Ovarian cancer may be a disease that strikes more often in a woman’s 50s and 60s, but experts say it’s important to be aware of the symptoms in your 20s and 30s so you will be tipped off when something’s wrong. (GIF: Getty Images/Priscilla De Castro for Yahoo Health)
In the 40 years since the “War on Cancer” began, the number of deaths from ovarian cancer has dropped very little. While five-year survival rates for breast cancer stand at almost 90 percent, the odds of surviving ovarian cancer five years after diagnosis are just half that, roughly 45 percent. We’re still lacking an early-detection test for the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers, which seems to progress rapidly and carry only vague symptoms.
However, many women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are not blindsided by it. For months sometimes, they remember feeling “off.” But in the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easier to ignore symptoms that seem shadowy and evasive, until they become firm and concrete.
“I was probably sick for two years, but I brushed it off — and that’s what bothers me most,” says survivor Jenn Sommermann, now 50, who was diagnosed in 2007 at age 41. “They’ve long said ovarian cancer is the silent killer. Now, we’re saying it’s the cancer that whispers.”
Although the hallmark symptoms of the cancer can be vague, research has shown there are four key early symptoms of ovarian cancer: bloating, urinary changes, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and pelvic or abdominal pain. While symptoms are not identical for each person because cancers grow differently in everyone, experts say, the biggest tip-off with these is that they don’t go away. Even though most women who develop the disease will be over age 50 (the average age of diagnosis is 61), it’s important to understand your own bodily norms even when you’re in your 20s and 30s — like the length and duration of symptoms, the way you bloat, when in your cycle you feel most tired — so you can know when something changes.
Here, women who have had ovarian cancer share what the signs felt like, before they ever knew they had it.
At first, Sommermann didn’t think much of her bloating — even though she’d gone through early menopause, the discomfort was still common. “Even afterward, you still cycle,” she explains. But one morning, Sommermann remembers noticing the look of her stomach while lying on her back in bed. “I told my husband, ‘My belly doesn’t even lay flat anymore. It’s still popped out,’” she says. “I just thought, This is not my body. That’s when I started pressing on my stomach and felt a mass.”
Fast-forward 72 hours, and Sommermann had been diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer and undergone a full hysterectomy. Although she assumed the eggplant-size tumor that doctors found was on the left side, where she’d initially felt something awry, the mass was actually on the right. “All the organs had been pushed to the left side to make room for the tumor,” she explains.
Mary Schwarzenberger, 62, felt bloating and other symptoms slowly take shape this past winter. She initially dismissed them. “I’m not the type to run to the doctor, because I’ve always been very healthy,” she says. “To me, it just felt like bloating — but I probably should have known. I was doing ab work and sit-ups at the time like a maniac, and it wasn’t going away. I just attributed it to getting older.”
Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
At the same time, Schwarzenberger had little want for food — even though, all her life, she’d been a good eater. “Normally, I’d eat a ton,” she explains. “But over the course of the winter before I was diagnosed, I’d eat and get full really quickly. This was somewhat strange, because it was winter, where I tend to be less active and eat more comfort foods.”
During those few months, as Schwarzenberger was feeling full and losing her characteristic appetite, she also dropped 20 pounds with very little effort. “I should have known sooner, since I was taking the weight right off,” she explains.
Urinary frequency or urgency
On April 2, Schwarzenberger saw her general practitioner for urinary symptoms. Initially thinking frequency and urgency issues were a byproduct of the aging process, she eventually thought she might have a urinary-tract infection.
Upon examination, her GP felt an enlarged ovary. “He arranged to get me in at the hospital immediately to have an ultrasound,” Schwarzenberger says. That enlarged ovary was a sign of stage 1B ovarian cancer. On April 15, she had a hysterectomy at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
Sommermann says she noticed something odd just days before her diagnosis: She started waking up in the middle of the night to urinate regularly, where she’d previously rarely felt the urge to go at all. “At the time, I’d thought maybe I was drinking too much before bed,” she says. “I’d been trying to hydrate more often, so I thought maybe I needed to stop drinking water around 7 p.m. instead of later on.” The reality: The growing tumor was pressing against her bladder.
