Tying ribbons may not sound like anything particularly special in a world loaded with fun runs, walk-a-thons, golf outings, and extravagant events. But ovarian cancer has long been an under-the-radar disease, one that people rarely talk about. “That’s why I believe so strongly in the campaign,” said Veiga. “The ribbons are the visual. We want draw people’s attention to ovarian cancer,” she said.
For women who are fortunate enough to have their cancer found early, about 94 percent live longer than five years after diagnosis. Unfortunately, most cases are diagnosed in the later stages. “If you don’t get ovarian cancer diagnosed in the early stage, your odds of successful treatment aren’t as good," Veiga said. "It's heart-breaking."
Ovarian cancer symptoms are often not taken seriously because they are so similar to many common complaints. The signs of ovarian cancer include feeling bloated, abdominal or pelvic discomfort, nausea/gas/indigestion, frequent urination, back pain, fatigue and post-menopausal vaginal bleeding. If any of these signs are new and persist daily for more than two weeks, they could be an early warning of ovarian cancer and you should see a gynecologist or gynecologic oncologist.
“Looking back, I realize I did have some symptoms, but I didn’t know they might be connected to ovarian cancer,” Veiga says. “That’s why I do what I do and keep yakking about the importance of knowing the signs of the disease. I want everyone to be as lucky as I was.”
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