By Tina Comeau
At 29 years of age, and after four years of trying to get pregnant, Wedgeport resident Lynette Foster was trying to find out why she and her husband Jason were experiencing trouble in having a baby.
What she wasn’t expecting to find out at the time was that she had stage 2 ovarian cancer.
She had surgery to remove the cancer. Eight months later she became pregnant.
But then eight months after the couple’s daughter was born, Foster’s cancer was back.
“It was a few months after that that I ended up with a full hysterectomy to make sure nothing came back,” she says.
Before being diagnosed, Foster didn’t know a lot about ovarian cancer. And she worries that other women don’t either. This is why she is organizing an Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope in Yarmouth on Saturday, Sept. 8. The event will begin and end at Coronation Park (the Milton ball field). Registration is at 1 p.m. and the walk is at 2 p.m.
Pledge forms for the upcoming Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope can be found online on the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope website page. Foster has also started up a Facebook page about the event that can be found by searching Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope Yarmouth. People can also contact Foster or her husband at 663-2969 or send an email to email@example.com.
Walkers have a choice of doing a 2.5-kilometre walk or a five-kilometre walk. The money raised from the event will go towards research and trying to find more accurate tests to diagnosis ovarian cancer, says Foster. According to Ovarian Cancer Canada, failure to find the disease in its early stages is often partly due to the lack of sensitive detection tests and women being unaware of, or ignoring, the warning symptoms.
Although on the contrary, just because you have the symptoms it does not mean you have ovarian cancer.
On its website Ovarian Cancer Canada says that ovarian cancer is the most serious of all gynecological cancers. Over 2,600 Canadian women are diagnosed every year; and every year 1,750 women succumb to this disease. Symptoms are varied, vague and easily missed. There is no screening test to detect it, but when found early – and treated – the ovarian cancer survival rate is 90 per cent.
Ovarian Cancer Canada says common warning symptoms include:
• Swelling or bloating of the abdomen
• Pelvic discomfort or heaviness
• Back or abdominal pain
• Gas, nausea, indigestion
• Change in bowel habits
• Emptying your bladder frequently
• Menstrual irregularities
• Weight loss or weight gain
Other symptoms can include a mass or "lump" in your pelvis that you can feel, the inability to eat normally, pain with intercourse and vaginal bleeding
If you have one or more of these symptoms and these symptoms persist for three weeks or longer, you are advised to see your health practitioner.
For the past three years Foster has been talking part of the Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope that is held annually in Halifax.
“I just want to bring knowledge and awareness to Yarmouth,” she says.
Foster says she is fortunate that her cancer was detected early on. She hopes other woman are as fortunate as she was.
“The symptoms are so uncommon amongst women because people go through these symptoms on a daily basis. For some women it’s their normal symptoms,” she says. “But if they persist for two to three weeks at a time there is a chance something could be wrong and they should get it checked out.”