Mercy Gynecologic Oncologist Dr. Neil B. Rosenshein Discusses the Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed every year with ovarian cancer. It is a disease with symptoms that can be mistaken for something else. However, there are warning signs that can help you detect the disease earlier.
Ellen Mogol understands how important those warning signs can be.
Mogol met Mercy gynecologic oncologist Dr. Neil Rosenshein for the first time 15 years ago for what she thought would be a routine gynecological visit. But Dr. Rosenshein felt something during the pelvic exam, and it was very serious.
"I started shaking," Mogol said. "He said go for a sonogram at the end of the week."
Ellen had stage 1 ovarian cancer. Within a few weeks, she had a hysterectomy and then chemotherapy. Looking back, there was only one easy-to-dismiss symptom.
"There was an urgency to go to the bathroom before a movie and after a movie, which was not usual for me," Mogol said. "I was 50 years old and everyone else I knew that was 50 years old was doing the same thing. So unless you are a hypochondriac, why would you think you have cancer?"
According to Dr. Rosenshein, the symptoms for ovarian cancer are very non-specific and are not very targeted.
"Unfortunately the vast majority of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed in late stage 3," said Dr. Rosenshein, who estimated that was the case 85 percent of the time.
Dr. Rosenshein listed the following warning signs:
- Urinary frequency or urgency
- Feeling full quickly after eating
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Pelvic pain
- Abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding
- Back pain
- Painful sex
- Weight loss
- Changes in menstruation
"In this particular case, we were very fortunate and found an early cancer," Dr. Rosenshein said. "It was surprising to me, but she knew what she felt, her symptoms and her overall well-being and just pushed the issue."
Now, Mogol cares for other ovarian cancer patients as she started a support group at Mercy. She feels it is what she was meant to do with her second chance at life.
"If it's not normal for you, go have it checked out and don't feel like a hypochondriac," she said. "We women take care of everyone else first and we need to take care of ourselves, too."
Dr. Rosenshein and his colleagues see patients in The Lya Segall Ovarian Cancer Institute at Mercy.
View Dr. Rosenshein’s interview regarding ovarian cancer warning signs.
Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.