Pelvic or abdominal pain
The tumor wasn’t only causing problems for Sommermann’s bladder, but also for her entire digestive system. She was experiencing upset stomach and indigestion late at night, which she couldn’t seem to shake. “I was on the little purple pill,” she says, referring to NEXIUM, used for acid reflux. But it wasn’t helping.
Schwarzenberger also says she was beginning to have digestive issues, as well, experiencing frequent stomachaches — another symptom of life in your 60s, she was still convinced.
Individually, each sign of ovarian cancer may not seem earth-shattering. But when added up, the subtleties spell trouble — and can take their toll. Sommermann says she felt intense fatigue before diagnosis, another symptom some women report experiencing, along with back pain, pain with sexual intercourse, constipation, and menstrual abnormalities. “I couldn’t sleep the tiredness away,” she says. “I’d sleep for 12 hours on the weekend, and wake up thinking, ‘I still need more rest.’”
Luckily, Sommermann took action the moment she felt that bulge in her stomach, even though she was rather young and otherwise healthy. She had recently taken up triathlons, which she credits with helping to save her life. “I had become really aware of my own body,” she explains. “That’s what drove me to press for a diagnosis.”
The telltale sign
For most, ovarian cancer is not silent. Above all else, perhaps the telltale sign of the disease is simply that gut feeling that something is wrong inside your body. “With all the symptoms happening in succession, deep down, I just knew,” Schwarzenberger says. “I attributed it to getting older at the time, but that little voice inside me always knew.”
You have to know your body’s norms. Sommermann says if your body begins to deviate from those baselines and doesn’t change back, you need to tell your doctor as soon as possible. “Every woman knows what’s normal for her own body,” she says. “For instance, you know how much your weight fluctuates in a month, how much you gain or lose with your cycle.” If it dips or soars two months in a row, she says, something may be up. Don’t wait until you’re sure there’s a major problem to ask for tests.”
Sommermann was treated by Stephanie Blank, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, while Schwarzenberger was treated by Stephen C. Rubin, MD, chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
Both docs stress the need to stay on top of symptoms. “Ovarian cancer is a fast-growing disease,” Rubin tells Yahoo Health. “Someone who gets checked and appears to be normal four to six months earlier can come in again and have advanced-stage cancer.”
Here’s how to be vigilant, and what to do if diagnosed.
Ask for a transvaginal ultrasound. Getting a regular check from your gynecologist isn’t enough. “A Pap smear has nothing to do with ovarian cancer,” Blank tells Yahoo Health. “A Pap smear checks for cervical cancer.” While a doc might be able to feel a mass or enlargement on exam, a transvaginal ultrasound is your best bet — a test you can ask for if you suspect something is up. Depending on which doctor you’re seeing, Blank says a primary-care physician may be less familiar with this form of imaging.
Know your risk. If you have risk factors for ovarian cancer, like a family history or mutation of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, it’s wise to be even more aware of signs and symptoms. Although there are no formal recommendations about ovarian cancer screening, high-risk women can ask their doctors about a blood test that measures levels of CA-125, a protein secreted by ovarian cancer cells. Since this number is elevated in 80 percent of ovarian cancer cases, it might be a good idea to know your baseline at a young age.
Get a gynecologic oncologist. If you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, find a specialist to handle your care if possible. Although some regions don’t have many, a gynecologic oncologist is your best bet. “Research does show survival rates increase when patients have a gynecologic oncologist,” Blank says. “It’s more comprehensive care, the doctor has years more training, and it really is a tight-knit, long-term relationship.”
Listen to your gut. Doctors and patients can’t stress this enough: Don’t bat away symptoms because you’re busy and they seem manageable. If a change in your body persists, or you develop a quirk that is unusual for your body, see a gynecologist right away. “You have to live,” Blank says. “You can’t run to the doctor every time you have a symptom like bloating, or you’d be there all the time — this is about a shift that lasts over time. If a woman is telling her concerns to a doctor and not getting the response she wants, she should talk to another doctor. You have to be your own advocate.”
It’s the stuff of nightmares. You’ve been having random, intense headaches for months, for no apparent reason. You finally turn to your doctor for answers. And their answer is…
A parasite. And not just a single parasite. EIGHT tapeworm eggs lodged firmly in your brain, surviving off your blood supply and beginning to grow.
