HealthWatch: Ovarian cancer

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Green Bay (WFRV) September is ovarian cancer awareness month. More than 14-thousand people in the US will die from the disease this year.  Which is why you should know the signs.
 
More than 22-thousand women in the US will learn they have ovarian cancer this year.
 
 
Marlene Krueger and her husband, Jim, were on vacation, “And I felt fine we were having a ball,” said Marlene Krueger, ovarian cancer survivor.
 
But she did notice her stomach was bloated, “I thought- oh I was just eating too much,” explained Marlene.
 
When they returned home- Marlene was still bloated- but, “I stepped on the scale I lost weight,” said Marlene.
 
So Marlene went to her nurse practitioner who found a mass and sent her straight to Dr. Peter Johnson, director of gynecologic oncology at Aurora BayCare Medical Center for more tests.
 
“It’s ultrasounds initially and then we  further evaluate with a CT scan,” explained Dr. Peter Johnson, MD, director of gynecologic oncology, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.
 
Dr. Johnson was able to quickly diagnose Marlene with ovarian cancer.
 
“Just in shock I guess,” remembers Marlene.
 
Within a couple of days- Marlene was in surgery to remove the cancer, “A hysterectomy complete one, part of my stomach, part of my colon, my appendix, my spleen,” said Marlene. 
 
“If we can do surgery up front we do surgery, then we follow that with chemotherapy,” explained Dr. Johnson.
 
Marlene is still on an oral chemotherapy regimen, “At the present time her disease is stable the numbers have dropped way down to show there is very little active disease,” said Dr. Johnson.
 
Dr. Johnson says women should know the signs of ovarian cancer and see their doctor if they notice any, “Bloating every day or most every day for 3 weeks in a row.  Change in urinating habits, change in bowel habits daily almost daily for 3 weeks in a row. Abdominal pain that doesn’t resolve,” said Dr. Johnson.
 
Dr. Johnson says going to a gynecologic oncologist improves an ovarian cancer patient’s survival, “We have additional years of training on how to help women with gynecologic cancer. The benefit is you are going to live longer if you have surgery with a gynecologic oncologist,” said Dr. Johnson.
 
Marlene says Dr. Johnson saved her life, “Thank you for what he did he was wonderful, without him I wouldn’t be here, that I know.” 
 
And Marlene and Jim now have big plans for the future, “We do a lot of dancing, a lot of walking, we like to travel,” Marlene said happily.
 
Dr. Johnson says the biggest risk factor for ovarian cancer is heredity. Marlene’s mom and sister had ovarian cancer.
 
To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email healthwatch@aurorabaycare.com. 
 

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