Activist Letter

Ovarian cancer is 'disease that whispers'

Aug 29, 2001

To the editor:

Thank you so much for your article of Friday, Aug. 17. The article details the efforts of Michael Rodger to bring awareness for ovarian cancer through his 'Miles for Meagan' bike ride from Ottawa to Toronto from Sept. 17 and stopping in Oshawa on Sept. 23.

Some of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are: abdominal bloating/swelling, pelvic pain, gas, backache, excessive fatigue which cannot be relieved by rest, weight loss/weight gain, change in bowel/bladder habits, constipation/frequent urination, vaginal bleeding. Loss of appetite can come as a result of symptoms.

It will surprise no one who has been touched by ovarian cancer that it is called the 'Disease that whispers' for the simple fact it is very difficult to diagnose. There are no effective screening tools for ovarian cancer such as the PSA in prostate cancer or mammograms in breast cancer. If your doctor suspects ovarian cancer a vaginal/rectal exam, CA 125 test, transvaginal and/or abdominal/pelvic ultrasound may be indicated.

Seventy-five percent of ovarian cancer diagnoses are made in late stages where the 5-year survival rate is approximately 20 per cent and overall annual mortality rate for ovarian cancer (per Stats Canada 2000) is 60 per cent.

It is also a misconception ovarian cancer is a cancer only of the 'older woman.' In fact, Meagan Rodger's demise at the age of 18 to this disease tells us otherwise.

Thank you for allowing me to provide further awareness of this relatively unknown yet insidious cancer. One life might just be saved and it could be that of your daughter, sister, mother or grandmother.

Sandi Pniauskas Whitby

Published on line

Toronto Star article on Sandi Pniauskas

Canadian activist

Canadian Activist Sandi P. joins Cochrane Collaboration

Durham News (Canada) 3/14/03

Canadian Advocate Awarded "Spirit of Survivorship"

Ovarian Cancer National Alliance October 2004

Canadian Advocacy Issues

Sandi Pisnauski, Ovarian cancer patient and advocate, 5/02

Canadian Activist, Ontario on Health Issues

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