NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) – Every May 8 since 2013 has been set aside for World Ovarian Cancer Day, in an attempt to draw attention to a disease that kills more than 184,000 women every year.
For Kim Whitehouse, the day comes as she recovers from surgery and prepares to begin radiation therapy for her second battle with ovarian cancer.
“They found more cancer than we knew about,” she said. “But the good news is, is that’s not my body anymore.”
Whitehouse was able to have her procedure despite concerns the coronavirus pandemic might disrupt her treatment plan.
In addition to fighting the disease herself, Whitehouse is also a board member for She ROCKS, a nonprofit organization working to bring attention to the type of cancer in southeastern North Carolina.
Ovarian cancer is often referred to as one of the deadliest forms of the disease — it has the lowest survival rate of cancers in women — because its symptoms are easily written-off because they resemble problems women have month to month, and early-intervention is important, but in many cases doesn’t happen.
“Early detection is so key, but we don’t have a reliable screening method, like we have mammograms with breast cancer, we have pap smears with cervical cancer, we don’t have a reliable method for ovarian cancer,” she said.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer include: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, painful urination, painful intercourse, fatigue, back pain or feeling full quickly when eating.
“I know that when I say these symptoms, every woman’s gonna be like, ‘Yeah, I literally feel that way, like, often but the key is It should be out of the norm and it should persist for two weeks is usually the the time that we suggest that women go see their gynecologist and bring those symptoms to their attention,” Whitehouse said.
In addition to raising awareness, She ROCKS funds a variety of efforts to combat the disease and support those going through it, including donating chemotherapy chairs to New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Zimmer Cancer Center — one of which Whitehouse has spent many hours in herself.
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