That’s exactly what happened to 31-year-old Yadira Rostro, a woman from Garland, Texas. After suffering with headaches and loss of vision, Rostro went to the hospital – only to be informed sacs of larvae from tapeworm eggs had begun to grow inside her brain.
The parasites were likely picked up on a holiday two years ago, where Rostro may have ingested food contaminated with fecal matter containing a tapeworm or an egg (a common way for tapeworms to transfer between hosts). Tapeworms normally pass through the body in a reasonably harmless manner, but occasionally the worm can travel to different parts of the body via the bloodstream and end up lodged somewhere you really don’t want them.
The eggs have since been removed and Rostro is expected to make a full recovery.
You, too, can have an action-hero six-pack—but only if you want it bad enough.
When any new action film comes out, men start asking how the guys got into that great of shape. The women will ask: “How did Linda Hamilton get her arms?” The answer is the same for both discussions: Discipline.
Discipline for what, specifically? Mark Twight, the owner of Gym Jones in Salt Lake City, Utah, has three requirements. You can’t beat his track record of success, given that he and his colleagues trained the cast of the orginal 300 movie, last year’s 300: Rise of the Empire, and also Henry Cavill for the role of Superman in Man of Steel. Here’s what Twight asks of his clients:
1. Sleep 10 hours a night.
2. Eat 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day.
3. Train as hard as you can in the time available (up to three hours a day for some!).
It looks easy on paper. But survey that list and honestly note what you can’t—or won’t—do. Sleeping that much is going to cut into your “must-see” television watching, goofing on the Internet, and sitting in traffic. It’s hard to fit a six-pack of beer, some cake, and some pizza into 1800 calories a day. And, that third one, “train as hard as you can,” demands a level of discipline few people own. (Just looking to get rid of your belly fat? The Lose Your Spare Tire Program is designed to help you lose 20, 30, even 50 pounds and flatten your stomach forever!)
Not long ago, a friend of mine from Los Angeles marveled at how a former client, a female actress, looked so good in a movie. He used to work for her and he said: “They must have had two full-time people stopping her from stuffing crap in her mouth.”
If you have a whole posse of people who cook for you, serve you, train you, and keep crap out of your mouth, you don’t have discipline; you have a lot of money. Trainers have a special place in their heart for the guys and gals who haven’t made it yet in the business, but show up and give it all each and every session.
When Hollywood turns to performance professionals for a “look,” many turn to the wisdom of the late Vince Gironda, who trained stars from Michael Landon to Marty Feldman. He correctly figured that if you gain an inch to your shoulders and lost an inch off your waist, you look as good as if you gained two inches on your shoulders or just lost two inches off your waist. This is the look we are after on the big screen.
Adherence to Twight’s three principles can lop a pound a day off you, and they will build muscle. For the movie, 300, one of the actors picked up his wife at the airport after a month of training and she didn’t recognize him. That is what happens when you stick to the plan. If you decide to party all weekend, you blow away your progress and start from scratch again on Monday.
It’s a circle: To train this hard with this little amount of food, you have to sleep. If you ignore the sleep a few days, you won’t train hard enough. Lack of sleep often leads to poor food choices and poor food choices lead to more calories and, usually, worse food options. It’s not a single item that makes the difference; it’s the discipline to follow all three principles of sleep, caloric restriction, and training. In fact, it’s literally all three or none if you want to look like a superhero.
Use of these supplements is associated with testicular cancer risk, according to a new study.
Regular use of muscle-building supplements pills and powders is associated with a higher risk of testicular cancer, a new study suggests.
The findings, published in the British Journal of Cancer, show that using muscle-building supplements (particularly pills and powders containing creatine or androstenedione) at or before age 25, using more than one kind of supplement, and using the supplements for three or more years were all associated with an increased risk of testicular germ cell cancer.
“While this is the first analytical epidemiological study to link [muscle-building supplements] to human cancer risk, bodybuilding supplements have long been linked to other human health issues,” study researcher Tongzhang Zheng, MB, ScD, a professor of epidemiology at Brown University who conducted the research while at Yale University, tells Yahoo Health.
“It is hard at this stage to attribute this risk to specific listed substances,” he adds. “We must be aware that [muscle-building supplements] also contains undisclosed compounds. Some supplement ingredients may damage the testes.”
