The following are some of the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer: bloating pelvic or abdominal pain/discomfort; vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea or indigestion; difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency); unexplained changes in bowel habits Unexplained weight gain/loss; ongoing unusual fatigue; back pain; menstrual changes; pain during intimacy. If these symptoms persist for 10 days to two weeks, please consult your gynecologist or primary care physician.

While there is no prescreening for ovarian cancer as there is for something like breast cancer or colon cancer, there are some tests that can be given such as ultrasounds and blood tests that could indicate there are problems. Be your own advocate. Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, talk to your doctor. It just might save your life.

Christine (Lein) Croughwell, Dalton