Posted at: 10/02/2012 6:29 PM
By: Ellery McCardle
Medical Edge: Ovarian Cancer
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- This year, more than 20,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, that's according to the CDC.
It's tough news to hear, but despite the painful process, there are stories of survival worth noting.
Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year will be over age 60. But the woman you're about to meet was diagnosed very young, in her 30's.
"I just went, hmm. I don't have kids yet. I'm not married, and I have always wanted to be a mom," said Cindy Weiss.
Her hopes of having her own children someday were crushed back in 2004. That's when her 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," said Weiss.
She went through treatment and was cancer free for three years. But a while later, Cindy says she just didn't feel right. Turns out, 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, of Mayo Clinic.
He says because symptoms can be vague, abdominal blotting 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.
"We're learning more and more about what genetic aberrations, what faults drive the progression of cancer and lead to recurrences. The more we learn, we're identifying new targets. We can hopefully develop drugs to attack and continue to improve survival rates," said Robertson.
It's been five years since Cindy's second diagnosis. A huge milestone and, sure, she thinks about it.
"It happened once and it came back again. Will it come back a third time?" Said Weiss.
Now Cindy is cancer-free and her main focus is on life. A year after her second diagnosis she married her long-time boyfriend David, and shortly after that they adopted Charlotte. She's not allowing cancer to overshadow her life.
"I have my husband. I have my daughter. I have my family," said Weiss.
Cindy still has tests done every three to six months to make sure she stays cancer free. she says it's important for women to talk to their doctors, like she did, if they feel something is wrong.