The study included interviews with nearly 900 men; 356 were diagnosed with testicular germ cell cancer, and 513 were not diagnosed with the cancer. The researchers asked them details about a number of testicular cancer risk factors, such as family history, exercise habits, smoking status, injury to testes or groin, and their drinking habits. They also collected demographic information such as age and race, and information on “use” (which was defined as consuming one or more supplements a week for four or more weeks in a row, or more) of muscle-building supplements.
Researchers found that use of the muscle-building supplements was linked with higher odds of testicular cancer diagnosis. For instance, men who who began using the supplements at or before age 25 had a 2.21 increased odds of testicular germ cell cancer.
And men who used more than one kind of supplement had a 2.77 increased odds (or 177 percent higher risk), and men who used the supplements for three or more years had a 2.56 increased odds (or 65 percent higher risk) of testicular cancer, the researchers found.
Zheng notes that “this is the first analytical epidemiological study to assess the relationship,” and that more studies of its kind of are needed. The study only shows a link, and does not prove that taking the supplements causes testicular cancer.
However, “I am sure if future studies also support the link as we reported here, there will be the new debate whether [muscle-building supplements] should be regulated or not,” he says.
No need to bust out a magnifying glass: The key to spotting colon trouble is “knowing your bowel habits,” says Felice Schnoll-Sussman, M.D. Internalize this symptom primer, and call your doctor if anything new and unusual sticks around for several weeks.
Bright-red blood in the toilet bowl or on your TP post-pooping. It could indicate a small anal tear or a typically harmless hemorrhoid. Probably Not
Darker blood (think maroon or almost black) that’s intertwined with stool might signal colon bleeding.
A stretch—even a week or two—of constipation or straining. Yes, we mean pushing like a pro with little to show for it. Hint: You might be dehydrated. Probably Not
Out-of-nowhere or prolonged constipation (longer than a month), together with narrow or pencil-like stools, which could mean a roadblock in the colon.
Cramping or bloating that makes it hard to button your jeans. Probably Not
Daily pain fierce enough to interrupt your sleep or force you to change your routine. Whether it’s cancer-caused or not, see your M.D., stat.
Pain may start as a minor tweak or a twinge. At first it may hurt only when you move a certain way, but it soon morphs into a chronic pain. From knees to shoulders to elbows to ankles and every other body part, an active lifestyle makes it likely that you’ll experience inexplicable aches or pains.
Figuring out when it’s safe to work through the pain or when to stop and see a doctor can be difficult. “Pain is a protective mechanism to avoid damage,” says Steven Gausewitz, M.D., chief of staff at Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, California. “Whenever you have substantial pain, it’s a sign you’re doing too much or doing it too fast.” We’ve compiled the most common workout pains and explained how to tell the difference between those you can work through and those that may be damaging.
1. Mid-Back and Upper-Back Pain Lifting weights and feeling a twinge between your shoulder blades may simply be a sign of bad lifting technique. Lifting too quickly can also cause a tweak of the spine, says Dr. Gausewitz, “although sometimes neck problems create referred pain to the shoulder blades.” Be sure you’re using the correct weight to allow you to perform your repetitions with proper form.
SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: See an orthopedic sports doctor if you experience sharp, stabbing pain or have difficulty breathing, says David Geier, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in Charleston, South Carolina. “It could suggest a more serious condition, such as a thoracic herniated disc.” In some cases, pain between your shoulder blades may be a sign of a heart attack. If you’ve never experienced this sensation and it is accompanied by chest pain and breathlessness, call 911 immediately.
2. Knee Pain Knee pain can occur suddenly or begin as a crunchy sound and turn into a chronic ache that hurts while climbing stairs. “For the most part, knee injuries are rarely an emergency unless you’re lifting heavy weight and tear something,” says Dr. Gausewitz. Pain while walking down stairs, for example, is often due to patellofemoral problems, during which you feel discomfort behind the kneecap and a grating sound in the knee if the leg is extended straight. You can work through it by avoiding exercises that trigger the pain (such as lunges and deep squats) and modifying exercises such as squats by squatting only within a pain-free range of motion.
SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: Hearing a pop at the time of the injury, significant swelling within the knee or buckling or locking of the knee can indicate a serious injury and should be checked by a sports-medicine doctor, says Dr. Geier. “These symptoms indicate a possible torn ligament or meniscus tear.”
