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Survivor shares her early warning signs of ovarian cancer

The early warning signs of ovarian cancer are often extremely subtle, which is why most women aren’t diagnosed until the disease has advanced to stage III or IV. Kimara Mason, who was diagnosed with stage I ovarian cancer in March 2014, experienced symptoms that didn’t feel right, but ended up saving her life.

“I started feeling pressure on the right side of my stomach,” says Mason. “It felt like really bad gas.”

When the symptoms didn’t go away after three days, Mason made an appointment to see her doctor.

“She was listening to my stomach with a stethoscope and said, ‘I’m not hearing any bowel sounds from your stomach. You need to go to the emergency room,’” remembers Mason.

Mason’s ovarian cancer diagnosis

At the hospital, X-rays detected a tumor in her abdomen the size of a loaf of bread. The good news was the cancer was only stage I.

“We were able to get it before it could spread,” she says.

Gynecologic oncologist John McBroom, M.D., performed Mason’s surgery, and then gave her two weeks off to recover before they discussed chemotherapy.

“Dr. McBroom is someone I’m very glad to have had as my doctor,” says Mason. “He has a very wry sense of humor. He makes me very comfortable. It’s actually a joy to see him on those Tuesdays before my infusions. He’s made this whole process easier for me.”

Her message to other women

Mason’s message to other women: Don’t ignore your symptoms if they persist for more than a few days.

Ovarian cancer is something that can happen to any female. It does not discriminate. Early detection is essential,” she says. “If you feel something is going wrong with your stomach, don’t just dismiss it as something you can cure on your own, especially if it goes on for a few days.”

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

Symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

She also advises forming a strong support system and healthcare team.

“The most important thing in dealing with ovarian cancer is the fact that you can get through it with the right type of support.”  

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