I had the privilege this morning of listening to a presentation by the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance (http://www.mioca.org/) at Oakland University to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Students. This incredible group of Ovarian Cancer Survivors take their stories and the facts about Ovarian Cancer to students in all medical programs throughout Michigan. They share their heart wrenching discovery of their cancer and their challenging journeys through diagnosis and treatment. It is a powerful presentation. The personal stories are also intertwined with facts about ovarian cancer. This remains a silent disease as so many of the symptoms mimic other much less serious illnesses, like bloating, loss of appetite, and urinary problems as well as many more.
I want to thank and honor those courageous women! As a physical therapist I am also disheartened by the few referrals to physical therapy for these survivors. Surgery for ovarian cancer can result in severe myofascial restrictions in the pelvis, and lymphedema; chemotherapy can result in fatigue, cardiotoxicity, cognitive impairments, and radiation can result in tissue fibrosis and problems with the colon, bladder and sexuality challenges,
I hope and pray that as survivors or families and caregivers of survivors, we can all advocate for ovarian cancer survivors to be evaluated and treated by a physical therapist to prevent many of the side effects from cancer treatment. Ovarian Cancer Survivors deserve a good quality of life.