3. Shoulder Pain If you feel pain in your shoulder or a sudden heavy catch or snap while lifting something overhead, you may have strained or injured the rotator cuff muscles responsible for stabilizing the shoulder. “It may start out as a simple impingement syndrome, one of the most common causes of shoulder pain,” says Dr. Geier. This occurs when the shoulder blade puts pressure on the rotator-cuff muscles. Arthritis or bursitis may also be behind the pain. For simple strains, ice, avoiding overhead activities, anti-inflammatories and cortisone injections usually resolve the problem.
SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: If your shoulder feels as if it’s coming out of the socket or you experience severe pain and swelling, you may have a tear or other serious injury and should be evaluated by a doctor. Some cases may require surgery.
4. Foot Pain If you feel pain in the middle of your heel or along the arch while running and it’s particularly painful when you first step out of bed in the morning, you may have plantar fasciitis. This inflammation of the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot occurs on the underside of the heel and increases the risk of knee pain over time. “It can take a long time to get rid of,” says Elizabeth Matzkin, M.D., assistant professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
If you suspect plantar fasciitis, avoid speed work and hill training. Massage, anti-inflammatories, supportive footwear, and ice can also help. “Flip-flops offer zero support and can contribute to plantar fasciitis symptoms,” says Matzkin. Take preventive measures by gradually increasing training mileage, replacing worn running shoes and running on soft surfaces instead of asphalt or concrete.
SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: If the pain lasts for more than a few weeks, see a sport podiatrist. Treatments include orthotics, cortisone injections, splints and anti-inflammatories.
5. Shin Pain If you run the same route every day or recently took your run from the treadmill to the asphalt, your shins may become painful. Pain may start in the front of your ankle and continue up to your kneecap in some cases. Shin splints can cause pain during your run as well as afterward. Shin splints refer to an inflammation of the bone usually caused by overuse. Decrease your mileage at the first sign of shin splints – they could lead to a stress fracture if left untreated. Ice, rest and anti-inflammatories help.
SIGNS OF A BAD PAIN: If, after modifying your mileage, icing and resting, the pain does not decrease or subside, seek medical attention. In some extreme cases, shin splints manifesting as severe stress fractures may require surgery.
1. Sleeping too late and waking up too late are the main cause..
2. Not urinating in the morning.
3. Too much eating.
4. Skipping breakfast.
5. Consuming too much medication.
6. Consuming too much preservatives, additives, food coloring, and artificial sweetener.
7. Consuming unhealthy cooking oil. As much as possible reduce cooking oil use when frying, which includes even the best
Cooking oils like olive oil. Do not consume fried foods when you are tired, except if the body is very fit.
8.Consumption of alcohol
9. Alcohol Consumption
10. Consuming overly done foods also add to the burden of liver. Veggies should be eaten raw or cooked 3-5 parts. Fried
Veggies should be finished in one sitting, do not store.
We have to adopt a good daily lifestyle and eating habits. Maintaining good eating habits is very important for our body to absorb and get rid of unnecessary chemicals.
Evening 9 – 11pm: is the time for eliminating unnecessary/ toxic chemicals (detoxification) from the antibody system (lymph nodes). This time duration should be spent by relaxing or listening to music. If during this time a housewife is still in a un relaxed state such as washing the dishes or monitoring children doing their homework, this will have a negative impact on her health.
Night at 11pm – 1am: The de-detoxification process in the liver, and ideally should be done in a deep sleep state.
Early morning 1 – 3am: detoxification process in the gall, also ideally done in a deep sleep state.
Early morning 3 – 5am: detoxification in the lungs. Therefore there will sometimes be a severe cough for cough sufferers during this time. Since the detoxification process had reached the respiratory tract, there is no need to take cough medicine so as not to interfere with toxin removal process.
Morning 5 – 7am: de-detoxification in the colon, you should empty your bowel.
Morning 7 – 9am: Absorption of nutrients in the small intestine, you should be having breakfast at this time. Breakfast should be earlier, before 6:30am, for those who are sick. Breakfast before 7:30am is very beneficial to those wanting to stay fit. Those who always skip breakfast, they should change their habits, and it is still better to eat breakfast late until 9 -10am rather than no meal at all. Sleeping so late and waking up too late will disrupt the process of removing unnecessary chemicals.