Jennifer's fight against ovarian cancer
It's a form of cancer many women don't know they have until it's too late.
During the month of September, Ovarian cancer survivors are sharing their battles in hopes it will make a difference to others.
As a senior at Western Illinois University, you might think Jennifer Mason's worries are on her studies. But the teal streaks in her hair reveal a different story.
"Ovarian cancer is a very deadly cancer. It's the fifth leading cancer death among women. One in 71 will be diagnosed with it. And this year, they're guessing 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer," Mason said.
Just last year, doctors diagnosed Mason with stage 3C ovarian cancer.
"I had started having pain in my abdomen and it took about five months before I had surgery to learn I had cancer," Mason said.
Mason awoke from surgery without her ovaries and fallopian tubes and a list of treatment dates.
The first set of chemo seemed to work. Around Christmas of last year, Mason received the only gift she'd hoped for, a clean CAT scan.
But just this month, doctors discovered a regrowth.
"It's a really tough battle for every woman. There's no test for ovarian cancer. Most women think, oh, you can go and get a Pap smear, right? But that's not the case. Pap smears are for cervical cancer and mammograms are for breast cancer, but unfortunately, with ovarian cancer, there's not a test," Mason said.
And the symptoms are quite vague...including constant indigestion, back and pelvic pain, bloating and frequent urination.
"Truthfully, what woman hasn't gone through some of those symptoms at one point," Mason said.
Mason encourages women to get checked out if any of those symptoms last every day for two weeks. Getting the check-up early could mean all the difference.
"I'm going to fight to the death and I'm going to kick it in it's butt and things like that and try to help others while doing that," Mason said.
Learn the symptoms of ovarian cancer here.