Last September I was eagerly awaiting my surgery date to have a large 20cm ovarian mass removed along with the attached ovary and fallopian tube. Little did I know at the time that there was actually some cancer brewing up in that ovary and my life would be turned on its head as soon as the pathology report came back 6 weeks after my surgery.
This is when I first heard of the word “Mucinous” - which is actually pronounced “Mew-sin-us” and lord knows it took me forever to nail that pronunciation. Essentially it means: relating to, resembling, or containing mucus.
Mucinous ovarian cancer is a rare type that makes up only 3% of all ovarian cancers and acts completely different than its counterparts including its perceived resistance to traditional ovarian cancer chemotherapies. Thus, very little is known about this specific type and a lot of the questions that I had with my initial diagnosis have still gone unanswered simply because there has not been adequate research done and very few solid conclusions have been reached about its behaviour, reoccurrence rates, or origin.
In the end, since the cancer was thought to be caught in an early enough stage my oncologist decided that it is most likely that all the cancer cells had been removed with the initial surgery and that the risks of putting me through pre-mature surgical menopause via removing the other ovary or chemotherapy outweighed the risks of any rogue cancer cells still hanging around. I still count my blessings every.damn.day because I am part of a mere 15% of women who are lucky enough to have their ovarian cancer caught in Stage 1. One out of every two women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer won’t make it past 5 years after diagnosis because it is often “too late” - which is CRAZY.
This is why I am participating in this #WalkOfHope - in attempts to help Ovarian Cancer Canada continue their extensive movement in funding research iniatives, raising awareness, and supporting my Teal Sisters who have been affected by this silly disease.
As announced in the 2019 Federal budget, Ovarian Cancer Canada will be receiving $10 million over 5 years to help address existing gaps in knowledge about effective prevention, screening, and treatment options for ovarian cancer. This is monumental for the fate of ovarian cancer research, however, this is a drop in the bucket with what needs to be done for ovarian cancer to reach the same awareness and medical screening levels as breast or cervical cancer. Not all women’s cancer is pink. Let’s keep the momentum going and get ovarian cancer the awareness it deserves.