GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — According to Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA), every 40 hours a Coloradoan woman dies of ovarian cancer. The deadly disease usually goes undetected in early stages, so about 75% of women are diagnosed while in stage 3 or 4 ovarian cancer, and with such a poor prognosis, more must be done to spread awareness. For instance, having an entire month dedicated to it, and in fact, September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
For so many years ovarian cancer was known as the silent killer. It can affect women of all ages, and there is no test for it, so getting a diagnosis can be difficult. Fortunately, one Colorado woman, Jeanene Smith, caught her cancer quickly.
Smith was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in her early 40s. She said for awhile she did not feel right. She was constipated and bloated, so Smith visited an oncologist who found a mass the size of a basketball on her ovaries. Her doctor recommended surgery to remove the mass, and after a few tests, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
According to Ovarian Cancer Research, most women who are diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer have a 5 year survival rate of approximately 17%. Therefore, doctors tend to aggressively treat the disease. Smith had a very difficult surgery and completed several rounds of chemotherapy to fight her cancer.
Smith is now 21 years cancer free, but everyday she still experiences the lasting effects. She says, “I feel a little older than I think I should, and I wasn’t able to have children, and I hadn’t had children, and that happens.”
In addition, Smith says her cancer has made her more resilient, and she now spends her days helping other women who are fighting ovarian cancer. Smith works for the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance. It is a nonprofit organization that supports women fighting the deadly disease.
KREX 5 News / FOX 4 is showing our support towards fighting ovarian cancer by wearing teal.
KREX 5 News / FOX 4 will have more stories about ovarian cancer awareness on tomorrow’s broadcast.