WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — WWAY and Dr. Oz want you to be aware of your health. That’s why we are wearing teal ribbons to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.
The disease, commonly referred to as “the silent cancer” is rare, but it can be deadly because it is so hard to detect.
“For every three women that are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, two of them are going to die,” said Dr. Lucy Beth Nieves, an oncologist at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. “For that reason, we want the general public to be aware.”
There is no screening test for ovarian cancer. That is why doctors say they usually don’t catch the cancer until it has advanced to stage three of four.
Dr. Nieves says it is important to be aware of the symptoms, like bloating and a sore abdomen, but it can be hard to pinpoint the causes.
“It’s not like other conditions like cervical cancer that we do pap smears or breast cancer that we do mammograms,” she said. “With this type of disease, without screening tests, we need to count on patients’ symptoms, and the symptoms can be very vague.”
Nieves says they are making progress right here in Wilmington by conducting clinical trials to help women fighting ovarian cancer. She says these trials are beneficial to patients in the Cape Fear, because they can stay close to home and still get help.
“They will receive the same treatment here than if they go to the Cleveland Clinic or they go to New York,” Nieves said. “So sometimes it will be easier for the patient to stay local and receive the treatments here.”
The number one advice that doctors can give is be aware of your own body and if you feel that anything is wrong, visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Experts say do not panic if you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with ovarian cancer, because they could be linked to other issues.